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Standing martingale

23 replies

seeker · 12/03/2011 16:34

My dd's pony is at working livery. She is lovely but can be a bit of a handful. With inexperienced riders who are at all heavy handed she is inclined to head toss. If she has a light handed rider she's fine, and if they aren't, a running martingale sorts it out.

When we went up today, she was wearing a standing martingale, and the teacher said she had been tossing her head a lot, sot they were trying it out. I hate standing martingales - I think they are too restrictive, and could be dangerous, but I'm not sure enough of my ground to ask them not to use it without some research. So waht do you knowledgable people think? Am I being PFH about this?

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LowRegNumber · 12/03/2011 19:23

I don't think so, IMO the only reason for a standing is if a horse has been going up and over or if the head shaking is leading to nose bleeds!

We have a terrible head shaker but the rule is that anyone who wants to ride her has to learn to ride her properly! (ie light hands, not grabbing the reins, ignoring the antics etc). You really can tell when she has had a good rider for a few days!

TBH I don't really see how it will help as head shaking is about fear of the head/mouth, wouldn't it just make her feel more fearful? To be honest I would be wanting them to take the extra tack off and put better riders on rather than trying to make her suitable for riders who are not up to her IYSWIM.

seeker · 13/03/2011 07:26

Thank you. That's what I thought. I'll have a word today.

Would you, as an owner, expect to be asked/told before a big change to har tack like that?

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ManateeEquineOhara · 13/03/2011 08:32

I agree with you. I have been sort of considering working livery (although I don't really think it would work for us), I would be absolutely appalled if DHorse had any change of tack without my knowledge.
It is your horse and IMO it does not matter what kind of beliefs the yard have, along with qualifications, it should be up to you.
Good luck today, I hope it is all reasonable and non-confrontational, and they listen to what you say rather than just try and convince you that they know what they are doing and it was the right thing to do.

Callisto · 13/03/2011 09:52

I would be furious if my pony was put in different tack without my express permission. Standing martingales are a lazy shortcut. If your pony is a head tosser I would be getting right back to basics with the tack. We have a head tosser at the yard I ride at and she only goes well if you ride her with light hands. As soon as you put pressure on she tenses up and hollows her back.

I do think, though, that you are in a tricky situation with the working livery. Your pony is likely to get a majority of heavy-handed riders - a reason that I would never buy an ex-riding school horse or pony as most of them are dead to hand and leg. Sad

seeker · 13/03/2011 11:29

I know. We are lucky in that she is not at all an easy pony - she's like marmite!

Practically everyone who rides her rides well - it's very unusual for her to be used for novices. Which makes me even more surprised to see this.

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seeker · 13/03/2011 11:58

I've just talked to the yard owner, who says she thinks there isn't an issue with a properly fitted not too tight standing martingale. I said I didn't want her to wear one, and we would provide a running martingale for them to use with her when necessary, and please could they consult us before doing something like that again.

She agreed - so with a bit of luck it's sorted. Thanks all.

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MitchiestInge · 13/03/2011 15:25

glad it is sorted, I agree they shouldn't make changes without prior discussion

get feeling you are becoming a bit disenchanted with working livery lately? what are the obstacles to full, diy or part? am only asking because it seemed unthinkable for us to do it any other way and now I know I'll never go back. quite hard work and time consuming though

seeker · 13/03/2011 15:36

Not really disenchanted - but I realize that I should assert myself a bit more and stand up for the pony.

I like the yard and the people who run it (with one exception) and in the main they are cool with the pony's quirks. There have been a couple of incidents, though, so I do need to keep a closer eye.

Dd is 15 and working hard at school so she couldn't look after her herself, and also she's a very sociable horse who needs the company of other horses and regular work. Which she gets where she is. She is ridden every day (90% of the time by good riders) and kept interested and engaged. Which she needs - she is easily bored and when she's bored she frets (I think she must be gifted and talented!). So I don't think DIY would suit her - particularly as I'm too heavy to ride her.

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tinyk · 13/03/2011 15:51

A quick comment on martingales - a well-fitted standing martingale will interfere with a horse less frequently than a well-fitted running martingale. A standing martingale has no effect on a horse unless the horse's nose comes above it's withers. It should be fitted such that when the martingale is attached it can be pulled up to nearly touch the horse's gullet. If the horse tosses it's head it will recieve pressure on it's nose, as opposed to it's mouth. Even a well-fitted running martingale can pull and apply pressure to a horse's mouth if the rider's hands are in the incorrect position. For everyday work in a school, expecially with riders who may or may not know how to use their hands properly, a standing martingale is less likely to do damage to a horse.

tinyk · 13/03/2011 15:52

PS - of course, though, your horses' tack should never be changed without discussing with you and getting your permission!

LowRegNumber · 13/03/2011 18:34

The only problem with that tinyk is if the school are jumping her in lessons. I agree that they can be fitted well etc etc however it is not a solution to a head shaker in any case.

However if they jump the pony then, no matter how well fitted or what your opinion of SM in general, they would have to stop and remove the martingale fully (bridle undone, saddle off) before moving over jumps - somehow I doubt very much that any school is going to go to that length!

I agree with everyone else, you need a relationship whereby these things are discussed beforehand. Well done for having a chat and getting that set up. It is a difficult relationship to manage, for both sides in some ways!

AlpinePony · 14/03/2011 07:21

Have you had her teeth checked by an equine dentist and/or vet who specialises in teeth?

The reason I ask is that there's this head tossing and you've written before about this pony not lowering her head when being worked and I seem to recall you've fiddled with tack before.

A standing martingale is IMO a horrible contraption. :(

seeker · 14/03/2011 10:39

Yes - her teeth are fine. She's not a bad head shaker, but it just freaks out inexperienced riders a bit. I've just bought a running martingale and fitted it, so that's sorted.

She just needs very light hands and quiet riders - which, to be fair, she almost always gets.

It is difficult to get her rounded, and her head goes up when she gets excited. Someone told me that this is quite common with Arabs, but I don't know if that's trye. She needs lots of lungeing really, but we haven't had the time or the weather over the winter. Roll on Spring!

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seeker · 14/03/2011 10:41

We haven't fiddled with tack, though - apart from swapping the Dutch gag Sad she came with for a snaffle, and riding her bitless sometimes.

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Saggyoldclothcatpuss · 14/03/2011 13:21

Have you thought about allergies! This is the start of the pollen season, and pollen can be a contributing factor in head shaking. You could maybe try a nose net?

seeker · 14/03/2011 13:26

I thought about a nose net last year but didn;t get round to it. But she shakes the same anout all year round - and only significantly if the rider is heavy handed. That means it can't be allergy, doesn't it?

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Saggyoldclothcatpuss · 14/03/2011 13:31

IME anything is worth a try! I know a few head shakers who wear a net all year round.

seeker · 14/03/2011 16:18

OK - I'll dig it out of the cupboard - I'm sure it's in there somewhere!

I'll let you know how we get on.

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LowRegNumber · 14/03/2011 19:01

Our head shaker is always better with a full face net on, nose net doesn't work. OUr elderly head shaker was happy with a nose net. Neither stopped the problem but helped a bit - every little and all that!

(Don't know why I didn't think of that until Saggy mentioned it, sorry!)

Saggyoldclothcatpuss · 14/03/2011 20:12
tinyk · 14/03/2011 20:17

Hi guys, sorry to wade in again but just to bust some myths, a properly fitted standing martingale is absolutely fine to jump with. In the UK they are not commonly seen, but in other parts of the world they are more common than running martingales as their action is simpler and more direct. I'm wondering if people are picturing something other than a standing martingale (e.g. reference to it as a contraption)? It shouldn't have any influence on the horse's head unless the horse's head is well above vertical and is about to hit the rider - ditto a running martingale by the way! Here's what they should look like:

Head shaking isn't going to be solved by any martingale though, and other posters have suggested good solutions to head shaking.

It doesn't sound like this horse is a habitual head shaker though, and it also doesn't sound like a martingale issue (IMHO) but to do with it needing to be ridden from it's hindquarters rather than it's front end. Arabs have higher-set necks and so will find it easier to evade the bit by putting their heads up. Riding forward will do more to fix this than any tack/bit (good call on the snaffle tho) and sounds like you're fully aware of that and are managing her riders as much as possible.

LowRegNumber · 14/03/2011 20:37

Perhaps Tinyk, I would never jump in one simply because they are fixed, once the full extent is reached there is no give at all unlike a running.

Thinking about it I have not seen one in use since I was a child (that was on a hunter who came down badly - maybe that is part of my issue??).

Anyway, to me they are on a par with draw reins and I am happy that they are not seen anymore. Draw reins, fitted properly, should not be cruel - just like a standing but that does not mean they are good IYSWIM.

seeker · 14/03/2011 20:52

Thank yo all. I do think her head shaking is a bit of a habit - but also her way of making her feelings known. She hardly every does it in a running martingale. It's as if she says "Oh, OK then, you win!" She's a canny creature!

She also never does it when dd rides her. Dd is a very quiet rider, and she and the pony adore each other so pony is very keen to please dd. Very sweet it is - they do join-up and it makes me cry!

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