Martingale or not?

I have a gelding who is a little tricky at a canter. He throws his head high enough that I am concerned about getting smacked in the face. This is not an aggressive behavior. I was thinking a martingale might keep him from throwing his head. I wanted to hear martingale opinions or any ideas anyone else may have. Thanks.

years ago I rode a horse for a friend that did the same thing. We put a standing martingale on him for a while and it helped and also kept me from getting my nose broken! We just made sure to adjust it so he didn’t hit it unless he was being naughty and throwing his head. That is, not so tight as to keep his head down and also not so tight that a normal little raise of his head would make him hit it.

Not sure why so many people get their knickers in a knot over a martingale nowadays! Properly adjusted, it will only come into play for the exact reasons that you are stating in your original question. And, most definitely I would use a martingale on a head tosser…it’s just not worth the head in the face, possible broken nose otherwise!!

Sounds like a martingale is in order. But as an aside, when I first got my horse, he’d flip his head up when I tried to take contact; we had his teeth done and put him in a gentler bit. He still does it some as an evasion, but much less.

Sounds as if this is the type of horse that a martingale is actually designed for!

Hunter or jumper? I’m not a fan of the standing except fairly loose to provide some limits to a big strided horse. I do like a running martingale on a jumper with a bit of a head flipping issue.

i vote a running martingale.

I use a standing on my occasionally naughty baby. Keeps my face intact when he decides to start flinging his head in the air. Running martingale does not accomplish the same thing, the point is I want him to self correct, even on a loose rein.

Right now he’s just on the flat but I’m just working towards some fun open jumping shows so I haven’t decided

I hope you only ride in jumper classes, then. Standing martingales are allowed in hunter o/f classes, all others would be “unconventional.” I have, accordingly, never seen a running martingale in the hunter ring.

Back in the old days (sixties and earlier) in formal attire (appointments, Corinthian) classes only running martingales were permitted.

To eclipse: Some of us get our knickers in a knot because we see so many that are so perilously mis-adjusted. Just go to WEF or any other AA show and notice how many(most?) of the “top” trainers are using this useful tool.

So surreal that standings are the only “allowed” martingale in US hunter classes. Back in the day as Madeline says runnings were standard, and all you’d see out hunting too.

Standings? Only for remedial horses - you’d never show in one otherwise you’d be telling the judge “this horse has a serious problem!”

And out hunting? No standings - in a water crossing or a serious fall the horse would be in big trouble in a standing. Verboten!

Anyway OP I would choose a running for you - sounds like the perfect case for it.

Actually, A recent rule change specifically permits running martingales m hunker classes over fences. Finally.

When was the rule change? (I was quoting from the rule book I found on line.)

My own opinion on martingales is that standing martingales are most useful for horses who do tend to flip their heads up and back, endangering the rider’s face (I saw Margie Engle get her nose broken by one of those decades ago), while running martingales are most helpful for keeping horses straight, especially on tight turns, because they can simultaneously contain shoulder as well as head position. For younger or less experienced riders, I think standard martingales are preferable because they effectively protect the face regardless of what the rider does, while the running martingale does nothing without a rider handling the reins.

Having been away from showing hunters for several years, I find it interesting that standing martingales are apparently out of fashion now(???). When my children and I were showing, we were often asked why our mounts didn’t wear them-- they were that much a part of the standard hunter “uniform”-- so much so that put one on my daughter’s pony, whose head carriage was so steady and safe that I’m sure it never came into play.

I understand that Cunningham’s owner was also asked why he did not wear a standing martingale as recently as 7 years ago.

Anyone know the reason/s for the apparent change in fashion/rules?

HU125, 2015 edition, Standing or running martingales, properly adjusted, are permitted in Hunter over fences classes.

They were never “against the rule”, just fell out of fashion. IIRC they just added verbiage to clarify they were allowed, maybe a year ago. If it’s properly adjusted and the horse properly trained and prepared for a Hunter class, should not be needed as anything but an accessory anyway.

And many don’t add either one these days in lower height classes. When the fences get big and lines forward or unrelated, like a Derby, probably a good idea to add one case the horse gets a little full of themselves.

While nothing is against the rules, before the most recent rule change, running martingales could be considered “unconventional.”

The rule it replaced:

"Martingales of any type are prohibited in Under Saddle, hack and tie-breaking classes.

Standing martingales are allowed for all over fence classes. All other martingales may be considered unconventional. "

Isn’t this horse a prime example of why Martingales exist?

I agree. The OP’s horse is a prime candidate for a correctly adjusted standing martingale. That will deliver the correction exactly when needed, and release the correction immediately when the misbehavior stops. Only gunslingers and a very few brilliant horsemen have the reflexes to apply and release the correction as accurately using a running.

Well, I would go with a standing martingale with a head tosser. Correctly applied of course. The running martingale is also a good tool, but is more used for placing the action of the snaffle onto the bars ONLY, rather than occasionally onto the corners of the mouth, if the horse raises his head. Head tossers are different from head raisers.

But before applying any martingale, one always has to ask one’s self “why” is this horse doing this? What is his reason for head tossing? Because he has one. It may be a reason that a martingale will help, or it may not be. Once you have answered the question as to “why”, then try a martingale, after addressing the reason “why” if possible.

The reason why can be dentistry problems, or rider problems, or a number of other things that must be addressed before simply applying the martingale in an attempt to FIX.

Yes. It sounds like a prime candidate.

When my own steady-eddy snarfed up a bug while cantering and decided that he could no longer canter without flipping his head every stride, I stuck a standing on him for a few weeks. Worked like a charm. He doesn’t wear it any more…although it may come out again as we are having some difficulties that included a flipping head.