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Standing Martingales

Standing Martingale
Standing Martingale
Standing martingales are a useful piece of tack that helps reduce how high a horse can lift their head for a better head carriage and to prevent them from throwing or tossing their head. Standing martingales are used by English riders and made to match your saddle and bridle. They come in flat or raised leather designs, usually with fancy stitching to match popular hunter-style bridles.
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Schneiders® Raised Standing Martingale with Fancy Stitching
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Schneiders® Raised Standing Martingale with Fancy Stitching
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The Benefits of Using a Standing Martingale

The standing martingale prevents a horse from lifting its head too high in the air, tossing its head, or having a high head carriage which is penalized in the hunters and hunt seat competitions. Standing martingales are different from other martingale styles such as Running martingales or German martingales, as the standing martingale is mostly used by English riders in the Hunters, Hunt Seat, and Fox Hunting. The other styles of martingales are used in a wider variety of disciplines such as stadium jumping, cross-country, and barrel racing.

Standing martingales have a neck strap with a martingale strap that runs through the lower loop, connecting one end to the horse’s girth with the other end to the noseband. Depending on how tight you have the standing martingale set, you can limit how high your horse can lift their head as they will feel pressure on their noseband that encourages them to lower their head while also stopping them from physically lifting it any higher. The strap that attaches to the noseband should fit so that when the horse is standing in a relaxed position if you lift the strap it should reach just below their throat latch or just into the throat latch.

Standing martingales are traditionally styled from bridle leather and often have fancy stitching to match English hunter-style bridles and can be used even if your horse does not have a problem with raising their head, if you are looking for the traditional look appreciated in the hunter ring.

Frequently Asked Questions About Standing Martingales

What is a standing martingale?

A standing martingale is a piece of tack that helps restrict how high a horse can raise or toss its head, keeping better control over its head. Standing martingales are made from leather with a neck strap that has one piece connecting to the girth with the other connecting to the noseband. You can adjust the standing martingale to fit in a position that is ideal for your horse.

Why would you use a standing martingale?

You would use a standing martingale if you are an English rider with a horse that tosses or tends to carry its head too high. This is especially important in the Hunter ring as horses need to keep their head level and can be penalized if their head carriage is too high. Standing martingales are also used in the Hunter show ring as a piece of tack that gives an overall traditional look hunter and fox hunting riders prefer, even if your horse does not truly need a martingale to keep their head low.

Running vs standing martingale?

The difference between a Running martingales and a standing martingale are that a standing martingale has one piece of leather that connects to the noseband down to the girth, restricting how high a horse can lift their head if they hit the martingale strap. These are used primarily for English Hunter, Hunt Seat Undersaddle, and Fox Hunting. The standing martingale is not permitted in show jumping or cross-country. A running martingale has two pieces of leather with rings that slide along the reins, pulling down on the bit if a horse lifts their head and the rider pulls. The running martingale is often used in show jumping and cross-country, whereas it is not permitted in the hunter show ring.

How tight should a standing martingale be? How to fit a standing martingale?

A standing martingale should fit with the next strap sitting neatly across the angle of their shoulder, fitting a few fingers between the strap and their skin, while the martingale strap that connects to their noseband should touch the middle of the horse’s neck when lifted up at the center. If you prefer a slightly looser standing martingale, such as for a horse that does not require one but you use for the traditional appearance in the show ring, you want the martingale to come just below their throat latch when lifted at the center. You do not want it so loose that it is dangerous while jumping where they could get a leg caught.

Does a standing martingale stop rearing?

A standing martingale can be used to help stop a horse from rearing too high as it helps prevent them from being able to get their head up to the height needed to balance themselves in a true rear. However, if a horse tries hard enough a martingale can break or it could panic a horse with a rearing issue by hitting the martingale tension.

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