All Dennis Moreland Tack martingales are made with a neck strap and a safety hobble strap to keep the neck strap in proper position on the neck. The safety hobble strap runs through the gullet of the saddle and over the horn to prevent the neck strap from sliding forward on the neck, potentially to the ears.
When a martingale without a safety hobble strap is used the neck strap can slide up the neck if a horse puts his head down to grab a bite of grass, for instance. When the neck strap slides up it holds the horses head and neck down and he feels bound in that position. Generally, this causes a moment of reactive behavior in the horse and he responds by attempting to lift his head back up by any means possible, including rearing. The harder he tries to lift his neck and head, the harder the force on the displaced neck strap becomes.
Often a person’s reaction is to attempt to pull the neck strap back into position by leaning forward to grab it which can result in head injury if the horse throws his head up or rears up and hits the rider. There is also a chance the horse could flip completely over and injure the rider and himself. A safety hobble strap on a neck strap is a very sensible and easy to use piece of equipment which can ultimately prevent serious injury to both horse and rider.
The martingale is a very useful tool to aid a horse in learning proper head position as he learns collection. If adjusted correctly a martingale does not force the head to stay in any given position but allows the horse a guide for head placement through automatic release of pressure on the reins when correct head placement is achieved. This can make it easier for a horse to reach a more collected frame over time by allowing assistance with head position as the rider teaches the horse to drive from behind. A good rule of thumb for adjustment is to allow horse to stand comfortably, attach snap to cinch D ring and extend ring straps until they reach the throatlatch.
Dennis Moreland Tack carries a full line of handmade martingales. Please visit http://www.dmtack.com/pcategory/training/martingales/ or call 817-312-5305 to learn more.
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