How to Put a Running Martingale on a Horse Safely


Running martingales help a horse learn to carry its head in the position that will allow it to use its body to drive from behind and with collection.  When adjusted and used correctly they are safe pieces of equipment for almost any age horse at almost any level of training.

Running martingales are helpful training tools for most disciplines. The Dennis Moreland running martingales have 4 parts: the neck strap, the cinch strap, the rein straps with rings and the safety hobble strap. Most martingales are not made with a safety hobble strap. All the martingales made by Dennis Moreland Tack have this important safety feature.

Start by placing the neck strap over the head. Slide it to the base of the neck. The safety hobble strap and cinch strap should be facing the back of your horse and the rein straps should be facing the front. Snap the cinch strap to the middle front D ring on your cinch. Check that your cinch is adjusted so the middle D rings are in the middle of the belly when the cinch is tight. Put your right rein through the ring on the right side and up over the neck. Thread the safety hobble strap through the gullet and up over the top of the horn. Push it to the base of the horn and pull the slack out of the strap. Put the left rein through the ring.

A running martingale should be adjusted correctly before you ever get on your horse. Adjust the cinch strap so it’s snug against the horse but not too tight. Adjust the neck strap so it’s just snug enough that you’re able to run your hand under it. Adjust the rein straps so they are approximately 1-2 inches from the horses jaw when they are held taut. The horse should be standing at ease when this measurement is made.

The safety hobble strap will prevent the neck strap from sliding down the neck. If a horse suddenly drops its head in a martingale without a safety hobble strap the neck strap will slide toward the poll. When the horse tries to raise its head the dislodged strap puts pressure on the neck preventing the horse from bringing its head up. This causes many horses to panic and rear in an attempt to get free from the pressure holding their heads down. This is a very dangerous situation.

Rein stops are round pieces of thick leather or other stiff material and are placed on each rein just below the rein end or water loop. Rein stops will help to keep you safe by preventing the rings on the martingale rein straps from getting lodged on the rein ends. If the rings become lodged the horses head will be trapped in an over-flexed position. It may panic and rear in an attempt to free itself from the pressure of the trapped rings holding its head.

Dennis Moreland Tack offers a nice variety of handmade running martingales designed to fit, function and last for years. Click here or call 817-312-5305 to find the running martingale that meets your needs.

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