What’s that? Explaining the running martingale

If you’ve watched the Rolex CCI**** on television or YouTubed some grand prix jumping, it’s possible you’ve noticed a set of straps hanging down from some of the horses’ reins. You might have wondered–what are those things?

What you’re looking at might be a running martingale. The running martingale attaches to the girth and travels through the horse’s front legs, where it forks and loops onto each rein. Its purpose is to discourage horses from throwing their heads up in order to resist the bit.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 11.03.26 PMLike any other piece of equipment, it’s critical the running martingale be adjusted properly for it to be utilized safely and ethically. If the running martingale is correctly fitted, it has some slack while the horse has his head in a normal position, preventing any pressure on the reins. If the horse throws his head, he will reach the end of the slack in the martingale and the rings will place downward pressure on the reins.

The advantage of the running martingale over the standard, standing martingale is that the rider can loosen the reins to release the martingale’s tension if the horse trips after a fence. One additional safety consideration is adding rein stops to prevent the martingale rings from sliding forward and getting caught near the bit or on the rein buckles.

We appreciate running martingales for their ability to help keep feisty horses attentive to the bit. There are lots of options to address this issue, both with equipment and with training. Always work with your trainer to decide what’s best for your horse.

If you would like to try a running martingale, Two Horse Tack sells running attachments that clip on to our beta biothane breastcollars. You have your choice of single color, two-color, or bling running attachments, or you can add them on to your order of a custom breastcollar.


Posted on February 13, 2016, in Helpful articles and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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