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AliHamann

Hunters - Not Properly Dressed Without A Standing Martingale?

  

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  1. 1. Agree or disagree?



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So my business partner, who has been training over 20 years, and learned the ways from old time horsemen, asked me a question yesterday that got me thinking. She said "You're from the East Coast, maybe you can enlighten me, someone told me that hunter horses are not considered properly dressed for their classes unless they are in a standing martingale." I looked at her like she was crazy, and she said "yea that's what I thought".

What?! I cant tell you the last time I put a martingale on a horse, period. A horse that moves properly and carries themselves correctly shouldnt need a standing martingale (with the exception of big jumpers). I know you arent allowed to wear them in the flat classes, so what would make someone say this, other then pure ignorance?

Thoughts?

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The trainer who found my mare for me was very much of the belief that all hunters should have a standing on, he also was of the belief that for a rider to be properly attired they need spurs and a stick.

Myself I do not agree with either of those so called "rules" for turn-out. Not every horse needs a martingale and not every rider needs spurs and a stick, so why should everyone have both? It makes no sense to have equipment you don't "need".

My trainer and her daughter show a good bit on the big circuits around my area and I know for a fact both of them hardly ever carry a stick or ride with spurs and not all the horses they show wear martingales.

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Here is what the USEF rule book states:

Hunter Section, Subchapter 4 - Attire, Tack and Equipment.

HU125 Tack.

1. Regulation snaffles, pelhams and full bridles, all with cavesson nose bands, are recommended.

A judge may penalize for non-conventional types of bits or nosebands.

2. Competitors may be refused an award unless they return to the ring for conformation or

soundness with the same complete bridle in which they have performed.

3. 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.

Nowhere does it state that a martingale is required.

This is not to say that some judges may have an unspoken bias and expect to see every hunter in an over fences class wearing a martingale, needed or not.

Edited by pdavissmith

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I think that actually may have come from The Man himself.

I remember reading some comments in the jumping clinic from GM about hunters looking more "dressed" with martingales on. So it may be something that started as side commentary on turnout that has run a little rampant. I do know a lot of folks who used martingales in their fences classes for no particular reason (except that they always had, or something vague like that). Personally I think it's silly. If the horse doesn't need one, why bother? Besides which, martingales were originally intended as a corrective piece of equipment - I would think using one would say to the judge there's a problem to correct. (but then again, I'm not in charge, and a lot of stuff out there confuses me. This is why I don't show. hahahahaaa)

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I rode with very traditional trainers when I was young, and, while I was never told that you HAD to have a martingale for the o/f, I was brought up to believe that a martingale "completed the look". When I was a junior, we often put martingales on at shows just for aesthetic reasons. However, since I'm older and can think for myself, I only put one on if a horse actually needs it (also, it's a pain to pull it off for the hack if I'm at a show/in a division where jogging isn't required). Still know plenty of people that use one just for the look, and I don't think it's a big deal as long as it's adjusted properly.

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So my business partner, who has been training over 20 years, and learned the ways from old time horsemen, asked me a question yesterday that got me thinking. She said "You're from the East Coast, maybe you can enlighten me, someone told me that hunter horses are not considered properly dressed for their classes unless they are in a standing martingale." I looked at her like she was crazy, and she said "yea that's what I thought".

What?! I cant tell you the last time I put a martingale on a horse, period. A horse that moves properly and carries themselves correctly shouldnt need a standing martingale (with the exception of big jumpers). I know you arent allowed to wear them in the flat classes, so what would make someone say this, other then pure ignorance?

Thoughts?

Your second paragraph shows ignorance on your part. Big jumpers NEVER wear standing martingales. In fact, they are prohibited at a certain point (can't remember if that's based on prize money or height or can be either.... over 1.15M standings are never seen, and I believe over $2500 they are grounds for elimination). Big jumpers tend to wear running martingales as they are far less restrictive of the horse's head and neck over the jump.

A standing martingale (adjusted loosely, often too loosely to do much) is used in some cases to break up a horse's neck/shoulder for aesthetic reasons, while they're not required, many horses look better in them as it creates a different proportion visual. Many higher level horses have something in common in their build, and thus wear them for this reason. This has created a sort of fashion, and fashion has a trickle-down effect, so we see everything from short stirrup to ponies to derby and high performance horses dressed similarly.

In some cases a standing martingale will be used in combination with a strong piece of tack like a tack or chain noseband on a hunter. In these cases the standing martingale might be used to add a bit of tension on that type of noseband to adjust the horse's way of going. This is a more extreme use, but can sometimes have the desired effect even when the martingale is adjusted loosely, creating the image that the martingale is only aesthetic, while it is coming into play just hanging there.

It's no different than attire and helmet trends. Bits go in and out of phases. 20+/- years ago kimberwickes and slotted uxeters were all the rage for a while (mostly in the jumpers), now they are rarely seen in rated rings (almost never) and only remain on the breed circuits. Big D rings are in and eggbuts are out. The latest jumper bit trend appears to be a snaffle and a mechanical hackmore attached with a converter and ridden with a single rein. This setup is seen on several well known, top-level horses and has started to be trendy.

The standing martingale in the hunters is a much slower trend than horse boots, helmets or breeches go through. Because it is stated in the rule book that all but standing martingales may be considered unconventional they are the fixture, and used for more than just holding the head down.

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I might not need a martingale/whip/spurs, but if my horse decides to act up, I'll be glad I have all the above.

I personally think a lot of horses look better w/ a martingale on. That's my preference.

I also like to have the neck strap to hold on to- so its both for me and the horse

Edited by dapplefred5

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I accidentally left the martingale on for a flat class (that was after a series of jumping classes)... and boy did I get chewed apart by the judge for that. hahaha. good thing it was a schooling show!

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Just want to add that I was taught to ride with spurs and crop every ride every horse(even on trail rides) and still usually do. Don't always need or use them but if I do need them I have them.

Edited by psmitty

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I was kinda called out by my ex-trainer for not having a standing on my mare at a schooling show. I get on fine with ex coach, so we were chatting at the show and she commented on how she really liked the way my saddle fit and how nice it looks (and then she felt a little silly when I lifted my leg to show her the Wintec logo!! LOL) but that I should really have a standing martingale to really finish off the look. I never did heed her advice...

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It doesn't bother me at all.. My black horse, before I owned him didn't go in a martingale. When I start him back up he won't go in one with me either. He doesn't need it and he does just fine without it at shows.. used to win a lot.

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In the h/j world I grew up in.. I saw mostly horses with martys on. Even if they were set too loose to be effective, they were on. I don't personally find the need.. if a horse goes well you don't need one anyway in hunter land. Most of the nice hunters I rode were very good eggs.

All that said, I think on a horse that is a bit long necked.. it can help break up the longness if that makes sense. It's not necessary.. but I do think it helps.

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I usually always have one on but there are times when I go without. Calvin doesn't need one but I still just use it. If anything, it provides an excellent "oh shyt!" handle when I get a crappy spot and don't wanna pull his face off and punish him for being a good boy ;)

So I disagree with the statement that they're not properly dressed without a standing. I could care less if they have one on or don't :) whatever horse and/or rider needs/likes

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Growing up with very old school trainers, I was taught that going in the ring without a standing martingale over fences was like going to the black tie affair without the tie. It just completes the look. That said, not all of my clients show or school in them. Some horses don't need them and I don't want to interfere with their usual equipment just for a show. Haven't noticed a difference with the judges.

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I had a Hunter that looked better with a martingale on so we used one in the over fences all the time. He never actually needed it from a functional standpoint. He only wore it at shows, never at home.

I always get on with a stick and some sort of spur, even a small one. I'd rather be with it and never use it, than be without when I needed it.

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When I was a junior my trainer came from the Old School I think he actually trained with GM for a long while and you absolutely always showed o/f in a standing. When he passed I sort of moved on to eventing and foxhunting where I didn't use one unless I needed one. Last spring when I started showing my guy in the hunters. I went right out and bought a standing that fit him even though I had never used one on him ever & he doesn't really need it. I guess old habits die hard.

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It seems to definitely be the train of thought. I worked at an A hunter barn as a rider and groom for a while and these people were SUPER old school. They wanted their horses worked in standing martingales all the time, flat or jumping. I always loosened them up to basically make them ineffective, especially for flatwork, but they had to be on or I got chewed out big time.

I don't own a martingale for my horses but I too almost always ride with a whip and/or spurs cause it's always better to have them and not need them then not have them and need them, especially at a show.

Then again, using one as a neck strap this year while I teach my baby how to jump isn't a bad idea...lol.

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I'm shocked at how many people are saying that hunters should wear them, and even more so that it came from George! I grew up riding with "the man who made [George] famous", and that is a quote by GM himself, and we almost never used martingales. A martingale is ultimately a training device, so it makes no sense to me that it's the preferred look in the hunter arena.

Has anyone noticed if judges seem partial horse who wear them vs horses who don't?

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I'm shocked at how many people are saying that hunters should wear them, and even more so that it came from George! I grew up riding with "the man who made [George] famous", and that is a quote by GM himself, and we almost never used martingales. A martingale is ultimately a training device, so it makes no sense to me that it's the preferred look in the hunter arena.

Has anyone noticed if judges seem partial horse who wear them vs horses who don't?

Let's be real though...GM is hardly the "end all be all" when it comes to the modern day show hunter. There are others who are held in high regard that one day will replace him. He is more suited to the equitation world and that trends, fads and other associations with that.

And ummm...no. No good judge in my mind will ever discriminate between a horse who wears a standing and a horse that doesn't.

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Let's be real though...GM is hardly the "end all be all" when it comes to the modern day show hunter. There are others who are held in high regard that one day will replace him. He is more suited to the equitation world and that trends, fads and other associations with that.

And ummm...no. No good judge in my mind will ever discriminate between a horse who wears a standing and a horse that doesn't.

Key word, GOOD judge. This is hunters were talking about, the same judges that won't pin paints and arabs because of their breeds alone. Good judge vs bad judge is a whole nother topic though.

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