In reply to: "I've actually seen people using martingales with the curb reins. In a couple of older pictures I saw martingales put on the snaffle reins, but now they put martingales on curb reins... Of course, maybe I am not getting something, but I do not see the point in putting the curb reins through a martingale..."
The so-called "Irish martingale", though we used to call it simply the "spectacles", an old fashion term for eye glasses. Only God knows who came up with that name. More likely some fool that witnessed horse racing in Ireland where he saw it for the first time.
The tie-down were commonly used in the east as in the west, even in the military, predominantly by the lesser riders or poorly/insufficiently trained horses. It was used mainly with regular snaffles or pelhams but almost never with curb bits, because no one was so stupid as to put a curb into the mouth of a poorly trained horse, or into the hands of nincompoop. Needless to say that the so-called "western riders" today do it fairly frequently, more likely because they do not know the difference between the curb bit (lever bit) and snaffle, as most of them call this below a snaffle bit.
And so it is no surprise they use it like this.
I do not have any pictures of the fools using the running martingale with
the curb bit, but I am sure there are plenty of those these days.
You must realize that the word martingale may not mean the same thing in your language as here in the states. They also call here in the states the tie-downs the "standing martingales". Just listen to the terminology and see just how stupid the term "standing martingale" is and then read the use for it, which states on Wiki: "intended primarily to prevent the horse from flipping its head up when asked to abruptly stop or turn in speed events." How does the word "standing" fits into the definition of a martingale, let alone to "speed events"? It is not a martingale; it is a tie-down, because one literally ties the horse's head to its body! It is plain and simple crude and nasty from the rider's perspective, and so you would never see a rider use one, as opposed to the "cowboys" that do, because they are cow-boys and not horse-men.
Do you now realize just how stupid people are around horses today? Most simply cannot be talked to at all, let alone dealt with. Read the Wiki's definitions, and if you know the real reasons for using these retrains you realize that the Wiki website is full of shit, literally. For example read about what the Irish martingale is, and then compare with what's it actually used for, which is:
The Irish martingale prevents the reins
from getting over the horse's head if and when the horse throws its head up,
specifically its nose higher than the top of its head. Often in racing the
horses fight the rider as they want to run faster (usually at the start
when some riders get left behind the motion and hang onto the horse's mouth), in which case many will
throw their head way up high and then they yank their heads to the side at
the same time. They simply react to the "entrapment" as fish does when
hooked, that is all there is to it. Often in such cases both reins could end
up on one side of the neck and the rest one could imagine.
Now read the Wiki's purpose, which is complete nonsense:
"The Irish martingale's purpose is not to control the head, but to prevent the reins from coming over the horse's head, risking entanglement, should a rider fall."
See how stupid this is, which exactly points out what I keep saying over and over, that people read, do not understand since they did not live what they read and make up their own shit. In short this fool read that this Irish martingale is supposed to prevent the reins from getting over the horse's head, but since this fool did not see it or lived it, she concluded that it has to do with falling off the horse and some entanglement of god knows what, which is pure bullshit. See how bullshit is created? Some truth with some lie that makes sense to the fool and here we go.
The entire horse world today is like that, full of shit, and most people simply cannot get themselves out of it.
The Wiki site of course presents a lot of bullshit in relevance to the other martingales as well, (or to anything equine for that matter), mainly in the purpose of them, but I will not get into it much. Of course since people's heads are full of shit they will end up doing all sorts of stupid and idiotic things like you are pointing out, using the "running martingale" with the curb bit. It just could not get anymore stupid than that. Again, people that do this more likely misunderstood the term martingale, because they call the tie-downs martingales here, and the western folks use those with the curb bits.
The tie downs are nothing new, and were often used in the militaries, the eastern and western alike, mostly by folks that were not such good riders or had poorly trained horses. The military has people that can't shoot (most of them can't, been there saw it), and in the old days the cavalries also had many people that could not ride a horse, but that is another story.
Read the Wiki page on martingales and see for yourself just how stupid it all is.
Just one more stupid shit from Wiki:
"A running martingale is adjusted so that each of the "forks" has about an inch of slack when the horse holds its head in the normal position".
What the hell is "normal position"? See just how stupid they are and how obvious all this greenhorn shit is, as it is all about the horse's head. In other words according to Wiki if and when the horse lowers/bows its head below the impulsion line (down) it is no longer a normal position of the head. And so why the hell one would use the martingale to get the horse's head into some "abnormal" position, since most greenhorns use them to keep the horse's head down?
The adjustment of the running martingale is fairly simple; the eyes should be at least, and I emphasize at least, as high as the withers, and not some concept of "normal position of the head". Needless to say that one has to see it how it is adjusted, lest he misunderstands what I have written.
The running martingale has only
one purpose, which is to prevent the horse from throwing its head too high
when taken by the bit, especially when taken back. This is why it was
primarily used on green horses that did not know how to respond to the bit.
If a horse throws its head too high in response to the bit it will often
result in the hind legs catching the front leg, usually at the coronary
Of course you cannot write this down on Wiki, obviously, since often the "masters of the riding art" use it themselves.
In conclusion the tie downs, as well as martingales (not the Irish martingale), are restrains and have a simple purpose, which is to restrain the animal's free movement of its head into the extremes, which could often result in the injury of such horse and out of control movement. It is never about controlling the horse's head; it is about limiting the movement of the head during the "inappropriate"/defensive response of the horse to the bit, that is all. But idiots today use it to control the head of the horse, because that is how they ride horses, via the animals' heads. One does the same when driving in a cart. That is not riding, but it is riding on a horse, but most people today have no clue what I am saying, though most THINK otherwise, hence there is no talking to them.
The practical purpose of the running martingale is primarily in young horses that did not fully accept the bit, or when incompetent riders are riding on horses. And so, if you see a person riding a horse with a martingale it simply shows that the horse did not accept the bit well, or is poorly trained/ridden and if on older horse it simply testifies to the incompetence of the rider that simply has lousy hands on the horse. The latter goes for all martingales, because a decent rider is aware exactly how much he can take on the reins before the horse throws its head up, hence he has no need for martingales. Furthermore, a decent rider trains the horse to accept the bit before attempting to do more complex and demanding tasks with the animal while riding it. It is all simple as that.
Now, I ask myself, "Did I do more harm than good by publishing this"? Of course I did more harm than good, because most nincompoops around horses refuse to see their imbecile realties and some will stop using martingales just so they appear as if some "good riders", and so in the end the horse will end up paying for it. And so the martingales are good thing when used for the above, by me, mentioned purposes, especially in this day and age when most horses are poorly trained and ridden and there are no decent riders.
All riders get worse, and they will never get better until they realize just how bad they are, which usually takes several years of daily riding of several horses. Most people however never reach this state, especially in this day and age, as they simply lack in courage to face up to their incompetence and stupidity.
Ps: I did not even bother to go to more details in relevance to Wiki, because I could not find even one sentence on that page that was free of nonsense, but people will eat this shit up like candies, because it is from a "reputable" site, while I am nobody in relevance to this world, and thank God for the latter of course.
Written by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a Lee Stanek