Saturday, December 19, 2009
Martingales In Dressage?
Perhaps it is just me, but I see quite a bit of people do dressage schooling with a martingale or something of the like. Like about 50%. Something like that.
Anyway, my thoughts are:
If they are not allowed in competition, why would one school in them?
I'm not just talking about those seriously misinformed people who have their horse's chin to their chest in an outrageously tight martingale. Yes, that is bad. I'm really just talking about martingales in dressage schooling general. I honestly think that if you rely on one in schooling it's almost a bit like cheating your way to getting "on the bit". And then you get into the show ring and both you and horse are like "er... what do we do from here?"
If you school in them a lot or all of the time, how would that help you in competition when you can't have one on? Your horse might not know what to do (if you've been using the martingale improperly) or they might just think "YUSH HAY DAY!" and throw their head up in the air when you tighten your reins and look more like a bad jumper than a dressage horse. I understand they are quite practical in and allowed in anything that involves jumping. They are also allowed in almost all of the western speed events. But dressage is not a speed event, so....
Is it just the people who use martingales improperly that should worry, or what? What do y'all think?
I've stayed away from martingales for this reason, not like we need them anyway. I would be afraid of becoming dependent on them. Also because I have no idea on earth how to use one properly. I use polo wraps. Those aren't allowed in competition. I use a dressage whip on occasion (I usually never had to tap Greta though, all she needs is just to see it in my hand and know that I really mean business). And those aren't allowed in most competitions either. So I guess I am a bit guilty of my own argument.
But it was just a thought. Does it seem fair for one to use a martingale in schooling, when used properly? Does one only use them when a horse is acting up, or to get a green horse/rider used to feeling of contact and being on the bit? Enlighten me.