In addition to a saddle, a bridle and reins you may also wish to add a martingale or breast plate to your tack. If so, then our fine leather styles form Ascot, Bridleway and Dever are great choices.
Running martingales attach at the girth and then run between the horse’s front legs. They then branch into two parts, each of which has a ring at the end. The reins pass through these rings. The martingale prevents the horse from throwing its head up too high as they have a level effect. There is some evidence to suggest that martingales can also help to correct the errors of riders as they ensure more consistent tension on the reins.
This style of martingales features a strap which is attached to the girth and then passes through the horse’s front legs. This is then attached to the noseband. Like the running martingale, the standing martingale is used to prevent a horse from throwing its head up too high but applies pressure only to the poll. It is more restrictive that the running martingale but can be loosened in an emergency. It can be attached to a cavesson noseband or the upper strap of a flash noseband but not to a grackle noseband.
Martingales must fit correctly and are temporary measures to teach the horse the correct behaviour. Overuse of a martingale can lead to a horse tensing its back muscles and then moving unnaturally.
Whilst martingales help to ensure that a horse behaves correctly, breast plates keep saddles under control! A breast plate prevents the saddle from sliding backwards and so increases stability.
If you are unsure as to whether or not you require a martingale or breast plate then seek expert advice before making your decision.