Oh Honestly

Rockchick

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I was informed i was cruel the other day because 1 of my cobs is ridden in a 2 ring gag (on the bottom ring) a grackle noseband and a martingale!

I could ride him in just a normal cavesson noseband, no martingale and a snaffle.... IF i wanted to constantly have to pull on his mouth and hold him in a vice like grip and go no faster than walk...

however in his current tack i can stop/slow down in any pace merely by closing my fingers round the reins and giving a gentle squeeze!

i know which i'd prefer!
 

welshcobmad

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I was always told never to use a gag & martingale together, gag raises head up, martingale keeps it down, so conflicting advice to the horse ........
 

Rockchick

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without the martingale his head goes sky high... mainly when he wants to do something that i dont want him to :)

I find that with the gag and martingale he keeps his head and neck relaxed and works into a contact willingly and seems very happy and doesnt fight me :)

its definitely not a 'schooling issue' as hes very well schooled but can be a bit 'stubborn' and very strong from time to time lol

he'll quickly tell me if there is an issue too :)
 

Sugar_and_Spice

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Those bits OP describes aren't gags. I really hate that they've been called gags when they don't really have a gag action, they're more like a pelham without the curb chain and lower the head. Unless you hang off them with one rein on the bottom ring when a lot of horses will tense and hollow (therefore raising the head) in protest.

OP its crazy how some peoples minds work. Everything that doesn't look 'natural' is seen as cruel by some people. They seem to forget its not natural to ride horses in the first place.
 

Charem

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Agree with Sugar and Spice, on phone so can't quote!

2 ring gag/bubble bit is not an actual gag and lowers the head as opposed to a proper gag such as a Cheltenham which raises the head.

I go xc, sj, hunt and hack in the op's set up on my boy. Works for us too.
 

Tnavas

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Those bits OP describes aren't gags. I really hate that they've been called gags when they don't really have a gag action, they're more like a pelham without the curb chain and lower the head. Unless you hang off them with one rein on the bottom ring when a lot of horses will tense and hollow (therefore raising the head) in protest.

OP its crazy how some peoples minds work. Everything that doesn't look 'natural' is seen as cruel by some people. They seem to forget its not natural to ride horses in the first place.
A snaffle raises the head!

You will only get a lowering effect when you have a bit that exerts poll pressure such as a pelham, curb, Kimblewick or Uxeter - all have a curb chain which fixes the bit down in the mouth so that when the rein is used the action tilt the bit, exerts poll pressure and pressure to the chin groove causing the horse to give to the pressure.
 

Rockchick

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maybe i should add that he is also Natural Horsemanship trained and can be ridden in a halter (and has been a few times) my point is that for 'schooling' purposes and shows i cant ride in a halter and have to find something that works for him and me (which I have) and he is ridden 'classically' (if thats the right word) and works correctly at all times so im in no way riding 'a head'

he's strong to ride and can have a mind of his own and for safety's sake (both of us) i need to know i can 'control' him when needed,,,, but never at the expense of his welfare
 

Pale Rider

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maybe i should add that he is also Natural Horsemanship trained and can be ridden in a halter (and has been a few times) my point is that for 'schooling' purposes and shows i cant ride in a halter and have to find something that works for him and me (which I have) and he is ridden 'classically' (if thats the right word) and works correctly at all times so im in no way riding 'a head'

he's strong to ride and can have a mind of his own and for safety's sake (both of us) i need to know i can 'control' him when needed,,,, but never at the expense of his welfare
Totally confused. :)
 

stencilface

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I think in your set up I would prefer a correctly fitted standing martingale than a running one which will have an additional action on the reins of your bit, which is already on the strongest setting. It might mean he gives less resistance too - just a thought :)

I too know which I prefer, for jumping or galloping some horses need more than a snaffle - its not a crime to use perfectly legal tack!
 

tinap

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After a LOT of changing tack & schooling on my daughters boy we found what works for him. A Waterford 3 ring gag, usually on the 2nd ring, a martingale & a flash. This is for jumping & xc. He is happy In a snaffle with a lozenge & no martingale the rest of the time.

I'll probably get shot down, but it is your horse & you should use the tack that is suitable for you & your horse. I would much rather see a gadget & a happy horse than one without where the rider is ragging its mouth to bits & causing more distress. People should mind their own business! xx
 

Pale Rider

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Is this now the test of how good a horse is?!
Don't know.

I start horses in a head collar and don't progress to a bit until they can be ridden in all gaits without one using the seat properly.

I find a lot of horses are not ridden using the seat because people rely on a bit to stop the horse quite early on. If it isn't trained to stop, then a more severe bit is sometimes used.

Not using a bit is not some attempt to be clever it's trying to educate the horse properly so you dont end up hauling it about by the mouth.
 

056775

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I sympathise - only you know what works for your horse.

As some one who has had a few strong horses over the years the only advise I might offer is to "check" the horses responses maybe once twice a year.

When was the last time you dropped the martingale or tried a normal nose band?

Advise given to me by my instructor one time with a mentally strong horse was to try a softer bit to encourage him to relax only when schooling in the menage. We then switched to a stronger bit for the hack afterwards

He to my utter surprise worked nicely in the loose ring french link when concentrating but as you say - there is no point using it for hacking as his mouth would be bleeding and my shoulders the size of a rugby player.

You know what is best and safety first for both of you
 
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Don't know.

I start horses in a head collar and don't progress to a bit until they can be ridden in all gaits without one using the seat properly.

I find a lot of horses are not ridden using the seat because people rely on a bit to stop the horse quite early on. If it isn't trained to stop, then a more severe bit is sometimes used.

Not using a bit is not some attempt to be clever it's trying to educate the horse properly so you dont end up hauling it about by the mouth.
While I haven't started a youngster in a headcollar, I do start beginner riders without use of the reins. Until they understand the concept of using seat aids and body and have acquired a degree in of balance and independence, they don't take possession of the reins.
 

Annette4

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I could ride my old Sec B in a headcollar......sure as hell couldn't jump, hack in a group or hunt in one! I ended up using an american gag, flash and martingale. Most of the time I had zero contact as I tended to be on the buckle but IF the seat brakes failed.....I had the insurance for our safety and everyone elses.

Do what works for you and forget anyone else. I was recently told I was neglecting my 2yo's for having them out 24/7 with hay and feed because I only started to rug them in November.....they're a)ponies b)perfectly healthy and have never been fat and c)have locking stifles. One was having a '3 inches taller behind' growth spurt so looked poor for 2 weeks....funnily enough now the front has caught up she looks fab again....but those 2 weeks meant I was neglecting her! In my experience....people you ask for help and advice give the correct stuff, people who give you unsollicited advice are know it all's who need to mind thier own business!
 

Mariposa

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I was always told never to use a gag & martingale together, gag raises head up, martingale keeps it down, so conflicting advice to the horse ........
Most polo ponies are ridden in a gag and standing martingale. In fact you're not allowed to play without a standing martingale for safely...
 

Kat

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I think in your set up I would prefer a correctly fitted standing martingale than a running one which will have an additional action on the reins of your bit, which is already on the strongest setting. It might mean he gives less resistance too - just a thought :)

I too know which I prefer, for jumping or galloping some horses need more than a snaffle - its not a crime to use perfectly legal tack!
Her current set up includes a grackle :eek: OP I agree that a standing martingale might be better but you need a cavesson or flash with a standing martingale.
 

Kat

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Most polo ponies are ridden in a gag and standing martingale. In fact you're not allowed to play without a standing martingale for safely...
A standing martingale and gag is fine, a running martingale and gag gives conflicting signals as there is pressure on the rein when the head goes up and the rein pressure is on a bit with a head raising action. If you want to use a running martingale with a gag you should probably use two reins and use snaffle rein for the martingale.
 

tinap

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I don't think the op is actually asking for advice what to change to though, she has found what works for them! She is merely have a moan about interfering people (& rightly so op!) xx
 

cptrayes

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Don't worry about all these hugely knowledgale people Rockchick. If you are happy and he is happy that really is all that matters.

Some of this stuff has so made me laugh. Your bit is "already on it's strongest setting", errr, yes a 2 ring gag on the lower ring is about the same as a dressage legal Baucher/hanging cheek snaffle. Every horse could be taught to do everything in a headcollar if only they were started right. Yeah, of course :D You shouldn't use a martingale and a 2 ring gag because your horse will be conflicted. Ummm, sorry didn't you just tell us that he wasn't?

Just carry on having fun RC, ignore the naysayers.
 
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however in his current tack i can stop/slow down in any pace merely by closing my fingers round the reins and giving a gentle squeeze!

i know which i'd prefer!
How about you learn to slow down/stop him using your SEAT and not rely on your reins?

If he was well schooled you wouldn't need all those gadgets as he would respond to the rider's seat.

Lots of transitions needed with him I would think to get him listening to the rider and turn your core muscles on when doing it to stop him ploughing forward and pulling you off your seat which will just result on him ploughing along on the forehand, which may be what he is doing also resulting in him feeling 'strong'
 

Pale Rider

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TBH this sounds a lot to me like a lack of confidence in the rider, a lack of feel and a definate lack of softness.

If your release is good, ie the pressure is stopped as soon as you get the slightest response from the horse, it's not long before you get a positive result with the lightest of ask. In fact if you use your seat before the rein you will end up not needing to ask with the rein.

The object of it all is to get the horse concentrating on you, not whats going on around it or other horses, what you ask for you should get, no more, no less.

Do you remember the dressage at the Olympic's? When it was all over Charlotte rode around on a loose rein waving at the crowd on a relaxed chilled out well rounded horse. Adeline Cornelissen on the other hand, and she'd just taken a silver. You would hardly want to ride that horse anywhere. You don't want frenzied jumping rounds, where you've got more tie down crap on the horse, because you are hanging on and not properly controlling whats going on. If the horse is to jump a fence then it jumps it because it can and you asked it too.
 
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