Martingale and Draw Rein Safety

Avoid accidents by using training aids correctly.

Martingales and draw reins are important tools in many training programs. However, they must be used correctly in order to teach your horse how to carry himself.

AQHA Professional Horseman Tommy Sheets offers this advice on proper martingale and draw rein use, to keep these training tools safe and effective.

Martingale Safety

When training with a snaffle bit, split reins and a running martingale, the rings of the martingale can get caught on the reins, locking the reins and martingale.

The unyielding pressure can frighten the horse, possibly causing him to rear up and flip over, with the rider having limited control.

To avoid this dangerous situation, make two rein guards from pieces of leather.

Cut two squares, 2 ½-by-2 ½ inches, then make a slit in the middle to slide the reins through. Use one guard per rein. The guards will block the martingale rings from rising up on the reins and getting stuck.

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Draw Rein Safety

When purchasing draw reins, make sure they can be disconnected at the base, so you can connect them to the sides of the horse and not between the legs.

Fastening the draw reins to the cinch between the legs, Sheets says, creates an awkward leverage and makes the horse heavy on the front end. Hooking them to the girth D rings, as shown in the photo, allows the horse to maintain its normal balance. Make sure the draw reins are long enough for ample length to release and avoid trapping the horse.

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