Lucy Nicholas answers a reader’s query on bib martingales…

Q.I am increasingly seeing bib martingales worn in showjumping competitions, and sometimes in the pages of magazines like Pegasus. But why are they used?

bib-martingaleA.A bib martingale is similar to a running martingale, but has a solid, triangular piece of leather between the running straps, to stop the horse from raising its head too high.

Bibs are also widely advocated to stop a horse from grabbing hold of the martingale with their teeth, and panicking. This ‘playing’ with the reins or attachments could be due to age, e.g. a playful young horse or pony, or perhaps a stallion that likes to ‘mouth’ things.

The bib also holds the reins together, which for a young horse is important, to help get a consistent rein contact. For more established horses, it can offer a little more balance than a normal running martingale.

Despite being used by some top showjumpers, the bib is predominantly used at racing and breeding yards, in our experience. It is similar in function to a traditional running martingale, of course! We like the Shires Blenheim Bib Martingale – it’s made from high quality leather and comes in cob or full sizes, in black or Havana colourways.

Lucy Nicholas represents 


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