WHAT IS IT?
A member of the martingale family, similar to a running martingale. The breast strap loops round the girth and comes between the horse’s forelegs, via a neck strap, before splitting into two. These go through the bit rings and then clip on to special reins that have small rings placed along them to allow adjustment.
WHEN SHOULD IT BE USED?
Can be used for ridden flatwork or jumping, or for lungeing.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The Market Harborough exerts direct pressure onto the bit, and onto the corners of the mouth and bars, when the horse raises his head too far. The rider’s hand will determine the exact action and severity. Once the horse lowers his head the pressure will be released. This training aid should only be used with a snaffle bit.
WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?
- Improving acceptance of the contact
- Greater suppleness of the back through a rounder outline
- Improving looseness of the paces through suppleness
- Developing topline muscle
- Improving connection from hindquarters to the bridle by forming the right outline
“This is useful for horses who go in a hollow frame and lack topline muscle, as well as those who poke their nose above the bit,” says Tara. “Once a correct outline is achieved, the right muscle can be developed and the rider can enjoy more control over the horse’s head position.”
WHAT CAN GO WRONG?
If it’s fitted too tightly, it will restrict the horse’s natural movement and place him behind the bit. “This also risks the training aid being continually in use so the horse receives no reward for working in the correct position,” explains Tara. “This frequently leads to the horse leaning on the bit, falling on the forehand, and then becoming reluctant to go forward.” If used too loose, there will be nothing to discourage the horse from poking his nose, or becoming too long.