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How to Make a Horse Martingale

By Jennifer Banfield | Updated September 26, 2017

cowboy & horse image by Clarence Alford from Fotolia.com

Items you will need

  • 3/16 inch poly braided rope

  • 1 Metal swivel snap with two inch ring

  • 2 Two-inch metal rings

A martingale is a piece of horse equipment or tack used to control head carriage in horses. Pressure is applied to the back of the head behind the ears, referred to as the poll. Martingales are used on both riding and driving horses. One of the most common and safest types of martingale is the running martingale. It is adjustable and can be loosened during an emergency.


Saddle and bridle the horse that will be using the martingale. It should be interchangeable among horses, but using the horse for an aid will ensure the martingale isn’t too long or too short.


Feed the poly braided rope through one of the metal rings. Secure the rope by tying the end into a knot around the ring.

Cut the rope to approximately a length of three feet. Feed the loose end of the poly rope through the second ring and secure with a knot.

Run the second rein through the second ring. The poly rope should now hang down around the front of the horse’s chest.

Cut a second section of poly rope about a 18 inches long. Attach rope to the metal swivel snap by tying a knot at the base of snap.

Run the end with the snap between the horse’s legs and attach the swivel snap to the metal dee ring which is attached to the cinch.

Pull the poly rope which is attached to the dee rings down toward the horse’s chest. Adjust the second rope which is attached to the cinch to the desired length and tie it to the middle of the first rope so that the two ropes tied together form the shape of a Y.

Photo Credits

  • cowboy & horse image by Clarence Alford from Fotolia.com