A standing martingale is a strap that attaches the noseband to the girth or breastplate. It controls the horse’s head position by putting pressure on the noseband. The martingale should be adjusted so that when the horse’s head is in a neutral position, the strap can fit up under the horse’s throat latch. A standing martingale is particularly useful for a horse that tosses its head. One of the great advantages of the standing martingale is that it is a self-correcting device that is activated by the horse. It is a passive device. Once the “correction” is made, the martingale releases and no longer has any influence on the horse's head position.
It is more dangerous than a running martingale because, in certain situations, it is more restrictive. The martingale cannot be easily loosened and if a horse falls or catches a leg, it could be very dangerous. Standing martingales are not allowed to be used during the cross country phase of eventing competitions for this reason.