Sunday, February 28, 2010

Turning Your Horse Out For The Jumper Ring

Jumpers are judged objectively, which means that as long as you are within the rules, how you are dressed cannot affect your placing. This results in a wide variety of turnout standards at horse shows. Taking the time to present yourself and your horse well shows respect for the judge and the horse show (as well as respect for your horse).

What do we look for in a well-dressed jumper?


Just like in the hunter ring, a jumper will ideally be clean and shiny, with bright white socks. Hooves should be polished to finish off the look. Have a helper at the in-gate with a towel to wipe your horse off before you enter the ring.

Clean, conservative boots

The most common horse boots in the jumper ring are open front boots because these protect the back and sides of the leg while allowing the horse to feel any rails in front. Polo bandages are allowed but are rarely seen because they pad the front of the legs. Regardless of what you choose to put on your horse's legs, the colour should ideally be conservative: black, brown or white.  They should also be clean, which in addition to looking better than dirty boots is also easier on the horse's skin.

Well-fitting tack

Jumpers are allowed to wear a wide range of tack. Whatever you choose to put on your horse, make sure that it fits. Not only does ill-fitting tack look bad, but things like straps that are hanging too low can be dangerous. Check out Chapter 5 of the Equine Canada Hunter, Jumper, Equitation and Hack Rulebook here to see what you are allowed to use.

Conservative saddle pad

Jumpers are usually shown in a square saddle pad, although you are free to use a shaped pad if you prefer that. The most professional-looking horses are those that wear white pads for showing. A black pad can also look good on many horses, but it does not have the same air of formality as a white pad and is therefore more acceptable for weekday classes than for weekend ones. Brightly coloured pads are very difficult to pull off and it is better to leave them at home for schooling.

A fly veil that complements your horse

A beautiful fly veil can make your horse look extra special, while keeping insects out of the ears and also helping to hold in ear plugs if you use them. Fly veils with a fringe are not really acceptable for the show ring. Usually riders will choose a fly veil with a base colour that matches or complements the horse's mane or body colour and then use the piping to throw in a touch of bright colour.


For special classes, consider braiding your horse. Jumper braids can add a lot of polish to your horse's turnout.

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