Sunday, February 27, 2011

FAQ, Part 3

Why would a jumper use an open front boot?
Open-front boots are designed not to protect the front of the horse's legs. This is because we want a horse to be able to feel it when they rub a jump in order to learn from the mistake. If you pad that part of the leg, you risk the horse becoming careless. The hard sides and back of the boot protect the horse from hitting itself with the other front leg and from damaging the tendons by striking the back of the leg with a hind foot.

Rules for horse boots in the hunter ring?
Boots and bandages are not permitted in the hunter ring unless the weather is terrible and the steward gives permission for them to be used. Otherwise, you may warm up with boots on, but they must be removed (along with the tail wrap, if you use one) before you set foot in the show ring or you will be eliminated.

What makes a handy hunter handy?
Handiness is basically brilliance and efficiency. A handy horse will be brave and very rideable while being able to execute tighter turns and more galloping than you would normally see in a hunter course, all while maintaining the usual hunter qualities. In a handy hunter course, you're likely to see roll-backs, trot fences and option jumps (choosing a more difficult line or a bigger jump). In some classes, you might even need to open and close a gate or dismount (or even dismount and lead the horse over a small jump). Overall, I would say that handiness is very similar to rideability.

Why do you jog for soundness?
It is a rule that hunters must be sound in limb. Jogging for soundness before awarding ribbons ensures that all of the winners meet this criteria. If a horse is lame, the judge will excuse it from the line-up. This is the best time for the judge to evaluate lameness because it is not a requirement for the horses to trot before or after finishing their course in the over fences classes.   

How do you attach a martingale to a belly guard?
It depends on the particular girth. Some come with carabiner-type clips in the middle that can open and close. If you use such a girth, all you have to do is slip the loop of your martingale into the clip.  Other girths have a solid ring in the middle for attachments.  You need to attach a clip (like a halter snap or leash clip) to your martingale in order to use the ring for that purpose. With some work and dismantling, you should be able to slip the clip right onto your martingale. A third type of attachment, that sometimes comes with the solid clip, is a leather strap, secured with either a stud or a buckle. To attach a martingale without a clip, undo the leather strap on the girth, slip it through the loop of your martingale, then re-attach the leather strap. 

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