Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Turnout Critique #2

In this Turnout Critique we'll be looking at a very well-presented horse and rider combination who could make a few small changes to further improve their turnout.

The first impression that I get from these photos is that this rider really cares about presenting her horse and herself as well as possible. The first thing that jumps out at me for possible improvement is the saddle pad. Its shape doesn't quite fit the saddle, and unfortunately the worst-fitting part is the same part that has a tendency to slip back. When positioned correctly, it doesn't look bad aside from showing a little bit more white than is ideal. If the pad slips back during a course, though, as has happened above, the section behind the saddle flap really stands out because it naturally slips back and reveals even more white.

The next thing I notice that could be improved is the fit of the rider's jacket. There are wrinkles in the sleeves and body of the jacket in both photos, and while it may just be the timing of the photos, I suspect that this rider would be flattered by a jacket one size smaller. She does not seem the type to put on a wrinkled jacket so this must happen while the jacket is in use!

This rider might benefit from using bobby pins or something similar while putting on her helmet, as it seems that her hair has slipped down in the hair net. Her hair is still fully contained and is not to the point of looking messy, but it could be improved.

The only other criticism I have is that I am not the biggest fan of the type of girth that this rider is using. While the various rings on the girth are handy as attachment points for various training devices, they do catch the eye and I prefer a more standard traditional girth for showing. This is, however, personal preference.

This rider is using well-fitted tack, including a cavesson noseband fitted correctly just below the cheek bones of her lovely Thoroughbred and he is clean, trimmed and shiny, and is obviously well taken care of. He has a neat braid job on both mane and tail and his white sock is clean as can be. His hooves have also been oiled to finish the look.

The rider is neatly and conservatively dressed, allowing her horse to stand out. Her boots are fully shined and the bottoms are free of any dirt.

It is clear from their presentation that this rider truly cares about turnout and I'm sure that the judges notice. Well done!

I will leave this horse and rider anonymous unless she chooses to name herself in the comments. Thank you for submitting these photos!

If you would like to submit a photo (or photos) for a future turnout critique, send an e-mail to