Friday, June 29, 2012

Turnout Critique #3

This week we have a neatly dressed horse and rider who are new to showing in the hunters. While they show good turnout for a new pair, their presentation could be improved further by putting even more emphasis on the horse.

One of the first things that jumps out at me is all the HAIR! You can never go wrong braiding a hunter's mane, and this horse would be well suited to neat hunter braids. His mane will need to be pulled/shortened before being braided in order for the braids to be short enough to stay neat all day. At higher levels, braiding the tail would also help to refine the picture. As it stands, the tail is perfect for an everyday class, having been nicely brushed out. His mane doesn't look straight but it's hard to tell whether that's the way it's been trimmed or whether the waviness of the mane is just making it look that way.

The feathers on the legs could also be trimmed to further refine the turnout. This can be done with clippers or scissors (either special curved scissors or regular scissors used at an angle so as not to leave straight lines), and just shortens the feathers to the same length as the rest of the hair on the legs.

His socks are nice and white, and oiling the hooves would help to add some extra polish while bringing the white socks out even more.

The saddle pad was very well-selected to fit this saddle properly, with just the right amount of pad showing evenly all around the saddle. The excess stirrup leather isn't too long and it's neatly contained in its keeper.

It's hard to see clearly from the quality of the photo, but I believe that the noseband and browband have white padding. In the hunter ring, the bridle should be entirely brown or black. Padding like this on the noseband and browband is fine, but it should match the rest of the bridle. The bridle is adjusted properly with the bit and noseband at just the right height.

This rider is neatly and conservatively dressed, as she should be for a hunter class. Her black gloves, white shirt, grey jacket, beige breeches and black field boots are all very appropriate. Her hair appears to be nearly contained in her helmet. The jacket might be a touch large but I could just be seeing wrinkles from the movement in that moment in time. I also wonder whether this rider's field boots might be a bit too large in the leg; the bulge at the back of her leg makes me wonder whether her heel has risen up in them. If so, she could try tightening the laces more if a new pair of boots isn't an option.

Overall, this rider is off to a great start in showing with clean, well-fitted tack and apparel. With a few tweaks and some extra time spent grooming, this pair could easily grab the judge's attention.

Thank you very much to this week's rider for submitting this photo! If you would like to participate in a future turnout critique, send me an e-mail with your photo(s) to

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