Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Turnout Critique #5

This week's featured rider appears to put a lot of effort into her turnout. We're going to look at a few ways to further refine their look with a little bit more attention to detail.

One of the first things that I notice is that the tack all appears to be properly fitted to this very cute pony. The noseband is correctly placed at the right height, and everything looks clean. I would like to see the long excess stirrup leather either tucked under the flap or trimmed so that it doesn't flap around. Also, make sure to check the keepers on the bridle before entering the ring because one has slipped down and that might cause the cheek strap to flap while you're showing. If your keepers have a tendency to slip, it can sometimes be better to push them up slightly higher than normal where the leather might be thicker, filling the keeper better.

The saddle pad appears to fit the shape and size of the saddle nicely, which can be difficult to do with an older saddle like this one.

I assume that this show took place during a cold part of the year based on the pony's long coat. Clipping the coat would really sharpen their turnout while helping to remove the yellow tinge that can be very difficult to remove from long hair (although this rider has done quite a good job of cleaning this long-haired pony up). If this pony has a long coat during the warmer seasons, clipping would be a good idea both to keep her clean and to keep her comfortable.

I recommend shampooing grey manes and tails frequently, even outside of shows, to keep them as white as possible. Once stains have set in they can be very difficult to remove, and frequent shampooing can help to avoid the yellow tinge that we see in this pony's mane, which is practically impossible to get rid of in just one or two pre-show baths.

I am always a fan of braiding the mane, and I think that a row of hunter braids would suit this pony very well, especially since her naturally frizzy mane is difficult to keep neat. I also think that oiled hooves would show off her clean grey coat nicely, as would trimming the long hair on her legs.

While the rider's boots appear to be perfectly clean, they don't shine as though they've been polished. I recommend polishing field boots before every show. Wiping them off with a dry rag will keep them polished while removing any dust that settles on them while you're riding.

I feel like a broken record, having said this in just about every turnout critique so far, but I feel that this rider's jacket is too big and looks a bit messy because of it. The only location on a jacket that really needs to be spacious is the shoulder area because of all of the arm movements associated with riding. The rest of the jacket really doesn't need to be anything but fitted, especially with the stretchy materials that are commonly used today. Some jacket brands offer slim cuts, and some brands simply fit slimmer builds better than others. If all else fails, you could always ask if a tailor could bring the jacket in at the waist. If this particular jacket's buttons have a tendency to pop out, which has happened here, looking down and checking them before heading into the ring might be a good habit to get into.

I like that this rider is wearing clean, dark gloves, and her white show shirt is clean and classic.

While I commend this rider on wearing a hairnet, it's distractingly low. The hairnet should just cover the hair, which means that it shouldn't come any lower than the helmet on the forehead, and shouldn't cover the entire ear if the hair isn't. One more little detail can be fixed with the helmet's chin strap cover, which is sitting off to the side instead of in the middle. In an equitation class, that sort of thing could make her look crooked.

This looks like a rider who puts a lot of effort into her and her pony's turnout, and I think that they will turn heads in the ring if they put just that much more emphasis on the details.

Thank you very much to this week's featured rider for submitting these photos! As always, if you're interested in being featured in a future turnout critique, please send your photos to showringreadyblog@gmail.com

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