Saturday, December 15, 2012

FAQ, Part 8

Does my tack need to match?
Not necessarily. It's quite common for there to be a couple of shades difference between two pieces of tack, especially when a rider uses one saddle between several horses whose bridles might not all be the same colour. What will stand out is if you use different pieces of tack with entirely different tones, but staying within the same colour family will usually work. Pairing orangey brown Newmarket with a dark brown would likely look bad, whereas pairing medium brown with chocolate brown is not likely to stand out at all (see Dover Saddlery's handy guide to leather colours). It's about creating a harmonious picture, so the less your tack stands out, the better.

Should I use light tack on a light horse and dark tack on a dark horse?
It depends. Tack colour preference seems to be highly regional, with some areas preferring lighter tack and others preferring darker tack. Obviously, lighter tack will stand out more on a darker horse, so in general darker tack would be preferable. Similarly, chestnut-coloured tack would stand out less on a chestnut, but most people aren't likely to find that a darker brown clashes with a chestnut coat, either. Tack colour for grey horses can be highly controversial. Overall, the general rule is to use a tack colour that you like and that complements your horse's coat colour without drawing the eye away from your horse.

Which stirrup irons are acceptable in the hunter ring?
As with anything in the hunter ring, conservative is best. Solid stainless steel fillis irons are always acceptable and are the most classic and attractive choice. Jointed irons are also acceptable, especially if the joint blends in with the stainless steel of the iron. Plastic composite irons can also be used. Modern aluminum stirrups with wide foot beds can also be used provided they are conservative in colour, but the style itself isn't exactly conservative. For equitation classes, black stirrup irons are no longer permitted.

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