Sunday, January 6, 2013

Turnout Critique #8

This is our first jumper Turnout Critique. Jumpers are more difficult to critique because so much is allowed that it really comes down to personal taste. I, personally, like a very clean and fairly conservative turnout for jumpers, and this critique will reflect that. As long as your turnout falls within the rules, however, it will not affect the judging of a jumper class. I believe that good turnout still shows respect for the judge and the horse show and I therefore like to make the effort.

The first thing that strikes me is how nice and clean this very cute pony is! The ends of her tail could be a little bit whiter, which usually comes from shampooing the tail frequently well ahead of the horse show, but as far as I can tell without knowing this horse's coat markings and assuming that the orange jump is reflecting off the back legs, especially after looking at all of the photos, I think that this rider has done a good job with her grey horse.

I would like to see the tail brushed out better, starting from the bottom and working all the way up to the top so that it doesn't fall into clumps as we see here. The mane could be pulled and/or shortened to make it neater and less likely to catch the rider's hands during a release. I like to braid jumpers' manes for big classes, but an unbraided mane is perfectly acceptable, and the norm, for a casual class.

Hoof polish would add a nice finish to the turnout, especially in contrast to the light coat.

The bridle appears to be well-fitted to this pony and I like the conservative fly veil. My preference is for a conservative base colour for a fly veil, and then personality can be added through coloured trim if desired. A true white fly veil can make even a clean horse look yellow, so the best colours to use on a grey are usually (depending on the lightness of the grey horse) off-white, grey or black.

I am not a big fan of this patterned saddle pad for showing; I think that a plain white pad or a white pad edged in black, or even a black pad edged in white for a casual class, would look very clean and professional while suiting the overall colour scheme.

The saddle looks like it might benefit from a good conditioning (although it might just be a trick of the light) and I would tuck the excess stirrup leather under the saddle flap so that it isn't flying around. As I've mentioned in previous posts, it's a good idea to keep an eye on the peacock irons over time as some aren't meant to take the weight of more than a young child. I would prefer to see a girth that is closer in colour to the saddle and bridle.

This rider's helmet is fairly conservative and appropriate for the jumper ring. Her hair appears to be neatly contained in a braid, which is perfectly acceptable for long hair, although putting it up inside the helmet is the neatest option.

If it's warm enough to show in short sleeves, my preference would be to remove the bulky vest before entering the ring. My personal practice is to wear a thin V-neck sweater over a polo shirt on cooler days so that the collar of the polo still shows and the lightweight fabric means that you're less likely to overheat once you start riding. The V-neck makes it easy to pull over your helmet if you get too warm and want to take it off.

This rider is not wearing gloves, which is perfectly acceptable if that is how she prefers to ride. If she ever wants more protection for her hands, she should choose black, brown, or even beige gloves depending on the rest of her outfit to remain conservative.

The breeches are an appropriate beige colour and are clean. Her boots, however, are a different story! If the light colour on the toes is dirt, they should have been cleaned before the horse show and preferably again after mounting. If it's discolouration from wear, the boots should have been buffed with black polish. I like for a rider's boots to be polished at all times in the jumper ring. Also, when half chaps are used, they should ideally be the type that look like tall boots from a distance, and they should be polished as well.

Overall, I think that this rider has done a very good job of presenting herself for a schooling-level jumper show. It will only take a few minor changes and polishing to bring their turnout up to the next level.

Thank you to this week's featured rider for submitting these photos! Anyone wishing to be featured in a future Turnout Critique should e-mail any photos to


  1. I really like this game. So great and super man you are. Weldon

  2. Oh no! I'm 14 and I ride in peacock irons! I never knew there was a weight limit! Why is there a weight limit? I'm probably over the limit! I show a lot too. Would I get in trouble at shows about having those? I show in Canada at the A level.

    1. The general consensus seems to be that the weight limit is around 100-110 lbs.

      If you notice that the footbed of the stirrup is no longer level, you probably should not be using them (the outside of the footbed has no branch support so too much weight will cause the metal to bend). If the metal is bending, they probably aren't very safe to use.

      You won't get in trouble for showing in them, particularly in pony or children's classes, but there are more elegant solutions out there.