Sunday, June 2, 2013

FAQ, Part 10

What is the proper attire for grooming at a hunter/jumper show?

Normal attire for grooms for the hunter and jumper rings is just jeans and a t-shirt or polo, basically something that can get dirty without being ruined! You should wear whatever shoes you find comfortable, as long as they cover your feet for safety around hooves. Since the groom doesn't usually enter the ring with the horse (unless you're at the Olympics or in a big grand prix where the horse needs to be led in while the rider collects a prize, in which case team clothing might be provided), comfortable clothing is just fine!

What is the best thing to do with a long, thick mane for the schooling level hunter ring?

If you don't want to pull the mane because the horse doesn't show regularly, I would do a neat, tight running braid right up under the crest where from a distance it would look like a mane that's been braided like any other.

If you would like to shorten it, you could cut it to slightly longer than the length you would like it to finish at and then pull it the rest of the way. If you think it could still be hunter-like at its current thickness, you could just cut it, angling your scissors upwards rather than cutting straight across so that the mane will taper slightly and look pulled. Some people have luck using clippers instead of scissors. I've never had much success with any of the so-called humane alternatives to pulling so I either cut with scissors or pull only as often as I need to if the horse is clearly bothered by having its mane pulled. Be very careful if you choose to cut the mane as it needs to remain braidable!

Is it acceptable to put a crystal charm on a hunter braid?

Personally, I would rather just see a nice, uninterrupted line of braids, but if it's a very subtle charm that won't be distracting during a round then it can be acceptable. Use your own judgement to decide if it's something that can be done subtly with your horse and the charms that are available to you.

Can a hunter compete without a noseband?

While the rules do not seem to explicitly state that a noseband must be used, it is the conventional tack and it is expected, with no part of the rules suggesting that a noseband is optional. There are no rules, however, about how tightly the noseband must be done up, so a horse that prefers not to have any pressure there can compete with a loose cavesson.

Can hair bows be used for young pony riders?

Colourful hair bows that attach to the ends of the braids in some young riders' hair are quite popular at the moment. Due to the prevalence of these bows in the pony ring, it would seem that they are being accepted by the judges.

I have found, however, that the bows have gotten bigger and bigger each year, and I think that many are now over-the-top and distracting. Subtle bows in neutral or conservative barn colours are one thing, but layer upon layer of different-coloured ribbon flowing out behind the rider is another. If decorative bows are used, they should really only be used in the short stirrup or small pony classes, or for a small rider on a medium pony. Once a rider graduates to tall boots, they should also graduate to the classic hunter hair because it's no longer time to be "cute".

1 comment:

  1. Crystal charms in braids?!?!?! For real? I know bling is taking over the dressage world, but the hunter ring? (And I don't think the riders who are the most into bling - who, in my experience, are all amateurs and many of them in the lower levels - realize that it makes every little mistake stand out big time. If the horse's head is crooked or the rider is bobbling around, it looks like a disorganized mess in there).

    I grew up eventing. No one told me that it mattered if your saddle and bridle were the same color, let alone that you should put crystals in your horse's mane. Horses are so beautiful, can't we just let them shine with good nutrition and grooming, without adding fake sparkles to them?