Friday, February 21, 2014

Turnout Critique #12

The first Turnout Critique submission of 2014 is a lovely example of good hunter turnout, with only a handful of minor improvements that could be made.

This horse is in good condition and is groomed thoroughly on a regular basis, as evidenced by the deep shine of his coat. If anything, he might be a little bit too fat, but jumping photos can sometimes be deceiving in that respect. He appears to be quite hot and sweaty, and could possibly benefit from being clipped if this show did not take place on an unusually hot day. The braids are nicely done as far as the photo shows.

All of the white markings have clearly been meticulously cleaned, and this good work would be highlighted by a fresh application of hoof oil to the feet.

The tack all appears to be properly fitted, clean and in good repair. The noseband would flatter the face better if it were put up a hole or two so that it sits just one finger's width below the cheekbone. We are often fooled into judging the size of the head by the length from the browband to the noseband, so the noseband should be kept up near the cheekbones to minimize this distance (bridles stretch over time, therefore this should be checked every so often).

The saddle pad is just the right shape for this saddle, with a very acceptable 1 1/2 inches of pad showing all the way around the edges. The excess length of stirrup leather is just short enough to be tidy without needing to be tucked or trimmed. The tack is a great example of not needing to have everything in the exact same colour. The saddle and girth match, making neither stand out to the eye. The martingale and bridle are darker in colour, but since they are on a separate part of the horse and are in a similar colour family to the saddle, nothing stands out as being different.

This rider is beautifully dressed in well-fitted beige breeches, belt, dark jacket, white show shirt with the now-common wrap collar and conservative black gloves. Her hair is neatly contained in the hunter style and she sports an appropriately conservative helmet by today's standards. My only problem is with her boots, which don't show the high shine of a pair that have been recently polished. She could also ask a groom to brush off the bottoms of her boots after she mounts for a cleaner look. The boots appear to be made of a thin, supple leather, which produces a lovely slim profile but could also require extra time spent polishing due to the leather's more porous surface.

The quality of this horse and rider combination is so high that any turnout faults are very minor. This rider appears to be a great example of someone who puts a strong effort into presenting herself well in front of the judges.

Many thanks to this week's featured rider for putting herself forward for a critique!

Any readers who are interested in being featured in a future edition of Turnout Critique can send photos to