Saturday, November 22, 2014

Turnout Critique #16

This installment of Turnout Critique features a lovely rider and her grey horse who present an excellent example of good show ring turnout.

Photo used with photographer's permission
Grey horses present an extra challenge for good turnout because their hair stains so easily and is difficult to keep white enough not to look yellow in comparison to white saddle pads and clothing. This horse has been very thoroughly bathed and shows no yellow spots anywhere, not even on the more easily-stained parts of the body such as the legs (there is some reflection of the footing colour on his underside, which just gives the illusion of dirty patches). I suspect that if we could see the tail, the sections that aren't dark hair would be as white as possible, too. This indicates a dedication to frequent bathings to keep such stains from setting.

The mane is neatly braided in the appropriate hunter style, though the contrast between the light body and the dark mane allow us to see that some of the braids have been rubbed slightly. If this horse tends to be a braid rubber, keeping a slinky neck cover on until it's time to tack up could help to reduce the number of damaged braids. 

The tack all appears to be perfectly clean, and the bridle demonstrates proper adjustment; the noseband is set high enough to flatter this horse's face, while the throatlatch is the right length to do its job without being so short that it tightens against the throat, or so long that it swings forward under the cheeks. A D-ring bit such as this one is always an attractive option for a hunter.

I can't tell whether the marks in front of the girth are this horse's colouring or the result of girth rubs. If they are the latter, I would suggest using a girth cover between shows to help prevent them from developing.

The clean saddle pad is nicely chosen to suit the size and shape of the saddle flaps, with the maximum two inches of pad showing evenly all the way around. The excess stirrup leather is slightly longer than I would prefer to see it; ideally it would be three or four inches shorter, or tucked back under the saddle flap.

The hooves are oiled nicely to look clean and tidy, while also showing off how clean the white legs are. This horse has been neatly trimmed, both on the face and the legs, and he and his rider have both obviously been wiped down with a towel before going into the ring to remove any last-minute slobber or warm-up ring dust.

This rider is neatly and conservatively dressed in the appropriate manner for the hunter ring. Her jacket is well-fitted and is the ideal length for her in both the body and the arms. For a more formal occasion I would suggest a darker jacket, but the light grey colour is perfectly appropriate for a regular hunter class. The jacket is accompanied by a classic white show shirt and the appropriate beige breeches with a belt. Her boots are beautifully fitted, coming all the way up to the knee with enough height left over to give lots of flexibility in the ankle area. I would prefer to see more polish to the boots, but it's possible that the lack of shine is due mostly to the cloudiness of the day.

Her clean black gloves and helmet are both very good choices, and her hair is neatly contained in a hairnet in the hunter fashion. I wonder whether this rider's number is tied further above her natural waist than is usual, but the angle of the photo could make the line deceiving.

Overall this rider has done a lovely job of presenting herself and her horse to look their best.

Thank you to this week's featured rider for submitting this photo! Anyone who would like to participate in a future Turnout Critique can send one or more photos to

1 comment:

  1. Great critique of hunter ring turnout! Actually helpful for better preparing for the hunter ring.