Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Turnout Critique #17

This week's featured horse and rider exhibit fantastic turnout that wouldn't look out of place in any hunter or equitation division at a horse show, but their turnout is even better when you consider that they're competing in the Short Stirrup division!

First off, her tack is beautifully clean and well-fitting. The saddle is small enough that the rider is not swimming in it but there still appears to be room for her to grow. The bridle is adjusted with the noseband right up under the cheek bones to complement her horse's face, and the horse is wearing the standard hunter D-ring and standing martingale (which is also correctly adjusted with enough length that it could be pulled up to the throat latch area). The saddle pad is very well-chosen to follow the outline of the saddle with an inch or two of pad showing all the way around. The rider is using a traditional stainless steel stirrup iron, suitable for any class she might wish to enter, and I appreciate that the excess stirrup leather is tucked under the flap as they are usually distractingly long for a rider of this age unless trimmed or tucked in.

The rider is correctly turned out in suitably conservative hunter attire with a black helmet, dark jacket, white show shirt, beige breeches and fitted black field boots, polished to a shine. It is more common to see short boots and jodhpurs in the Short Stirrup division because they are more easily adjusted to the growing rider, but there's nothing wrong with tall boots and I think that they suit this pair well. I like how her jacket is fitted; often jackets for smaller riders are quite boxy but hers fits her body and is a great length. The rider is wearing conservative black gloves and she has her hair up in a hairnet. Braided hair with bows would also be an option for this division, but again I believe that this pair pull off their chosen look extremely well. It looks like the hairnet might have slipped off beneath the rider's ear or snagged on an earring, but that is a very minor detail.

This horse is complemented by a beautiful braiding job. Braiding the tail is not needed for this division except at the most prestigious shows. The horse's tail is nicely brushed out but it could benefit from some more fullness at the bottom if one were to be very picky. The illusion of fullness can be achieved by trimming a small amount from the bottom of the tail (keeping most of the length as hunters generally prefer tails that are on the longer side) or by adding in a modest fake tail for showing. Depending on the cause of the thinness, bagging the tail or not brushing it too often at home could also be of benefit for keeping it thick and healthy.

The horse appears to be very clean and I suspect that he would look shiny in the sun. His hooves are nicely oiled and the small amount of white on his legs is clean. My only grooming quibbles are related to trimming. Because hunters are shown with bare legs, attention should be paid to their appearance. Trimming the little tuft of hair at the back of each fetlock would make this pair look that much sleeker and more elegant. I also noticed a little tuft of hair in front of the crown of the bridle; the mane can grow quickly so trimming the bridle path should be done frequently during the show season.

Overall, this is a polished, elegant pair who are doing a fantastic job of showing off the horse. My critiques are very minor and I am sure that when they step into the ring, the judge knows that they are there to compete.

Many thanks to this week's featured rider for submitting this photo! Readers who would like to participate in a future Turnout Critique may send any photos to

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this great post! Wish I had known about your turnout posts for my first children's horse book, Touch of Gold :) They will be an excellent resource for the next book and the sequel!