As the old saying goes ‘you have one chance to make a first impression’. When you enter the arena at a hunter show, you are being judged the moment you set foot into the ring. When you present yourself as a show ring hunter the judge will judge you as a show ring hunter. If you present yourself as someone who is there to train and get mileage, then the judge will assess you accordingly.
To understand what is required for showing attend a few of the local, regional or national level shows. Here you will see all levels of turnout. Notice how the seasoned competitors, no matter the weather and the class, will show respect to the judge, the organizers and the sponsor by having their horse turned out properly.
A proper turnout means being, clean, neat and tidy. Equipment, clothing and turn out need not be brand new. And in the case of tack, should not be brand new. But it should be clean and in good repair. Dirty breeches, boots and equipment with missing bits or in poor repair have no place in the show ring.
Why is TurnOut Important
The quality of turnout is a reflection of the care you put in to how you perceive the show. At any level of show you can see both extremes of scale. Some riders over dressed for a schooling round or worse some riders being underdressed for an important class.
Other reasons for good turn out, is a well turned out horse can turn an ‘ugly duckling’ into an elegant ‘swan’. An otherwise ordinary competitor can gain valuable appeal with a properly braided mane and a tail that shows off the horse’s performance. Likewise, if you are not turned out properly, bad points of the round become glaring errors that are hard to recover from.
Turn out does matter from a well groomed coat to a quick oiling of the hooves before going into the ring. It sets the tone for the whole ride and leaves a ‘good taste’ in the judge’s mouth.