Does Turnout Matter?

Horse Show Turn Out
Creative Commons License photo credit: Svadilfari

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.

About Laura

Laura Kelland-May is the founder of Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Development Program. She more than trains horses, she trains people to train their horses. In addition she is a Sr. Judge and can offer insight into What the Judge Is Looking For. Follow her here and get more tips.
This entry was posted in Horse Show, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Does Turnout Matter?

  1. Laura,

    I’d love to hear more about shining examples of turnout that have really caught your eye as a judge as well as some stories of the ones that lost their opportunity for a winning ride placement due to mistakes made in presentation.

  2. Laura says:

    Thanks Nanette.

    This is a really great idea and I have one right on the top of my head that happened this past summer. I will quickly explain.

    A horse came into the ring, in a training class, and had refusals, spins, kickouts etc. The rider was not properly turned out and the horse was being ‘trying’ to say the least. The entries were light that day so I let the rider school the horse and after a few attempts the competitor excused him/herself.

    The next horse in the ring was fresh, clean, horse gleaming, tack spiffy and rider turned out properly. I sat perfectly still and just watched. It was beautiful the way the competitor came in and presented herself.

    I remember thinking how 2 competitors in the same class could compete against each other in the same ring, same class at the same competition. One should not have been there because she/he was not prepared and the horse was not prepared and the other was so well turned out and prepared she was ready to move on to the next level.

  3. Hi Laura, thanks for your comment on my blog. I was interested to see about your stable and see there is great information here, though of course I’m just a backyard hobbyist. Still, I love to learn all I can about horses. I do hope to get more parents to consider carefully before buying a horse. I have seen horses and the children’s interest in riding be damaged because appropriate steps weren’t taken. Thanks for coming by and I’ll be sure to read more here.

  4. Laura says:

    thanks Cathy…
    I appreciate your comments. You are right. Parents and their children should become more aware of the responsibilities of owning a horse. Just as there are so many unwanted cats and dogs at the SPCA there are unwanted horses that often get forgotten or abandoned because of lost interest or not understanding the amount of $$ required for their upkeep.

    Thanks and Keep in touch.

    This is such a useful commentary. I am following you on twitter.

  6. Laura says:

    Thank you for your comments. If you want more updates please sign up for our newsletter!
    thanks for the twitter follow as well.
    see you,

  7. Pingback: Showing in non matching tack with bleached pony?

  8. Pingback: Getting Confused About Hunters - Page 2

Comments are closed.