Show Ring Turn Out – What The Judge Sees
Remember, show ring turn out matters. When riding a hunter you are judged from the moment you enter the ring to the time you leave. As a horse show judge, although the performance is key, the show ring turn out gets my attention before the round even starts. Nothing says, “I belong here” more than having impecible turnout.
Show ring turn out is not limited to perfect braids. It is in every layer of your performance. Although the complete grooming session at the ingate is annoying, having excellent show ring turn out is important. It shows you care. It shows you want to be there. It shows you want to win and you deserve to win because you put the time in to win it.
The judge notices a shiney coat. Not only from early morning batheing from over stressed horse show moms, but also shining blooming coats from everyday love and care. Nothing gets a horse’s coat glistening and shiney like everyday grooming. Thats daily grooming and it shows in the horse’s coat.
The judge notices sweat marks. If your horse requires a significant amount of exercise before heading into the ring AND it is 105 degrees in the shade. Please have a bucket of tepid water with some body wash in it, near by to sponge your horse off before it goes into the ring.
Your horse will thank you and sponging before you go into the ring will give your horse a clean freash appearance. Having sweat marks on your horse tells a story. The story, to me is, your horse had to be worked and worked and worked and…. so on!
The judge notices tack. When your tack is clean and well fitted it maximizes your horse appearance. Flopping nosebands, dangling straps and stirrup leathers detract from the picture you want to present. Before heading into the ring tuck your straps into their keepers. If you stirrup leathers are too long, cut them off or get some that are the correct length.
Your tack doesn’t have to be new. It just has to fit and be in good repair. New tack which has not been oiled looks out of place and could even be uncomfortable to your horse. Use common sense and take care of your equipment by keeping in good repair and clean.
Show Ring Turn Out – The extras
- Oil on the hooves – it is, to me, like the fancy ribbon on a birthday present. We all love getting a present and if it has a beautiful ribbon on it we are even more excited about the contents of the package.
- Shine on the face – some people put a dab of oil on the horse’s muzzle and eye area to make this area pop. Be careful as if it is dusty this may back fire and your horse may have a dust filled muzzle before the end of the round.
photo credit: David Blaine
- Wiping the boots – a quick polish of the boots before entering is a lovely touch. This is of particular importance when you see riders come into the ring with clods of manure and hay hanging from their boots. A quick wipe avoids dangling extra terrestrials.
- Wiping the horse – a quick horse wipe, with some fly spray perhaps, can put a finishing touch on a lovely performance. A quick wipe with fly spray can reduce the tail swishing and head shaking tha could otherwise ruin a great performance.
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