The subtleties of show turnout can make or break a good performance in the ring, particularly when it comes to showing.
Even in dressage and showjumping, you can give yourself the psychological edge by knowing that your horse is correctly turned out for your class, since the rules and preferences can vary from one discipline to the next.
Let’s face it, the arena is stressful enough without fear of adding an embarrassing moment to the mix. Nobody likes to be called out for incorrect tack as they’re trotting up to the judge.
For many riders showjumping is possibly the least intimidating in terms of turnout, since the focus appears to be more on clearing huge fences than correct plaiting. However, as in dressage, good grooming is a sign of respect for yourself, the judge and your fellow competitors, so ensure that your horse and tack are clean and shiny for your class.
Current fashion allows horses to go unplaited, with neatly pulled or trimmed manes. When you do see horses plaited, it is with lots of little plaits. This is so that there is minimal pulling on the horse’s neck as they arch and bascule over the jumps. Tails are generally left well alone, apart from being clean and neatly banged.
Tack comprises of a jumping saddle and whatever bit and bridle your horse is happy in. The most lenient of the disciplines, showjumping sees everything from hackamores to gags, pelhams and even double bridles. This should not be a licence to adopt harsh gadgets, however.
A hard hat with a three-point safety harness must be worn and a jumping crop can be carried if needed. Jods should be white or beige. A show shirt with a white collar and cuffs and a show jacket in your choice of colour (in SA red is reserved for Grand Prix riders at Adult level). Long boots or jodhpur boots with gaiters, not chaps.
When competing on grass, most riders use studs to prevent slipping. Tendon boots fitted in front and brushing boots behind are most common. Overreach boots are a personal preference with some riders opting not to use them, especially with careless horses who may just rub poles.
Text: Mandy Schroder, Photography: Shutterstock
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