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  1. #1
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    Default Hunting Horse Turnout, U.S. vs U.K.

    Hello,
    Just a trivial observation... I've been enjoying looking at photos of foxhunts on several websites,(Nico Morgan has some lovely collections as do several U.S. photographers). Oh what fun it must be! Anyway, I was noticing that for some reason, the U.K. hunts seemed to me to be better turned out. I couldn't put my finger on it, it wasn't Ratcatcher vs Formal, braided or unbraided, grooming(everyone's horses looked well groomed and in good health). Finally it hit me! Almost no white saddle pads to be seen in the hunting field in the U.K., the majority there being brown or black. I want to ask you lucky foxhunters if you have any thoughts on the subject. Do the dark pads look better to you as well?
    Last edited by skydy; Nov. 18, 2011 at 07:57 PM. Reason: Sentence structure.



  2. #2
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    Jul. 5, 2010
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    Northland, New Zealand
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    Default

    An interesting question - here in New Zealand, shaped saddle cloths are almost unheard of out hunting. Everyone uses a square one, and most have pockets sewn on to them to carry bits and pieces in. Very often these pockets are embroidered with the hunt logo.
    I use white saddle cloths on our horses on weekend hunts as my partner is huntsman and the square white cloths look smart, but mid-week I use black square cloths - much easier to clean! Our hunt collar is maroon in colour so many of our members have maroon saddle cloths with pockets sewn on adorned with our hunt logo.



  3. #3
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    Default Hunt Horse Turnout U.S. vs U.K.

    I noted that there were some square saddle cloths in the U.K. photos but the majority were fitted. I haven't found any photos of New Zealand hunts, but will keep looking!



  4. #4
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    Jun. 23, 2010
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    Default

    That's an interesting observation, I've never noticed that before. I do like the look of dark saddle pads, and personally, I like the look of a saddle with no pad. But I don't believe that would bepractical for hunting, as your horse will almost certainly work up a sweat!



  5. #5
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    I think that " back in the day " no pad at all was the way it was done. I don't know from personal experience, but from some lovely old books left to me by my grandfather. He did not hunt and is not alive for me to ask how he came to have them. I am the only "horsey" person in my family, so they came to me. Beckford,Captain Hayes,William Scarth Dixon, Surtees,Sassoon,and Nimrod amongst others. They are facsinating in the glimpse of history you experience while reading them as well as in the particulars of hunting in that day. Some things haven't changed but veterinary medicine sure has come a long way! I suppose that would be the reason that saddle pads are almost universal now... Or perhaps it is a matter of convenience (easier to dry out the pad than to dry out the saddle..).



  6. #6
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    Dec. 2, 2009
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    Default

    If I remember correctly, the reason for the lack of saddle pads is so that the horse's sweat moulds the saddle to their bodies (similarly to the wet boot method for riding boots). Someone somewhere in the 80s decided that they didn't want to clean their saddle and it all went from there. I'm wondering if someone got tired of stinky wool flocking, as I would imagine that it would soak into it and smell quite...lovely.

    I would not use one on my gelding but for the fact that he requires a correction pad to fill in the holes beside his wither. Now that he's muscling appropriately across his back, I won't need it anymore and may consider removing the pad (my saddle is not wool flocked though, I have CAIR, so it might just make the air sweaty!)



  7. #7
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    Feb. 6, 2007
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    Maryland USA
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    I prefer the look of a shaped pad/numnah in a color that blends with the horse or saddle. It is not something I'd characterize as "better" though.

    It's definitely in the eye of the beholder and it depends where that eye grew up and what it is used to.

    I use a brown one on bay horses in a hunt where white is the norm and nobody has ever suggested I fall into line. It would not offend me to do so, but I'd need to buy a white one as I don't own any.



  8. #8
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    Jul. 1, 1999
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    Default

    Personally, I prefer a dark shaped saddle pad, but they are difficult to find in a forward or close contact style. They seem available in A/P style mostly.
    One thing you can give and still keep is your word.



  9. #9
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    Default

    I did notice square saddle cloths in the U.K. photos, however they were colored to match the horse. Brown on bays, black on dark brown or black horses and white on light grays.. Instead of "better" I suppose I should have said neater..



  10. #10
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    Aug. 13, 2003
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    California USA
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    Way back in history in the UK the Hunt saddles were lined with wool serge. sometimes with linen over that. It was believed that the two would absorb the horse's sweat and prevent a sore back. However they did not stand up under the wear and tear of daily riding.But also there were saddlers in every village to redo them.
    Fast forward to our day. Most saddles now are leather lined. No pad causes the leaher to absorb the sweat with the salt in it and it rots out the leather rather quickly. Some of the Old Name sidesaddles still have the wool serge and linen panels and some have areas where they have been whitened with various things such as white shoe polish or paint.
    The saddle pads will protect the saddle panels fron the horse's sweat and also soak up the sweat as well. It is important to keep them clean.. Under some show rules saddle pads are not allowed so you would have to check each show rule book to see if they are allowed.
    I personally think they are great whichever side of the Big Pond you happen to be on. Shaped ones are nice but the square ones look nice too.
    I think the horses like them too. No, none have told me that. I just guessed they would.
    JMHO
    sadlmakr



  11. #11
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    Jun. 22, 2006
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    Default

    I also prefer the look of a shaped pad on a dark horse. On the Morgan breed circuit, it's what most folks do and it presents such a nice, streamlined, NON DISTRACTING look.

    Here is my Engel sheepskin numnah that I use for EVERYTHING. It is chocolate and only has the sheepskin under the panels of the pad. I have 3 of these pads and for showing, I use the white version.

    But I prefer the chocolate one for my chocolate pony!!!
    Pics of how it looks undersaddle:
    http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/k...a/DSC01589.jpg

    http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/k...a/DSC01617.jpg

    http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/k...7_11_small.jpg

    Close up of it (I have a ThinLine pad, too)
    http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/k...10824-1822.jpg
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
    www.elainehickman.com
    **Morgans Do It All**



  12. #12
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    Dec. 2, 2009
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    I am a giant nerd.

    I did find this... http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20156245

    Looks like we should all be riding in pads made from reindeer fur. Anyone know a retailer?



  13. #13
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    Reindeer fur? Wow, I wish they would have included sheepskin as well, or instead of. Maybe the sheepskin will be similar, hopefully. It's what I use

    Quote Originally Posted by OneGrayPony View Post
    I am a giant nerd.

    I did find this... http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20156245

    Looks like we should all be riding in pads made from reindeer fur. Anyone know a retailer?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
    www.elainehickman.com
    **Morgans Do It All**



  14. #14
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    Oct. 1, 2005
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    Count me among those who hunted for many years with no pad. Honestly, it is much better for the horse's back IF the saddle fits properly. Shifting/bunching pads can make them sore (and pads are better these days, but this can still be an issue especially in steep going like out here in the Rockies.

    Of course, when you do that, you need to make sure the underside of the saddle is kept scrupulously clean. And doesn't have any cracks from age or whatnot.

    When I rode in France, mostly early 70s, even in lessons we were 'as good as' without pads- just had a thin white 'tapis de selle' to keep the underside a little cleaner.

    These days, yes, I hunt w/pads- mostly because I am lazy and it cuts down on the tack cleaning time. I use a fitted white pad, but when not hunting I just have a very thin square wool (western) pad under the saddle just to keep it clean.



  15. #15
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    Oct. 18, 2000
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    Reindeer fur? How on earth did they come up with that choice? I have this vision of scientists picking pieces of paper out of a hat.

    I was taught (no doubt y'all will say that this person was some old dinosaur) that square pads were to help keep tails clean on a person's shad. Then again - there used to be linen or leather on frocks and shads to keep them clean so who knows what the real story is. Come to think of it.... can you even find shads/weaselbelly's and frocks with linen or leather anymore??????

    (incoherent musing on a miserable rainy day....)
    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
    -Rudyard Kipling



  16. #16
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    There is a lovely Horse and Hound book published ca 2009 called Foxhunting (in Britain and Ireland). I think they have both light- and dark-colored pads, usually numnahs (shaped pads); one huntsman even riding with a bright red pad that matches his pink coat!

    What I noticed particularly was that almost none of the horses were braided, manes or tails, and that several of them wore flash straps (always thought of those for dressage-only). And almost every one of them wore a running martingale.

    Which reminds me of the question I have been meaning to post over in the hunter show forum, but will ask here as well:

    Why does every single horse at a hunter jumper show wear a standing martingale in the O/F classes? No running martingales, and the only horses I saw jumping with no martingales were the two invaders from the eventing world!
    Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
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  17. #17
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    May. 15, 2002
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    Here's your Kieffer reindeer fur pad, on sale in case you have $295 spare


    When I hunted in the 80s in the UK no pads or fitted pads were the norm.
    ............................................
    http://www.xanthoria.com/OTTB
    ............................................



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wellspotted View Post
    Why does every single horse at a hunter jumper show wear a standing martingale in the O/F classes? No running martingales, and the only horses I saw jumping with no martingales were the two invaders from the eventing world!
    It is nothing but a fashion trend.

    A confusing one, at that. The judge is meant to be looking for the best trained horse, presenting the nicest picture. And here comes a parade of horses equipped in remedial equipment to prevent them from throwing their heads up - as if they all have this annoying habit.

    And 9 times out of 10 they're adjusted way too short - like a Western tiedown.

    Added to that is the fact that a standing martingale is a dangerous piece of equipment in the actual hunt field - if a horse takes a jump wrong and really needs its neck to balance, or goes down in water, you're both hosed. I've seen a horse fall on a rider as a direct result of a standing.

    We were only allowed a running hunting in the UK, and standings aren't permitted in US and British eventing or racing at all AFAIK. I think the show hunter standing trend is ridiculous. There, I've said it!
    ............................................
    http://www.xanthoria.com/OTTB
    ............................................



  19. #19
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    May. 20, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wellspotted View Post
    Why does every single horse at a hunter jumper show wear a standing martingale in the O/F classes? No running martingales, and the only horses I saw jumping with no martingales were the two invaders from the eventing world!
    Not all of them wear a standing. And many of those wearing them don't need it. As Xanthoria said, it is a fashion trend. However, scroll through COTH's photo gallery of the top hunters and you will see probably 1/4 sans martingales.

    Running martingales are not permitted in the hunters, only the jumpers. Standings are permitted in both, but only up to a certain height in the jumpers (I can't remember what that is at the moment).

    I personally like standings, when properly adjusted, especially on a green horse. I prefer not to have my nose broken, thank you. And I 99% of the time use one of them in the hunt field.
    Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles



  20. #20
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    "I personally like standings, when properly adjusted, especially on a green horse. I prefer not to have my nose broken, thank you. And I 99% of the time use one of them in the hunt field."
    Agree with this....I use a properly adjusted (probably almost too loose) standing on my hunt mare, it keeps me out of her trouble."

    I am so not a fan of statements made about something always being wrong, or never should be used....there are no absolutes, ESPECIALLY when it comes to horses!
    One thing you can give and still keep is your word.



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