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The little details that matter...

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  • The little details that matter...

    I've got a show coming up the end of October and, since I have so much time to prepare, Im trying to get everything just right (turnout wise). What are some suptle, but important details (regarding the turnout of both horse and rider) that make a difference in the overall picture. Pet peeves about what not to do? For example, what are some things that may distinguish between good turnout and spectacular turnout. Does this make sense? Its not going to be a huge show, but I still want to look my best!
    "To do something that you feel in your heart that's great, you need to make a lot of mistakes. Anything that is successful is a series of mistakes." -B.J. Armstrong

  • #2
    Horse: Start tidying up and pulling his mane now so its ready for braiding, even if you don't braid, it should be pulled and tidy, and lying on the correct side. Wash and pick out his tail, and bang it to somewhere between his pasern and hock if the bottom looks scraggly. Groom him meticulously every day leading up the show, it will put that little extra 'polish' on his coat that makes him look like a star! And make sure he's at the beginning of his farrier cycle, not due the week after!

    For you... Learn to do hunter hair if its long, but you'll need a hair net even if its short to take care of the scragglies. Show clothes... easy... tan or khaki breeches, conservative color coat and a light colored shirt that matches your jacket. Tuck your shirt in and wear a belt! Tall boots shined up, clean helmet, and black glovesl

    Basically, you want to be very clean, neat, and tidy. Your coat and shirt color choices should flatter both you and your horse's coloring

    Make sure your tack is spotlessly cleaned, bit polished, everything should be an understated elegance. Shaped saddle pad with fleece edging in white should show about 1" around the edge of your saddle.

    But the most important part of turning yourself out successfully, is to be determined to have fun, be friendly, and show everyone how much you love your horse!
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm


    • #3
      --Polished stirrup irons, spurs, & bit.
      --Polished boots with clean soles (it's not as hard as it sounds).
      --Hoof oil/polish on horse's feet just before he goes in the arena.
      --Gloves! I can't stand someone going in the ring without gloves, be it hunters, eq, or even jumpers.


      • #4
        Tiny earrings, bridle straps all in their keeps, all strap goods (including reins, stirrup leathers and bridle straps) of the appropriate length so there are no flapping ends. If possible, choose a bit cheek and bridle style that flatters the head. Decide whether a standing dresses your horse up or if the neck strap chops up the front end. Hoof oil and a swipe with the towel at the in gate. All leather meticulously clean. Boots polished, jacket and breeches clean. A helmet style that flatters the rider (some are less bobble-heady on certain people than others). Braided to perfection.


        • #5

          Clean and tidy. Go in the ring and SPARKLE (not glitter sparkle - lol!).


          • #6
            If you've been walking around in your tall boots, have somebody hit them with a rag before you go in the ring so that it looks like you just floated into your saddle.
            And nothing bad happened!


            • #7
              I agree with what everybody else has said. One thing that really bothers me personally for some reason is when I see brand new leather on a horse at a show. I don't know why but nothing bothers me more than stiff, light colored leather. If you are using new tack, just make sure it is well oiled but that's just my opinion.


              • #8
                Spend a bunch of quality time with a curry comb & rub rag... the best thing you can do (besides feeding correctly) to create an outstanding shiny coat. You want those hairs lying perfectly flat to create a mirror... that means currying with some elbow grease, bringing up the oils in the coat, and really using that brush to get rid of dust & dander and get the hair clean.

                Be very meticulous about trimming stray hairs, making sure any white socks/markings are scrupulously clean and shining, and have the horse fit and in good weight.

                Tack should be soft, supple and in perfect repair. It goes without saying that it should fit properly - bonus points for having all the buckles line up properly on your bridle (even with the eyes) and having the keepers snug and secure. All metal should be clean and polished, and your saddle pad properly fitted and absolutely clean. It should frame your saddle with about an inch of pad showing under the flaps.

                If necessary, pull and tidy the horse's mane and if necessary, braid it over to get it laying down flat. Using a wet brush to brush it over every time you take the horse out will also help if the mane tends to be unruly!

                Your own clothes should be clean, conservative and properly fitted. Shine your boots really well (panty hose is great for this!) and make sure you have everything clean and organized. If you have long or very thick hair, you may want to use two hairnets to put your hair up so there are no wispies. Wear gloves, and keep makeup and jewelry conservative. Wear a belt, and make sure your other gear (stick, spurs if used) are also clean, conservative and in good repair.

                Have fun!
                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                • #9
                  Ditto to everything else, but don't forget some baby oil on your horse's muzzle, above the eyes, and inside the ear (Practice this, not very much is needed!). And make sure the face is really clean. These two things really set a horse apart, especially when combined with everything else mentioned already.
                  It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mac123 View Post
                    Ditto to everything else, but don't forget some baby oil on your horse's muzzle, above the eyes, and inside the ear (Practice this, not very much is needed!). And make sure the face is really clean. These two things really set a horse apart, especially when combined with everything else mentioned already.
                    I make the above easier by saturating a dishrag with oil and keeping it in a margarine tub or baggie - no oil bottle to spill on me. I use suntan oil, looks the same as baby oil but has at least a little sun block in it for the horse.

                    Pick out the horse's feet at the ingate, especially for the under saddle class. Why spend extra money for light aluminum shoes and then leave a pound of mud in the hoof???
                    Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


                    • #11

                      I agree with everyone here, but nothing can ruin all that effort quicker than a puss face. I see it all the time; someone who spent oodles on all the right tack, clothes, horse etc. then walks into the ring looking like she has a 2x4 shoved up her butt. Even the horse looks pissed off.

                      Also, above all else - be prepared. I've also seen tons of people come in all spiffed up and not be able to stay on at a walk. Pretty is as pretty does so do your homework, come dressed/groomed to win and smile!!
                      "A lie doesn't become truth, wrong doesn't become right, and evil doesn't become good, just because it's accepted by a majority." Rick Warren


                      • #12
                        Something I have been seeing too often lately-

                        If you wear those low rider breeches? Make SURE your jacket is long enough not to show the waistband and some of the shirt in back every time you lean forward and PULLLEEEEZE make sure the darn shirt stays tucked in. So many today have that shirt pooching out in the vent at the back of the jacket-or coming out entirely and hanging below the jacket hem in the back.

                        It's...ahhh...not real attractive.

                        Neither are those muffin tops above the low waist if you are not rail thin. Think about it.
                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                        • #13
                          Make sure your spur strap is tucked down or cut off.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Trevelyan96 View Post
                            Wash and pick out his tail, and bang it to somewhere between his pasern and hock if the bottom looks scraggly.
                            All other good information, but please DO NOT bang the horse's tail.

                            If the bottom is scraggly, shape it. It's not hard, takes less than 5 minutes.
                            Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                            Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


                            • #15
                              I agree with everyone here, but nothing can ruin all that effort quicker than a puss face. I see it all the time; someone who spent oodles on all the right tack, clothes, horse etc. then walks into the ring looking like she has a 2x4 shoved up her butt. Even the horse looks pissed off.
                              LOL - my mother to this day reminds me "TARA LIPINSKI!" every time I go in the ring, even when riding jumpers. She just remembers when I was a kid doing pleasure classes how it should look like you were having fun. You're supposed to be enjoying riding your horse!
                              They're small hearts.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by RugBug View Post
                                All other good information, but please DO NOT bang the horse's tail.

                                If the bottom is scraggly, shape it. It's not hard, takes less than 5 minutes.
                                Yes, banged tails are for jumpers only. A natural tail is more appropriate for hunters although you do see some banged tails there.


                                • #17
                                  Make sure your stirrup leather excess isn't excessive. If it is, trim it off or get shorter leathers.
                                  A proud friend of bar.ka.


                                  • #18
                                    If you don't do a full body clip at least trim up everywhere else. I body shave for our big champ show at the end of the year but the rest of the time only clip the muzzle, eye hairs (not the lashes!), ears, and will tidy up the throat latch area on my percheron/tb mare. She also gets little feathers at the end of her fetlocks so i trim those more to make her looks 'sporty'. I'll also shave all the white on her socks (in this case the 2 hinds) and trim the hairs that hang over the tops of her hooves as well to give her a neat even appearance. And a good nose cleaning, and well and cleaning her star. I know some people will even shave the white of a blaze if it's big enough similar to how they do the socks. But you have to be very careful not to screw up and take off any of the other color!

                                    Also, I like to wear a little make-up if I have time in the mornings, but don't over do it! I normally just use foundation and mascara, and some sunscreen! But nothing's grosser than seeing a girl entering the ring in full blown club make up (thick eyeliner and dark heavy shadow). ewwwwww.


                                    • #19
                                      my trainer is astounded at the condition of my tallboots. They are at least 5 years old, and i often get compliments on how shiny and clean they are, and my trainer often asks if they're new.

                                      so, for the rider:

                                      clean every inch of your tall boots that you show in with castile soap. even the bottom. Yes, really. i clean the bottoms. (it helps with traction too!)

                                      - clean your spurs super well!! especially if youve got a white or grey! (my pony is snowy white and if i dont make my spurs SPOTLESS, he will get brownish spots where my spurs are if they had any footing or mud caked on!

                                      - master the art of hunter hair

                                      - perfectly-fitting clothes

                                      - make sure your boot socks arent sticking out! nothing like going around in your shadbelly for a hunter classic, coming out of the ring, and then looking down to realize your neon purple sock is very visible yeah, the judge probably didnt like that one too much :P

                                      for the horse:
                                      - CLEAN TAILS!!! and also detangled! i HATE seeing dirty tails (i know it's hard with greys. my pony's tail is half white half flaxen, so i know it's tough to keep clean, but yes it can be done to a valid extent) and even more so when theyre knotty or matted

                                      - clean socks! hate seeing dirty socks--i understand it's kind of hard when the footing is dusty, but at least make the effort!

                                      - clean clean clean everything

                                      - neat braids

                                      - neat mane when it's not braided

                                      - not super fuzzy

                                      - overall healthy horse

                                      Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3


                                      • #20
                                        As Lucassb said, you can get a great shine on your boots by shining them with pantyhose after you put on the shoe polish.
                                        ~ Citizens for a Kinder, Gentler COTH...our mantra: Be nice. ~