Showing and Turnout with Loraine Homer

Showing Tips with Loraine Homer

Loraine Homer talks tips for showing and turnout

With so much to prepare and practice for when showing a horse or pony, we can often lose sight of the important factors that judges will look for when marking a class. In this article, top producer and Judge, Loraine Homer gives her advice on tack and turnout.

The Showing Saddle

Make sure that you and your horse are correctly dressed. A proper show saddle in Havana Brown is a good investment at the higher levels, as it shows off your horse’s conformation better than a dressage or GP saddle. The saddle should be teamed with a good leather girth and discrete numnah, the same colour as the saddle.

A Havana coloured saddle for showing
Havana Saddle. Photography Credits: David Miller

The Showing Bridle

Your bridle should enhance your horses’ looks, so if you were to show a cob you would be looking for a wider noseband to complement his features, and if you were riding a show hack you would want a finer bridle.

This noseband compliments this horse's handsome head for showing
This noseband compliments this horse’s handsome head. Photography Credits: David Miller

Make sure that your horse’s bridle also fits correctly to complete the overall look but also, more importantly, your horses’ comfort! The headpiece and browband should not be too tight and the curb chain should always lie flat and be loose when not in use.

Make sure the browband isn't too tight and causing pressure points
Make sure the browband isn’t too tight and causing pressure points. Photography Credits: David Miller

A double bridle is the correct headwear for horses at my level and I ride all my horses in a double bridle in the ring, including our four-year-olds. As long as you have quiet, giving hands and get the horses used to the double bridle at home, generally, most horses accept it with no issue. However, it is also perfectly acceptable to ride your young horse in a different bit should you find it more suitable.

Your Turnout

Your turnout is important to the overall picture. Try and compliment your horses colouring with your own outfit. In this outfit (below), I have a flash of tangerine in the lining and through the tweed weave, which picks up this horse’s gorgeous colour and ties everything together.

This flash of orange picks up the gorgeous chestnut coat colour of Loraine’s ride. Photography Credits: David Miller

Try not to be gaudy when it comes to your showing attire; you can have fun with colour as long as the judge doesn’t notice you before the horse! An approved standard riding hat, hair net, smart shirt and tie with tie-pin, tweed jacket, Brown gloves or Yellow deerskin gloves are the norm, as are Cream breeches.

Full leather boots with garter straps are worn at my level with spurs, although dummy spurs can be used if you don’t need spurs for your horse. Thin elastic gives a good finish when tying your number on, and a show cane finishes the look. If you are not used to riding with a cane, then again practice at home, before you get in the show ring!

Trotting Up

After the judge has ridden or you have done your show, the conformation section will commence, this is a vital stage of the class.  Make sure you have done your homework.  When it comes to stripping the horse off and trotting up nothing looks worse than the rider having to drag the horse along and someone flapping behind it to get it to trot, so make sure you practice at home.  It is also vitally important to stand your horse correctly with pricked ears.

Your Horse

Show horses are never stood up squarely for confirmation, as the judge likes to see all four legs, so train your horse to stand up with all four legs on display.

The judge will also want to see him with a bright intelligent look on his face, not falling asleep in the sunshine, so pick some grass or have some mints in your pocket to get his attention and his ears pricked forward.

Loraine Homer

Remember no horse is perfect, however, you need to give your horse the best chance possible to show off his good points, so really practice the confirmation section at home, it can make a huge difference between winning and being runner up.

For Turnout – A Natural Coat Shine

A lot of people also take the opportunity to give the horse a quick groom before the judge takes a look. Make sure that you don’t cover your horse in coat shine. Fortunately, I feed Aloeride which gives a fantastic natural bloom and shine to the coat, so my horses don’t need that additional help!!

Aloeride helps prepare the coat for showing and turnout classes
Aloeride, for a fantastic natural bloom to coat shine

When it comes to putting make-up on a horse, personally I don’t like this, as I think it detracts rather than enhances the horses. A light covering of oil over the muzzle and around the eyes adds a bit of sparkle to the horse’s face, without overdoing it. Chalking up white socks and a lick of hoof oil is all I think you need to compliment your horses’ good looks.

An experienced judge will see through all the distractions and sometimes when applied badly, make-up can actually draw attention to a less than pretty head or a blemish that otherwise wouldn’t have been noticed as much.

For more information on Aloeride visit Aloeride or call 01858 465005.

Photography Credits, with thanks: David Miller

Courtesy of Aloeride, the organic natural aloe vera feed supplement.

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