In this article, AQHA judges share their opinions on recently updated rules, and how it’s affecting, or in some cases, not, the current show pen trends. I posted this as a discussion in a group I belong to on LinkedIn as well, and was pleased to find that most people agree with the judges comments.
Overall, and maybe simply because I’ve never had the finances to support an extravagant turn out when it came to showing, I’ve always been an advocate of “less is more.” Do you put a custom Harris saddle on a field pony? Of course not! But, you can still dress simply, in clean but unornamented tack, and take a really nice show horse into the winners circle. That tells me all I need to know.
In the years that we showed 4-H, then Open, and eventually the Quarter Horse Circuit, we became students of the “trial by fire” method. We never had trainers to guide us, we just learned as we went, and did our best to look like we belonged. Contrary to popular belief, you can show horses on a budget. Yes, it’s true! You can afford sparkly outfits (compliments of bargain department stores and a hot glue gun, as discussed in my earlier entry on dressing for success), you can even go to big shows like the Quarter Horse Congress, without having to take out a second mortgage on your house. If you’re smart, and stay realistic about needs and wants, you can absolutely run with the big dogs, and we were walking, jogging, and loping proof of that.
One remark that stood out in this article, was regarding the “blinging out” of english blouses. First and most importantly, if I never hear the word “bling” again, it will be too soon. I’m not sure when this became one of the most overused words in our vernacular, but enough is enough already! Anyway, I’m in agreement with the judge who preferred the more traditional look. Hunt Seat, is built on a foundation of tradition, and while some may find a jacket not covered in crystals boring, I rather enjoy the feeling of continuity. Isn’t it nice to know, if you buy some good quality basics, they’ll fit in today, and 30 years from now? Imagine, something that doesn’t go out of style, before you get home from the tack store!
I’ve been in agreement with the judges who have spearheaded the changes in correct movement of pleasure horses. Hooray! Maybe we can save a little money on equine chiropractors now, since they’re no longer encouraged to travel down the rail with their lovely faces at their teeny-tiny geisha feet, and/or sideways. Thank you to whoever finally said out loud, “why on earth don’t we want them to travel like HORSES?”
Finally, and I should preface this with the fact that I’m not a Judge Judy fan in general, but I am a fan of her “KISS” attitude in particular. Keep it simple, Stupid. Give me two horse and rider pairs, equal in talent. Dress one in head to hoof sequins, crystals, and sterling. Dress the second in a simple blouse and chaps, and clean, functional tack. Guess who I’ll pick? The second horse all day long, and twice on Sunday. I’m all for adding your own unique touch to help you stand out, but at what point does it distract the eye from what’s really important, that beautiful horse, under all the dazzle. Let him do the sparkling, and the rest will take care of itself.