how to deal with posters who you believe are insulting you or being snarky
This applies to all threads so I am going to post it here. It is not hunter-related at all, except that I am tired of thinking it as I read every thread! Mods, delete if it is TOO off-topic, but my goodness, it DOES need to be said!
When a person writes something with two possible interpretations, please choose to believe whichever is the least upsetting / insulting / negative. If you have a choice and you choose to believe that person is saying the worst, that is because you chose to do so and NOT necessarily because he or she meant it that way.
If you ARE horribly insulted and you do not immediately (over)react in kind, posters who do not even know you will come to your defense. I promise, if you are patient and polite here, all sorts of nice people will rush to defend you when you are REALLY attacked.
However, if you suspect an insult and immediately fire back at the alleged insulter, you need to be 100% positive you are right. Because if you are not right, everyone will see YOU as the attacker because they didn't read the same negative tone in the alleged insulter's post. So they think YOU are just being a jerk. Which makes you get more defensive. Which causes a trainwreck.
Basically, if someone says, "You are an idiot, and I hate you," then feel free to say, "Hey now, jerk!" But if someone says, "I am tired of people saying all this stuff about dressage," please just assume they are annoyed someone or something else (after all, you are not even mentioned!). So assume they are not directly insulting your horse or training methods but are just grumpy or frustrated or... whatever. After all, "I am tired of people saying all this stuff about dressage" does not equal "Poster X, I think your dressage hony is UGLY, that you are an idiot for owning and training him, and I do not understand why you would even BRING IT UP." But from some poster's reactions, you would certainly think that's what was said! As my 6th grade teacher would say, "Children, children, calm yourselves."
And I feel like saying, "Can't we all just get along???"
This is the end of your GGsuperpony-public-service-announcement. You may return to your regular programming at this time.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, / And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, / Do not go gentle into that good night. -- Dylan Thomas
I have started a blog at www.showringready.blogspot.com to answer some of the questions that newcomers to the hunter/jumper world might have. It's a work in progress and I use Equine Canada rules for the more technical aspects, but I have been told already that it's been quite helpful for some riders.
I'm writing the blog because the Canadian board that I frequent doesn't have a convenient sticky thread like this one to keep everyone from asking the same questions over and over! This is a great idea!
If you're looking for information on training, showing, and judging hunters and hunter seat equitation, there is a new website, www.annamullin.com, that offers lots of information that may be useful to you. I have been a "Big R" judge in hunters, hunter seat equitation, and jumpers for more than 30 years and am making an effort to distribute as much information about the sport to as many people as possible. My motto is, "Do as much good as you can for as long as you live," and this website is one way of fulfilling that commitment. The original website, "Anna Jane White-Mullin Equestrian Info," had almost 47,000 hits, and now I've created a new website to be able to offer information in a more modern way, with lots of photographs and videos, as well as written articles. Feel free to look at any of the information at the site and post it on your own website, if you'd like. I hope the information will be of help to you--Best wishes, Anna Jane
For the Rider
Hunters: Jackets- Navy ALWAYS, it's traditional and looks nice. On the local circuit and at smaller shows you can get away with a grey jacket, but better safe than sorry. Plus, in the hunters, you don't want to distract from the horse. My favorite brands that I own are Grand Prix, Hadfields and RJ Classics. RJ's are really really nice, especially for the price. Breeches- Tan/beige only, you may see some greenish beige though. I only wear Pikeur, Tailored Sportsman, and Ariat, and they're all nice. I've never had a problem with any of them. For those of you still in Jods, my younger sister wears Tailored Sportsman and likes them. A good pair of cheaper schooling breeches are Ovations and Tuffrider, from what I've heard, but I don't own either of them. Boots- (On horses and 5'2" and up/people that have stopped growing on ponies) TALL. BOOTS. I have 3 pairs of tall boots, but I rotate using them. I school and do C/locals in my ariats, then I do the A's in my Parlantis and Vogels. Vogels are my favorite and they are incredibly nice. You will hardly EVER see dress boots at H/J shows, you only really see field boots. I've heard very good things about Tucci and Der Dau.
For kids under 13 or under 5'2", on small/medium ponies, or definitely not done growing: paddock boots in either black or brown and matching garters for showing. Ariat's a good brand for paddocks, and they're not too expensive. I've also heard good things about Dehner and Der Dau. For schooling you can ride in half chaps, but it might take some getting used to when riding in garter straps. Make sure your garters and/or half chaps match your boots! Show shirts- Go with a snap collar no matter what. Stock Pins and monogramming are beginning to go out of style, and with snap collars, you don't have to keep up with your collars! If you haven't ridden in one yet, you won't ever want to ride in a choker again. They are so easy to do up, and you're not wondering where your collar is just before you're about to go in the ring. This kind of collar is quite popular now and is fully accepted in the show ring. I like Essex and RJ Classics. I LOVE Cheval Fashions, if you can afford it. They are unreal and my favorite shirts to wear. I even wear my show shirts out side of the show ring, very cute. They even look good in the schooling ring unbuttoned. (And this is coming from a 14 year old ) Try to stay towards cooler fabrics, because you can always ad a layer under a shirt, but you can't take off unless the jacket is waived! Try to stick with white/white pinstriped, or light/soft complimentary to your jacket colors, such as light blue, light pink, lavender, and light peach. Belts- A nice leather belt is what is most acceptable, try to have one that fills out your belt loops for the most part. It's fashionable to have you or your horse's name on it on a nameplate. Ribbon belts are popular on the local circuits. Hermes belts are very nice if you can spend the money on one. No bling for the hunters, don't distract from your horse. Some places you will see bling belts, but I find that kind of tacky, ultimately it's your choice though. Helmet- The GPA Speed Air, or Charles Owen GR8 or AYR8, or Samshield, or Antares is what is in fashion. Black on Black or Black with Silver/Charcoal accents is really the only acceptable thing for the hunters and equitation. Very rarely a navy. You might sometimes see brown in the Charles Owen, but that's more often seen on the GR8 and in equitation or on pony riders. The JR8 is a nice cheaper alternative to the CO GR8, and IRH is a nice even cheaper alternative to the CO's and GPA's, because they have similar models.
Make sure you have nice looking hunter hair under there. It's not that hard to do and it makes it all look nice. *Remember* neat braids and bows are only acceptable if you're under 13 and under about 5', no matter if you're wearing garters or not. And it's only really acceptable in the children's ponies, small ponies, medium ponies, and short stirrup. If you are one of those lucky people still on ponies, then make sure your bows match/compliment your show shirt or coat lining/accents. Gloves- BLACKBLACKBLACK. Nothing else in the hunters. Whip/Spurs- Whatever your horse needs.
Equitation: Coat- Same brands, however you can get away with a gray/charcoal, dark hunter green, or brown coat in addition to the traditional navy. Equitation can distract away from the horse, the judges are looking at you. Breeches- See hunter. Boots- See hunter. Show Shirts- See hunter. Belts- You can get away with different belts in the EQ! I love to see nice fitting ribbon belts and embroidery. I usually wear a leather, ribbon, or the classic Hermes belts. See Tori's belt here for a cute example of a belt! I believe her friend's mother made it for her. Helmet- You can get away with black, black and charcoal, or brown here! An AYR8 is very popular now, as is a GR8 and Speed Air. You don't see many other GPA models, but they're there. You may see some Antares and Samshield helmets. Gloves- BLACCKKKKK, unless you want a mistake with your hands to stick out. Whip/Spurs- See hunters.
TIME TO HAVE FUN! Jackets- Pick your favorite coat! Animo is an amazing brand, but if you want something that can go in all three rings, I wouldn't use a soft shell. They're just not as well seen in the hunters and eq. However if you don't mind having a jacket solely for jumpers, then soft shell jackets are amazing. I absolutely love the animo Lena jacket in brown, and its definitely one of the jackets I'm getting for this year. Breeches- White is really only acceptable for classics. It's almost like white's reserved out of respect, let's put it that way. HOWEVER. You can get away with any other colors, because it's the JUMPERS and you won't get eliminated for untasteful or crazy clothing! I've seen a lot of slate gray, greyish/blue and chocolate brown in the spectrum of jumpers! Shirts- This is the only time you may get away with a polo and not a jacket and shirt. But watch out to see if your show requires formal dress. I always wear a jacket and shirt at A/AA shows and then sometimes in the locals. If you go with a polo, I love Ralph Lauren, Joules, and Ariat. American Eagle makes well fitting cheaper polos. If you go with a polo choose a color that doesn't clash. Navy is always a safe bet if you don't know what to wear. If you go with a shirt, see the hunters. Boots- Yes, technically you can wear dress boots here, but please don't. It's a fashion faux-pa in most places. Not pretty. Go with Ariat, Tucci, Vogel, Parlanti, or Der Dau, and you won't be disapointed. Belts- GO CRAZAY. I wear bling belts, ribbon belts, leather, embroidered, anything! Time to show off your belts! It's like a belt fashion show, lol. Helmets- I saw the most amazing AYR8 at a Grand Prix this year, it was a AYR8 with a red center. For jumpers go with a helmet like the Speed Air in black on black or silver on black or even brown, or an AYR8 in black on black or charcoal/silver and black, or even gold and black. GR8's are nice too, but I like the ventilation that comes with a AYR8. GR8's are okay, but with the adrenaline rush I get from jumpers, I don't like to sweat in a helmet with virtually NO ventilation. You also see some Antares and Samshields here. You can also find some IRH's. Gloves- Anything but white (seems like that's really reserved for dressage). I am absolutely in love with the crochet gloves like: these or these in white on tan, and I plan on getting a pair. Black is always acceptable, brown is acceptable as well.
Whip/Spurs- See hunters
Lots of places are very lax with what you have to wear at lesson and schooling, but at most A/AA show barns people dress nicer. I wear a polo tucked in with a belt and breeches and tall boots, then my hair in a pony tail or in a hairnet in my AYR8 or Speed Air. On colder days I wear a form fitting hoodie, a patagonia pullover, or a sweater pullover on top of my polo. If it gets really gold I'll wear a sweater pullover, polo, and a northface or jacket on top of that. I try to always look presentable, because you never know who's watching you or when you might be videoing, etc. However if your barn allows you to wear sweat shirts and t-shirts, go for it!
For the horse
Hunters: The saddle- Brown, brown, brown. Not black. Honestly on the A circuit, you just don't see it. Popular brands are Antares, Tad Coffin, Delgrange, Butet, Devoucoux, and CWD. Some popular non-customs are M. Toulouse, Beval, and Pessoa. I personally own an Antares, Tad Coffin, CWD, and Beval and have ridden (and have on order) a Devoucoux and I love all of them. Bridle & Bit- I lovvvveeee Arc de Triomphe bridles. In the hunters, your horse really needs to go in a snaffle dee ring (whether it is twisted/hallow/happy mouth doesn't matter), occasionally you will see an eggbutt, loose ring, or a full cheek, but it is almost always a snaffle. Although you can sometimes see some hunters in a pelham if they double as an eq horse, it's not popular and some judges will penalize you for it. In the hunters, it is only legal to use a plain cavesson noseband. Girth- You most often see plain leather and fleece-lined leather. Beval is a popular place to find those. Martingale- Always a standing martingale and only o/f, if your horse needs one. Though they are popular as a "fashion statement", don't use a martingale unless you need one. Boots- No boots are allowed in the hunters.
See hunters, however, boots are allowed and most often they are eskadrons that are leather and sometimes fleece lined. Also, Pelhams are much more popular in the EQ.
Jumpers: The saddle- see hunters Bridle & Bit- Figure-eights and drop nosebands are more common and acceptable, as are hackamores. They are completely legal here. You often see elevator bits and other stronger bits at this level, but that's not to say that there aren't jumpers that go in a snaffles. Girth- see hunters, a belly guard is also appropriate here, as are synthetic and gel girths
Martingale- A running martingale if one is used, especially at A shows. But you can use standing in classes with a prize money under 5k.
Boots- Almost all horses wear boots to protect their legs.
Helmet- The GPA Speed Air, or Charles Owen GR8 or AYR8, or Samshield, or Antares is what is in fashion. Black on Black or Black with Silver/Charcoal accents is really the only acceptable thing for the hunters and equitation. Very rarely a navy.