Brown or Black Tack for Equitation?

Last post 05-17-2010 10:26 AM by Solaris. 10 replies.
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  • 02-22-2010 11:23 AM

    Brown or Black Tack for Equitation?

     I have heard touse brown tack in equitation I haven't of course I haven't placed in any eqitation. The people that place top are usually in brown tack. I am not sure if that is just more of a tradition then a rule. I ride mostly in 4-H and at smaler schooling shows. If it is a rule for brown tack and if it is I really wouldn't care but I unless the new saddle I get is brown I won't be able to do that then.  

    The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horses ears ~Arabian Proverb

    In riding a horse we borrow freedom. ~Helen Thomson

    You know horses are smarter than people. You never heard of a horse going broke betting on people. ~Will Rogers

    If you don't want to stand behind our soldiers who are in danger zones, please stand in front of one.

  • 02-22-2010 11:28 AM In reply to

    Re: Brown or Black Tack for Equitation?

    There is not a rule.  You can use either, just make sure it is clean and in good condition.  The trend chasers will tell you it has to be brown, but this is not true.

    Solaris -- 16 hh Appendix Quarter Horse = MY DREAM COME TRUE!
    We Are Flying Solo
  • 02-24-2010 1:05 PM In reply to

    Re: Brown or Black Tack for Equitation?

    there is no set rule, just make sure it is clean and that it matches, no black saddle with brown bridle kind of thing.  just make sure it fits your horse and you.

  • 02-27-2010 7:32 AM In reply to

    Re: Brown or Black Tack for Equitation?

    If you are new to equitation, don't just look at what other riders are riding on....  look at their whole picture.    Equitation is how the rider rides.     Are your riding skills not as polished as those who are winning...   that is what is being judged.   Total picture - the rider is sitting well in the saddle, straight, tall, relaxed.   Their aids (use of legs, hands, spurs - if worn, or crop- if used like in an over fences class are correctly applied and done with care for horse, not severe or mistimed)   The rider is dressed in clean, well fitted clothes (and they don't have to be the most expensive, or showiest)  4-H is especially noted for allowing simple garb for both western or english.   You do the BEST with what you have... that means perhaps making sure your showshirt is clean and pressed, jeans ironed and of the right length.     Boots POLISHED, and well buffed before entering the ring.  (Even if you have no groom, you can use a rag to wipe off your dusty boots to give a last minute gloss to their finish)      The horse: the horse is CLEAN, well groomed, in good condition.   The feet are clean and well trimmed.  The mane and tail well groomed with proper attention to best appearance for your breed or type of showing.   English, it's always nice to see even schooling show riders who braid their hunter horses.   It shows respect for yourself and the judge who's made the effort to come to judge you.    Your tack is CLEAN, oiled and well fitted to your horse.  Saddle fits YOU and the horse.   Little children in adults saddles is not a correct picture - you have to have a well fitted saddle to be best seated to be able to ride correctly.

     Bridle fits horse properly, bit sits correctly in the mouth, neither too low or too tight.   Headstall is set so that it is level, (nothing worse than watching a rider go round an entire class with a browband nearly blinding his horse, and the other side up to his ear...  DETAILS, that make the total picture perfect!)   Reins - no twisted reins, rein contact even and reins held steady and correctly.

    The ride:  the horse is obedient to the aids of the rider.   The rider presents the horse in a good working frame with proper cadence of stride, relaxed and correct in all gaits.   If english the working trot is ridden posting on correct diagonals, and the sitting trot is not a slowed down trot, you merely sit the working gait as required.   The canter is a forward moving gait with the horse in self carriage not on the forehand.   (Too often beginning equitation riders are not aware of how their horse is really moving, so working with a trainer or coach who can help you learn the best presentation of your horse is the way to achieve success.)    Watch videos of the equitation type you want to succeed at.   There are tons of great equitation videos out there on the internet...  English, watch the Maclay Medals-  Western there are AQHA, Arabian, and Paint videos you can watch.  

    Saddle color is preference of the rider - From 30 - 50 Ft away where the judge is in the arena, the color of saddle is of little consequence.   What affects their scoring of your ride is your position in that saddle, and your use of seat legs and hands.   Your attitude of riding - are you rigid, sloppy, leaning, crooked...   Hands and arm movement, or lack of giving to the horse, bouncing hands, cocked wrists, all are easily seen by judges.  

    Tests:  if your equitation class has a test, you execute the test to the best of your ability using the arena to best advantage.   You ride accurate to markers or focus on center of jumps, etc...   Planning the entire course of the test, and breaking down each segment so you ride each piece correctly...   Practice, Practice, Practice

    Schooling shows are a great tool to learn how to do things better, if the judge provides feedback to the riders.   If you video your lessons and your show rides, you can also evaluate and have your coach evaluate with you what is happening and where you are making errors.     Ask show manager if you may ask the judge about your ride - after they are done judging.   You should always have the ring steward or manager arrange for this.   Many judges will talk to school riders in the final line - up after the placement of the class.   

    A last thought - if things don't go perfectly in an equitation class, such as your horse doesnt get the correct lead right off...  it is HOW you the rider attempt to correct the mistake that a judge will watch.   Yes, you errored in the initial asking, but, do you notice right away or go 3/4 round the ring until somebody on the rail says "you're on the wrong lead"   Learning to deal with the mistakes quickly, quietly and subtlely is the sign of a rider who is attempting to improve their abilities.    Thinking in the saddle,   You are the driver, the one in control, not just a passenger and that is what is being judged.    Learning to ask the horse to do things correctly and look good doing it.     As a judge I've many times placed a horse and rider of less than stellar appearance over the 'brand new' shiny outfit, when that first team are the more competent and capable correct team.    Workmanlike appearance when clean and well cared for is perfectly acceptable, and preferable to the rider who has all the fancy gear but doesnt know their seat from a bump on a log.   Happy riding, Keep it fun, Keep it safe and Keep learning!

  • 04-11-2010 11:28 AM In reply to

    Re: Brown or Black Tack for Equitation?

    Yeah, the color of the saddle shouldn't matter. Usually Eq. riders and hunters use brown, but that may be a cultural or trendy thing. Just make sure everything is clean, neat, polished, matching, and pretty before you go into the ring.

  • 04-11-2010 11:35 AM In reply to

    Re: Brown or Black Tack for Equitation?

    Black tack is usually used in dressage, while hunters and jumpers wear brown tack. I've honestly never seen a hunter in black tack. However, if you are just going to small schooling shows, it absolutely should not matter.

  • 04-11-2010 1:06 PM In reply to

    Re: Brown or Black Tack for Equitation?

    Color shouldn't matter, as long as the bridle and saddle match. Dressage saddles are often black now, but they used to be brown years ago. Now brown is coming back. I had a black jumping saddle only 5 years ago: it was for a gray horse and I sold it to another gray horse owner. Colors are just fashions, and fashions change. You're being judged on your skills, not your fashion sense.

    "The horse you get off is not the horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better."


  • 05-11-2010 1:00 PM In reply to

    Re: Brown or Black Tack for Equitation?

    At the lower level of showing I would say it doesn't matter. But for higher levels I would go for brown. Black is not a naturally tanned colour and is actually created from dyes. A brown saddle that the colour has been tanned in will hold the colour longer as opposed to dye. In order for black tack to hold its colour it must be of the highest colour or will turn a greenish grey (think old hunt cap or well worn half chaps.) Where as brown will simply darken as it discouours.

    For over fences brown presents a more classic look and looks best on a large variety of horses. That classic look is loved just like a navy hunt coat will never go out of style; the fawn browns will.

  • 05-12-2010 11:45 AM In reply to

    Re: Brown or Black Tack for Equitation?

    Brown tack is usually the norm in the hunter ring however, I had a friend who bought a custom made Devoucoux close contact in black and rode in the A circuit.  She did great.  I think more than the color it is the style and quality that will get you.  For example, if you are riding in a synthetic black all-purpose style saddle it not only won't put you in the correct body position for hunters, but also isn't giving you the correct look.  If you want to place in hunters unfortunately you have to get the gear that goes with it.  Many people don't like this about hunters and therefore choose to ride other disciplines, however it is really quite the same everywhere.  You won't go to an NRHA competition and see people showing in Barrel saddles, you won't go to NCHA competitions and see people riding in Team Ropers, etc.  Even in Dressage you rarely see riders above 1st level riding in non-dressage saddles.  If I weren't sure what english discipline I was going to ride I personally would choose a close-contact model (I prefer one with knee rolls/thigh blocks but that is preference).  It will take you through hunter under saddle, over fences, equitation, low level dressage (through 1st), beginning x-country, and trail riding, etc.  They do not inhibit your body position as many all purpose saddles do so you will have more freedom to experiment with different styles of riding.
  • 05-17-2010 3:33 AM In reply to

    Re: Brown or Black Tack for Equitation?

     This may be a silly question, but why are 'the best' dressage saddles more often black than 'the best' hunter saddles? Even sillier, but--is there are greater tolerance for black saddles across all disciplines amongst certain colors of horses? I observed a lower-rated show, locally, and while the hunters were mostly in brown tack (at least the ones who placed, the one exception were the whites and grays, who were in black tack (as grays often look IMHO very good in black).

  • 05-17-2010 10:26 AM In reply to

    Re: Brown or Black Tack for Equitation?

    It's simply a matter of trends.  Black is normally the colour of choice for dressage (although some brown is creeping in, yay!) while people usually use brown for hunters.  Both are 100% acceptable in each discipline as long as your tack is clean and legal.  It doesn't matter what colour your horse is, it comes down to personal preference.

    Solaris -- 16 hh Appendix Quarter Horse = MY DREAM COME TRUE!
    We Are Flying Solo

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