Four widths of black lace, a pile of tongue buckles and various other metal findings--it almost looks like I'm getting ready to build a harness.Looks can be deceiving, however. All that hardware is going on one bridle--an Arabian show hack bridle!
Not familiar with Show Hack? It's a rail class that tests a horse's training and brilliance. Here's the class description as it appears in the Arabian section of USEF rulebook: A Show Hack horse is not necessarily a Dressage horse, nor an English Pleasure horse... Show Hacks must be balanced and show vitality, animation, presence, clean fine limbs and supreme quality. Elevation and high knee action are not to be emphasized. Soundness is required. The collected and extended gaits must be called for; i.e., collected walk, extended walk, normal walk; collected trot, extended trot, normal trot; collected canter, extended canter, normal canter and hand gallop.
Tack requirements for this class include a huntseat or dressage type bridle and "any type" of English saddle. Figure eight nosebands, flash nosebands, martingales of all sorts and breastplates are prohibited. Rider attire is dressage flavored, particularly in evening and championship classes where most riders opt for a very formal "top hat and tails" look.
So while it's technically ok to dress your Show Hack like a hunter, the preferred look is much more dressage-y.
Except for those bridles! Dressage bridles can be pretty bling-y, but Show Hack bridles take sparkle to a whole new level. A typical Show Hack bridle will have very narrow straps, lots of buckles, metal keepers, fancy nose and browbands and a long saddleseat type curb bit. It's a very specific look, and one I've been eager to replicate in miniature. Won't this look great on Tiffany's custom Indian Fire resin?
Many thanks to Heather Moreton for providing the pictures for today's post. They were taken during the Half Arabian Show Hack class 2006 US Arabian Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky. Thanks again, Heather!