In the title of yesterday's guest post, guest blogger, Lauren Mauldin asked, Does Matching Tack Mimic the Real Showing World? Her answer, at least in regards to USEF hunters and jumpers, was not so much.
She's right about that. The modern, American, big A hunter/jumper world has a really specific aesthetic that does not include matching the rider's clothes to her bell boots, saddle pads, breastplate elastic, stirrups and ear bonnet. That pretty much never happens in real life.
It does happen at model horse shows, however, and I see nothing wrong with that.
This seems obvious, but it still needs to be said: Model horse shows aren't the same as real horse shows.
As a performance shower and judge, I think it's important that we differentiate between rules and trends. Rules are absolutes. Both real horses and model horses are required to follow them or face elimination. Trends are arbitrary, temporary and, to my mind, optional. Pretty much everything Lauren talked about yesterday falls into the trend category.
Don't get me wrong. I am all about slavish attention to detail. I love knowing what's in currently in fashion, and I applaud anyone who wants to meticulously recreate a specific real world look. Lauren's article provides a perfect blueprint for that in regards to today's big-time hunters and jumpers.
That said, I don't think this is a necessary goal, especially for the average model horse shower. Remember, it's a performance class, not a tack and turnout class. The emphasis should be on what the horse is doing, not what it's wearing. Perfect, trendy details are meaningless if the rest of the entry is sub par.
Also, in the same way that model horse shows are different from real horse shows, model horse trends are different than real horse trends. Some of this is due to differences in materials and construction, but more importantly, some things just look better in one scale than they do in another. The solid pink square pad and matching ear bonnet Lauren referenced is a perfect example. In full scale, that's way too much pink for anyone but Tiffany Purdy. In 1:9 scale, where everything is so much smaller, it's a lot more subtle. Depending on how you feel about pink, it might be just about perfect!