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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

TDT Guest Blog

Today we have a guest blog! This is an email I recieved from Kelsey, a reader who saw something odd about the horse on the cover of her Dover saddlery catalog. Here is what she has to say...

I got the new 'Elite Hunter/Jumper Edition' of the Dover Catalog today. There is a nice looking hunter on the front cover, but when you look closer, his gear is a bit much, even for a cross country type hunt on a large horse.The horse is in a pelham and breastplate, which is very common hunt gear. However, someone has added not only a running martingale but also a puller type noseband (a new version of the Kineton, I can't remember what they're called). A pelham and a Kineton, PLUS a mart? WTF? Just the idea of a curb type bit and anything like a Kineton is nuts.I ride my large draft X mare XC in a basic dee ring and standard noseband, and she is QUITE fresh in open country. This bay looks a lot like her other than color.I have attached a couple scans of the cover. I know they want to sell tack, but that much on one horse? Yikes!(the Dressage cover was just as bad (Steffen Peters & Ravel), but people seem to think its ok for a curb bit to be at nearly a right angle to the horse's lip line, ugh)

Here is a scan of the whole cover...

Here is a closeup of the horse's head...


  1. That looks like a flash noseband to me. Doesn't do anything for pulling really, just ties the mouth shut. :<

    I'm having more issues with the pelham converter (the u shaped things that turn it into a single rein bit) and the running martingale! It causes the running martingale to work on the curb. If this guy is an able enough rider to hunt, then he should be able to use two reins. If he needs converters like a child on a pony, he shouldn't have a martingale.

    Also, where are this guy's helmet and gloves?

    Let's hope George Morris never sees this. He'll have a heart attack.

  2. Looks like a plain old flash to me too..... are you thinking of a woscestershire noseband? Looks a little like a flash but holds the bit up off the tounger. TBH I don't like flashes, they're not effective, they were only made so someone could strap a horses mouth shut and use a standing martigale. 9/10 when you see them they are fitted badly/and or only there because the bridle came with it or the owner thinks it "should" wear one.

    TBH, I know lots of masters who turn out like that here in the UK. The real thrusters ride very forward on the buckle end to let their horses lookafter themselves as they, more often than not, know more about the ground than we do!

    Ok, if you're using roundings you shouldn't use a running martingale but the roundings already really blunt the curb. Far from ideal but i'd hardly call it tourture!

    Oh and yes, he should be wearing a hat with a chin strap (a well liked show rider died not long ago when her horse went over backwards and her hat came off)Gloves, well thats personal, if he isn't fond of the skin on his fingers then let him get on with it! lol

  3. This is the The Worcester Noseband I meant. Sorry my memory and spelling are appaling! lol

  4. I thought pelham convertors were for kids only. Adults using a pelham should be able to manage both reins.
    I do not see anything untoward about the noseband but maybe my old lady eyes are not able to discern the problem form the scanned pic.
    Honestly I don't see torture tack here.

  5. Um, HUH??

    That's a sewn on flash, darlin. Not a "puller noseband". Get it right before you start typing.

    I don't like to use pelham converters myself, but they aren't "just for kids". Don't know where that notion comes from. What if it was a kimberwick instead? Would you be on him for that too?? wow

    NOT a single thing wrong with the reins of a curb and snaffle going thru a running martingale either. [shakes head] You guys DO understand that the running pulls DOWN and ONLY when the horse raises the head, right?? When engaged, a running martingale does NOT A SINGLE THING to increase the leverage of a pelham or other bit with a curb or elevator action. Just make sure one pair has rein stops and you are good to go.

    WWWAAAAHHHHH an ADULT made the personal choice to wear a hunt cap and not an ASTM approved hat. Last I checked, that was still 100% legal. Get OVER IT PEOPLE. If this person was on YOUR property or on YOUR horse, you get a say. Otherwise, STFU, it's his choice not yours. I don't remember anyone ragging on the few WESTERN photos with riders that clearly had no helmets on!

    Flame on, don't care.

  6. Yeah, this might not be everyone's ideal setup. But honestly, it isn't too bad. The horse has a flash noseband on- Like many horses do. It keeps the mouth shut to prevent a horse from opening its mouth the evade the bit.
    The bit converters on the Pelham definately are not the end of the world- Now it's just like a Kimberwick. And although bit converters are looked down upon (Admit it), think about this guy's situation. He's wearing a pique (Or red) coat. That means he's a member of the staff- Judging by the hound in the foreground, I'm guessing he's a Whip or maybe even a Huntmaster. Both of these positions require the rider to be able to follow and control the hounds- They are probably also holding a whip with an extremely long lash, a horn, a pistol, or all of the above. Are you going to fault the guy for not wanting to handle double reins as well?
    I have to agree with Pat on the Running. As far as martingales go, the running is extremely giving- It only has any effect on the horse if it throws its head up. Even if there are not rein stops on there, the bit converter will act as one.
    As for the helmet thing- Yes, he should be wearing a proper helmet, rather than the traditional hunt cap. But if there is one thing Foxhunting is obsessive about, it's tradition- It is rather uncommon for a high-ranking hunt member to not be wearing a hunt cap. He should be wearing a helmet, but he is an adult- And Pat has a great point. How many pictures are out there of Pre-teen Barrel racers without helmets? Of adults? And people don't usually rag on them.

    As for her comment about how she can take her draft cross XC in a snaffle- Well, Great. But as every horse person knows, just because two horses look alike doesn't mean they are. So without knowing the horse, how can you judge? It's not like the guy is using a bit with a 5 inch shank- It's a pelham, with a rubber mouthpiece.

  7. This is SO obviously a non-riding model. There's some bad photoshop going on, too. Check out the outline around his upper body, and especially around the hand resting on his leg. The hound is so obvious.

    Are they in a lettuce field? Hunting the fierce and elusive arugula?

    If he gets to wear the scarlet/pink/red coat, shouldn't he have colors on the collar?

    What in the world is going on with his leg?

    I want breeches like that, though... in buff or black.

    Bit converter AND martingale crap = FAIL.

  8. FEAR the Arugula!! FEAR it!!

    Dunno cattypex. I lean towards this being not photoshopped. Perhaps he just needs a saddle with a long and forward flap and is just in denial? (or someone else's saddle?) I dont see what is "obvious" about the hound. It's an object in the foreground, very close to the camera. Of course it's going to be out of focus, it's not the center of focus.

    psychopony, I'd still use a rein stop. It serves two purposes, one to keep it from being too close to the mouth, second being to keep it from getting stuck on the stud/keeper on the reins. I used a new pair of reins once, completely forgetting about putting on the stops. When the rings got stuck on the reins I jumped off, slapped myself, and went back in the barn for a different pair of reins. Lesson learned with out an accident. If they trip and the martingale is stuck on the stud/keeper, you are SO screwed.

  9. I see rein stops. I see a regular flash noseband. I see rubber mouth piece. I have seen top pro "jumpers" ride with this exact set-up...on the cover of the same catalog!

  10. The tack isn't at all a problem as stated in the OP. Just because I can ride my TB in jumpers in a snaffle doesn't mean my daughter's TB is going to do it and they both look alike so really comparing apples to arugula on that note. He's fairly easy on the eyes overall and so is the rider...... ;)

  11. Right or wrong, that is definitely a lot of tack.

  12. Maybe not HORRIBLE Photoshop, but def. enhancement going on around his tie, and what's with the stealth Vulcan salute? His hand looks WEIRD. And not quite THERE.

    I know the hound is foreground fodder, but it's just so perfectly placed, and there are NO other hounds....

    Where in this country do people hunt thru leafy greens?

    Is this California, where they hunt free-range tofurkeys?

  13. SprinklerBandit, do you ride much?

    Seriously, that's NOT much tack. you wanna see alot of tack on a horse, go to a polo match. And even THEN it's only an inscrutible mess if you don't understand the game and equipment.

    I see: bridle, reins, martingale and a breastplate. Sounds like a "normal" scene to me.

  14. I'm not too worried about the tack, though I wonder why people bother with a pelham if they use a bit converter.

    Except is that even a forward-seat saddle? It looks... weird.... and the rider's leg is all up funny...... with his knees in the horse's shoulder, as if some invisible boyfriend is adjusting the girth while the rider secretly lusts after a fellow in a distant Land Rover....

  15. OHMIGOD!!! Invisible boyfriend!!! buwhahaha!

    It is probably a forward seat saddle, but this dude looks like he's tall/long and needs a long flap and a forward flap. If the saddle is old, well, we didn't have such choices 20 years ago. It was pretty much just choose average or wide tree and *maybe* a color.

    I watched a kid literally grow out of her "pony" saddle in a matter of months. When we finally convinced her she needed a 'big girl' saddle, her knees were a good 2 inches in front of the flaps. Denial aint just a river, she just didn't want to hear that while she's still *light* enough to ride ponies, she's not really pony sized any more.

    I agree about *why bother* with a converter since there are bits that give a similar effect as a pelham with a converter. It doesn't bother me to see them, I just don't see the point. I'd just use a 3-ring or a gag and be done with it.

    YES, I am one of those eeevvviiil people that rides her horses with a GAG. Only one rein too. eeevul. nevermind that it's rubber and I do have a clue.

  16. forgot to add:

    I think he has his stirrups a trace short, adding to the odd look. What ever floats your boat, I guess, but if he rode with me, I'd let his stirrups down a hole or two.

  17. The scenery and whole get-up appears UK to me, and you often see huntsmen over here with their legs positioned forward in a more bracing position, many hunt riders here will not adopt a fully forward seat due to the terrain and horses often pecking on rough landing, so they don't get thrown over the shoulder. Its not pretty but very effective - most of these chaps have been hunting for donkeys years and know what works.

  18. Anyone ever think that maybe this is just a model that doesn't have a clue about horses or tack, and maybe Dover just threw together a horse and tack and called it a "photo shoot". Geez.

  19. Well... I'd think that Dover would know their customer base better than that!

    BECF that makes sense.

    He just looks too ..... well-exfoliated ..... to be a serious horseman, but what do I know here in the Midwest!?!

    I still like those non-skintight breeches. I bet they cost over $200.

  20. I win I win!!!! I win the treasure hunt!!!

    Photographer is out of Moscow, Russia.

    I found the original photo: copyright Jeremy Nicholl!

    "Frodesely, England, 18/09/2004..The South Shropshire Foxhounds, led by Hunt Master Otis Ferry, on their first hunt after Parliament voted to ban hunting with dogs. Otis Ferry, the youngest Hunt Master in England, is the son of rock star Bryan Ferry, and was the leader of the group of hunt supporters who got onto the House of Commons floor during the debate to ban hunting. "

    Note the color of the tie and breeches!!!

    Link to Photo

  21. Wow! They changed the color of his breeches and tie! No wonder it looks so funny!

    I hope they had the copyright holder's permission.

    I ride in nothing but a loose ring snaffle, headstall, reins, and a general purpose English saddle, so I have to admit I don't understand the allure of lots of tack. Regardless of whether the tack used in this photo is right or wrong, though, Pat, I think you're being a bit more abrasive than is necessary here.

  22. woo! I was so wrong on the hound....

    But I did think that the hand and tie looked weird.

    Also weird that Dover didn't simply find some of its loyal customers and stage a hunt for a shoot.

    Times are tough all over I guess....

    Only a rock star would name a kid Otis post 1952 I guess...

  23. Wasn't Otis Ferry the one that got nicked to twitting a hunt-sab over the head or something?

    TBH - before someone hunted out the original I was about to say it looks like a photo from about 20 years ago, in fact it might be the tack is ancient - hence the vulcanite/mullen mouth pelham, hunt cap (and it's probably one of those made to measure patey hats us mere mortals can only dream about), stitched flash etc. That picture wouldn't have looked out of place on the cover of a magazine/book that I grew up with :)

  24. So I guess that means I can't buy the breeches in the catalog.


    Way to bait & switch, Dover.

    LL Bean would NEVER get away with something like that.

  25. I AM abrasive. I like it.

    The *actual* truth(s) when it comes to photos for catalogs...

    Many ARE photo shopped. Sometimes for no reason. One pal of mine worked part time for Euro-American. They used horses she groomed for her other job as models for a photo shoot, at an DROP DEAD gorgeous farm. The back grounds were switched out. Can't tell you why, but I know they were!

    ALSO, guess what, the people who choose the photos, especially one like this that isn't showcasing a particular product, are NOT necessarily chosen by the tack store people. Go grab yourself a Beval's LTD catalog. There's a nice photo of Georgina Bloomberg on the cover. You can't tell for sure what the saddle is, but the girth, breast collar and *quite* possibly the bridle are ALL HADFIELD's products, NOT Beval's. Add the glaring Audi logo on the fly hat and not a thing about the photo says "Bevals". My best bud from college works at Beval's, I think she's a buyer now. I gave her a hearty ribbing when I saw that cover. Apparently the OWNER even signed off on the photo and was too busy to really even look at the tack on the horse. It's amazing to me he didn't see the signature "Hadfields Blue" on all the elastic parts.

  26. WOW! Art Director FAIL, Pat.....

    Heh... we had a Big City Consultant come in to redesign some important stuff for the college where I work, right before I started working there. They tried to sneak in some stock photography of commencement.... and the robes weren't even the right colors!! THAT sure didn't fly....

    As a graphic designer, I really try to make sure all my work reflects an authentic version of what's being promoted. I forget sometimes that not everyone has that goal.

  27. Also, did Beval buy out Blue Ribbon?

    I really love my old Blue Ribbon AP saddle.... very nice quality for the $$ back in the day.

  28. And third (and last, sorry),

    Does every new saddle these days have knee rolls!?!?

    Remember when you "graduated" from knee rolls to close contact, which was knee rollless?

  29. Dunno about Blue Ribbon. I DO know that they do have a line of shockingly well made Argentine saddles. Maybe that's who makes them for Bevals? I agree, they were nice!

    Oh, dear. SOme of the saddles where I rode as a kid had just DREADFUL knee rolls. I actually prefered the "flat saddles". My first saddle was a terrible plain flapped Argentine. uck. Put me in a terrible chair seat that I fought against for years. The next one just had padded flaps and a tinsy pencil knee roll. A "Majestic Supreme"; you can't get them any more and it's a real shame.

  30. me again. Cattypex, since this is your field, I guess... Why oh why do people "flip" photos?? Beval's again, go to the website. The little cozy tackroom photo is ABSOLUTELY reversed. I know because A:I've been in that tack room (it's rea) and the fire place is not on that wall, and B: my brother made the large trunk and the slant top grooming box. The little drawer in the box is on the wrong side of the box!!


    It kills me to see a photo with something backwards, like the throatlatch buckle on the off side of the horse. Like nobody will notice...

  31. I can't belive I didn't recognise Otis Ferry.... He's in the news enough!

    On a related note I was watching the European Show Jumping championships last night (I recorded it on the weekend) and saw this set up time and time again.

  32. UGH... I will NOT flip a photo unless I'm doing something wacky and artistic that has nothing to do with journalistic integrity.

    Blue Ribbon saddles were made in England... there's always a little metal plate under the skirt with "Handmade in England by...." on it. My friend's fancier model had a bigger plate that read "Handmade by Master Saddler ...." I got mine at cost because my friend's mom had a little tack store, mainly for 4-H kids to get their tack at a good price.

    My first saddle had ridiculous knee rolls.... my instructor called it The Tank. I sold it after a year for $50 more than I'd paid for it, and got a CLose Contact AP saddle that I still use. It's.... 25? years old and in beautiful condition. Actually it could use a drink, and I finally found what used to be Blue Ribbon Saddle Oil, now made by a different company. Good stuff.

    Otis Ferry is pretty cute, though he will get Lumpy Old Englishman syndrome someday (think Paul McCartney).

  33. Looks OK to me except for the flash noseband, but not torture. I agree with psychopony93.