Jumping Clinic

Beezie Madden offers commentary on a show jumping round in a photo and a video.
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Overall: My first impression is this is a beautiful picture. I love this rider’s position, and I love the horse.

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Leg: The fence standard is in the way, so it’s hard to see where the stirrup is on the rider’s foot, but I suspect that she’s standing on her toes because her heel looks just level or higher than her toes. But I like the contact she has with her leg—it’s more back in the calf, maintaining contact with the saddle but relaxed.

Seat: Her seat is nicely out of the saddle and over the pommel. Her hip angle is closed appropriately for the height of the fence.

Release: She’s using a beautiful crest release, giving the horse the freedom of his head and neck. Her arms are relaxed, and her elbows are in a natural position. I love the way she’s carrying the stick with the butt end slightly above her hand. If there is a lot of the stick above the hand, it can hit your chin. Also, it can stick out away from the horse, distracting him. I like that the stick lies nicely against the horse.

Upper body: Her back is flat yet not stiff. Her eyes are up and looking ahead to the next fence. She has quite a determined look on her face.

Horse: The horse is adorable. His ears are pricked, and he has a beautiful expression. He’s really using his head and neck. Although his knees aren’t even, they are higher than his elbows in a classic style, and he looks like he’s making a generous enough jump over this height of fence.

Turnout: The turnout is excellent. The horse is white and shiny. The tack is beautifully clean. I haven’t worked too much without a noseband, but I know some horses don’t like being restricted, so if it’s best for the horse, I’m fine with that. Her boots are shiny. Even though she has on a puffy coat, which isn’t ideal to review the photo, it’s well-fitted. Her hair is done up beautifully, and her helmet is positioned correctly on her head.

What you’ll see in the video: Like the photo, the video shows that this rider has a very good basic position. I love the way she’s working in her two-point around the course, and when she approaches a fence, her seat gets close to the saddle but is not driving. The horse has a nice gallop and rhythm as well as a beautiful expression and way of jumping.

She shows a very good crest release and she does a good job of balancing the horse before she comes to a double combination [on the outside line at the far side of the arena]. It’s a short distance coming in, and she makes a nice adjustment fitting that in.

After Fence 6, you can see the beginning of the horse starting to root. My only criticism of her riding in this video is that she’s got to be more consistent and quicker to correct that root [seen after Fences 8 and 10]. She has to be quicker with the half-halt with the outside rein to catch him when he’s rooting. You’ll see down the last line, he roots [after Fence 11] and she makes a good correction there, albeit a little late. As the video stops, you can see a nice view of the beginning of a half-halt, which is the correct correction when a horse starts to root. She needs to correct this now because it can become more and more of a root, which will sacrifice her control, especially when the course gets bigger.

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