Jumping Clinic with George Morris

George Morris critiques a rider's position.
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669-Claire McFarlane No Credit

This rider has a good old-fashioned Army leg that she could modernize with a few tweaks that would give her an even more stable position. Her heel is far down and turned out to the maximum acceptable 45 degrees. This allows for a viselike grip, which I do not criticize, but some might judge it as not modern enough. The angle behind her knee is 130–140 degrees and it should be closer to 110 degrees. That is one of the reasons I think she should shorten her stirrup a hole.

Another reason is that too-long stirrups often encourage a rider to jump ahead, which this rider is doing a little—her buttocks are too far out of the saddle. Riders also often jump ahead because they ride with their seats and not their legs. This rider needs to make sure that as she approaches a jump, she rides forward with her leg if necessary and not drive with her seat. If she rides from her seat, she may feel that she must throw her body forward to catch up on takeoff. As she closes her legs, she can relax her hands to let her horse jump, making no effort with her upper body. This is easier said than done. Her posture has a little roach, but it’s OK. She has one of the best hand positions we’ve had in a while. She has dropped them down her horse’s neck, working toward an automatic release.

This is a nice horse with a good expression in his eyes and ears. He’s not terribly refined—he has a big head and short neck. But he has a textbook front end over this natural brush. He’s got a rounder bascule than the previous horse. This is a horse I’d like to jump.

He also has some bloom in his coat, which is trace-clipped, and he is in a nice weight. I’m not a fan of the blue saddle pad or the girth cover because they distract from the horse’s beauty. His boots could be cleaner as could hers.

This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue.

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