This looks like a fancy rider on a high-class horse. I’d prefer his stirrup a little farther forward on his boot for more flexibility, but in cross-country work, there is less chance of losing a stirrup if it is farther back. His leg is excellent. His heel is down and his contact is distributed to his lower leg.
This rider’s base of support is a little far out of the saddle because he’s riding with a short stirrup leather over very large fences. This is normal for cross-country riding, but if he were in the show ring, I’d tell him to drop his base closer to the saddle. His back is beautiful—flat, or even arched. It’s supple and pliable. He’s looking in the direction he’s going with a purpose.
He is using a classic short release, resting his hands near the second or third braid from his horse’s withers.
His horse is spectacular. He is obviously experienced, bold, alert and intelligent. His knees are up by his chin, he’s tight below the knees and he is displaying a beautiful front end. This picture is taken a fraction of a second too early, but I know the bascule is going to be beautifully round. This is one of the best pictures of horsemanship we’ve ever had— an Olympic-caliber horse and rider team.
—Originally appeared in the February 1981 issue
Editor’s note: We recognize today’s Practical Horseman columnist Olympic eventer Jim Wofford riding Call the Step. The original photograph was submitted by a reader from the Midwest.
This article appeared in the January 2014 issue of Practical Horseman.