This first rider’s leg position is classic. Her heel is down, her ankle flexed, and her calf softly on her horse. Her just-about-perfect knee angle (90 degrees or a hair more) tells me her stirrup is the right length. And her stirrup leather is perpendicular to the ground.
Her base of support is equally good. She’s let her horse’s thrust lift her seat and thigh out of the saddle, neither anticipating nor lagging behind his motion.
Her back position is so perfect that it could be posed, but it isn’t?it’s really that good. And she has her head up and her eyes trained on the next fence. The one position point I’d have her work on is keeping her body angle in harmony with her horse’s as they jump; if this mare had a rounder bascule, the rider’s upper body would be slightly too close to the neck.
We have here an example of a well-done short release. The rider’s hand pressing into the crest supports her upper body, and the slack rein gives her mare freedom to use her head.
The mare looks steady and safe, but she’s a dull jumper. She’s jumping perfectly flat, with no hint of a bascule; her knees are up, but she’s loose below them.
Both horse and rider are neatly turned out for schooling. The rider looks tidy and the horse is in good weight and very clean.
Reprinted from the September 1997 issue of Practical Horseman magazine. Is this photo of you? Email [email protected], and we’ll identify you!