This rider has an excellent leg. Her heels are down and her contact is evenly distributed; her leg hasn’t slipped back from the vertical over the jump.
Her back is good, not stiff or sloppy. She has her base a little farther out from the saddle than the first and second riders did, but she’s correct for her situation. Her horse is making a very big effort over this jump; if she didn’t stand to catch up with him, she’s be left behind.
She’s using a short release with light contact. I’d like to see her hands beside her horse’s crest rather than on top, but I can tell she’s a good rider from the qualities I see in this picture: she’s positive, tight, relaxed, with no fear. I like her.
Although her horse is a little loose below the knee, his knees are up in a spectacular way. He’s lowering his head and neck and rounding his back, coming up into the rider with his shoulders, withers, and body. He seems to have a lot of thrust and power behind.
I like the attributes of both horse and rider in this schooling picture. They’re aggressive, supple, and confident.
Reprinted from the December 1984 issue of Practical Horseman magazine. Is this photo of you? Email Practical.Horseman@EquiNetwork.com, and we’ll identify you.
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