A good position depends on a good leg, and this rider's leg is very good: heel down, ankle flexed, toe out, and calf on her horse at the girth. Although the leg might look braced, it isn't: Her stirrup leather is perpendicular to the ground, and her ankle is very flexible. She might try riding a half-hole shorter to get more of her leg on this narrow-barreled horse, but she really looks good at this length.
Her base of support is beautiful, with seat out of the saddle and crotch close to it. She is in balance with her horse, and her head and eyes are focused on the next fence. Her short release is very well done, her hand just in front of the withers and supporting the weight of her upper body. She is a skilled rider, giving a stylish example of forward-seat riding. My one suggestion is that she try putting her hand 3 or 4 inches lower in what is known as an automatic release, creating a straight line from elbow to bit. It's an advanced technique?it doesn't use the horse's neck for support?but she's certainly accomplished enough to learn and use it.
This is a very nice little horse, very similar to the type of horse that I started on. He's a safe, good-natured mount; his flat jump makes him a good partner for an equitation rider who doesn't want to be jarred out of position by a big bascule. He is sloppy with his front end, but he is a safe, fun ride.
Reprinted from the September 2004 issue of Practical Horseman magazine. Is this photo of you? Email Practical.Horseman@EquiNetwork.com, and we"ll identify you!