This rider is using the correct stirrup length for her jumping effort, which puts the angle behind her knee at approximately 110 degrees. The correct stirrup length gives her the support necessary to keep her seat off her horse's back as he jumps.
Her leg position is good?her stirrup leather is perpendicular to the ground and she has a firm grip. But she needs to break her ankle and get her heel down, because a rider's security comes from a lowered heel.
This rider has a slight roach in her lower back, but her shoulders and head are good, and she is looking between her horse's ears. Her short release is very good, and her hand is giving her horse the freedom to stretch out her head and neck for balance. This rider has some form faults, but she looks effective and has good concentration.
Her horse is lovely, with a terrific front end?knees tight, even and square. The mare is very efficient, so she is not making a huge effort with her body, giving her a "splinter-belly" style where her stomach is lower than her knees. She's not a flat jumper, but she doesn't have to jump up with her body to clear the fence.
Both horse and rider are beautifully turned out. The rider is dressed in clean, well-fitted conservative clothing, right down to dark gloves and polished boots. And the mare looks great with her fat, shiny condition, tidy braids and clean tack.
This article originally appeared in the January 2007 issue of Practical Horseman magazine. Is this photo of you? Email Practical.Horseman@EquiNetwork.com, and we'll identify you!