I like this rider and she has a good position, but my first impression is that she is loose. To fix that, I suggest that she shorten her leather one hole because the angle behind her knee is too open and I sense that she’s reaching for the iron, which can destabilize the leg. Then she needs to work without stirrups a few times a week or have a qualified person longe her without stirrups. I’d also like to see her twist her iron so the outside branch leads the inside, which will make her leg more solid and improve its aesthetics.
The rider’s seat is out of the saddle just enough and her back is flat—she has beautiful upper-body control. This is an excellent example of a short release, where there is a broken line from the rider’s elbow to the horse’s mouth, though her elbows are sticking out a bit much. In all riding, the optimal connection is a straight line from the elbow to the mouth. To achieve that here, this rider needs to lower her hands 3–6 inches and follow the contact with a soft feel.
This is a cute horse, more of a pony type. He’s not big or scopey, but he’s got a great expression—his ears are up and his eyes are alert and focused. He has a good front end with his knees up. He’s loose below the knees—I’d like to see his lower legs tighter—but his form is acceptable. He’s also a flat jumper.
The horse is very well groomed and the saddle pad, tack and horse and rider boots are clean. This looks like it is at a show, though, and I think the rider’s turnout is more appropriate for a schooling session
This article originally appeared in the 2018 Winter issue of Practical Horseman.