This rider’s leg is secure with a viselike grip, but I would adjust it slightly. Her heel is excessively down and her foot is touching the inside branch with her toes turned out. For a more supple and sophisticated feel, I’d like her foot to be a little farther in the iron and her small toe touching the outside branch. Then she needs to relax her foot so it doesn’t turn out quite as much.
She has the correct distribution of contact throughout her leg, which helps with her excellent base of support. There is no sign she is jumping ahead or dropping back. With just a hint of a roached back, her posture is not quite as good as that of our first rider. To be textbook, she could have a slight concavity under the number, which would strengthen her position. Her eyes are up and ahead. She is using a correct crest release and, at home, she could practice jumping with contact by dropping her hands 3–6 inches so that she follows her horse’s mouth. This gives a rider total control and is very good for balance because she’s independent of the horse’s neck.
This rampy oxer should encourage a horse to jump his best, but this horse disappoints me with his front end, which is not symmetrical or even. His left leg and knee are starting to come down and he’s bordering on hanging with it. He’s also not round in his back.
Both he and the rider are well turned out. His coat is very clean and trimmed and he has a nice braid job. The saddle could be a little darker and the saddle pad fit just a little better, but I’m being picky. She is dressed in conservative colors, which I like.
This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of Practical Horseman.