This rider needs to work on her leg. Whether because the saddle or the horse’s thrust slips her back or she’s just a little loose, her whole leg from the stirrup bar to the heel has slipped back. From the knee to the heel is 6–8 inches too far back. To fix it, she needs to work without stirrups. She also needs to put the stirrup at a right angle to the girth so the outside branch is a little ahead of the inside to improve leg suppleness and get more weight in her heels.
Despite the leg, the rest of her is quite good. She has managed to stay with her horse. Her buttock is high, but I don’t feel she’s ahead of her horse. She’s very long from her buttock to her knee, which is the reason she’s that high. Her posture is all right; she has just a hair of a roached back. Her eyes are up.
She’s using a very good short release. In a short release, the rider needs to make sure the hand is alongside the crest, resting on the neck. A short release gives you a slack rein, whereas a long release gives you a loose rein and an automatic release gives you a contact rein.
This is a big, jug-headed horse. Usually these types of horses are very heavy and strong. If that’s the case, she could use a flash or drop noseband on him or a kimberwick or double wire. His knees are up and he’s a powerful jumper, but he’s not the roundest.
Their turnout is all right. As with the other riders, I’d like his mane to be trained over to the right side by braiding it with elastic bands for a day or two, doing that two or three times. Both she and the horse are clean, which can be a challenge with a gray horse.
This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Practical Horseman.