I’d put our fourth rider’s stirrup a little closer to her toe. Only about one-quarter of the foot should be in the stirrup, which helps the leg be more supple. She also needs to angle the iron so the outside branch leads the inside. If I were teaching her, I would shorten the stirrup a hole and see what it looked like. There is very little angle behind the knee. It’s about 140 degrees and it should be between 100 and 110 degrees.
The too-long stirrup has caused her to jump ahead with her buttocks coming very far out of the saddle. When she approaches the fence, she needs to make sure her upper body is a little forward as opposed to behind the vertical. Riding behind the vertical on the approach encourages a rider to feel as if she has to catch up by throwing her upper body at her horse.
She has a slightly roached back and a very big eye problem—she is looking down. She is using a short release moving toward an automatic release, though there is not a textbook straight line from her elbow to the horse’s mouth.
The horse is big-headed, big-eared and not of great quality. He’s twisting in his body and hanging his right knee a little. I don’t think I’d want to head down to a solid fence with him. He is jumping rounder in his body than the other three horses and he wants to drop his head and neck in a nice bascule.
The turnout is average. I don’t like the horse’s browband because it is distracting. The saddle pad is large. The rider is dressed conservatively, which I like, but I just think everything could be cleaner.
This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Practical Horseman.