Jumping Clinic with George Morris

George Morris critiques a horse and rider.
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I can only peek at this rider’s leg, which is partially hidden by the jump wings and foliage. What I can see looks good, though: Her ankle is flexed, her toe is out in accordance with her conformation and her lower leg is tight and in place just behind the girth. I do think she should try riding a half-hole or one full hole shorter because there is not enough angle in her knee, which tells me her stirrup is probably too long.

Her base of support is just right with her seat out of the saddle enough to free her horse’s back but neither ahead of nor behind his motion. Her head is up, and her eyes are correctly looking between her horse’s ears for the next fence.

Her exemplary short crest release gives her horse his head while her hand supports the weight of her upper body by pushing into the sides of his neck. In contrast to the previous rider, it looks like she is giving her horse a subtle push forward rather than holding him back.

This horse is looking through the bridle beautifully and is showing a round, powerful jump. I wish his front end were better—he is uneven with his knees and his legs are not tight. I suspect that he would be even more disappointing over a stiff vertical, but I do think he could jump higher fences with no trouble, even if he doesn’t show a classic hunter style. 

Both horse and rider look very good, tidy and focused, and they are conservatively attired for the show ring. The horse is in good weight and has a healthy, well-groomed appearance.

This article originally appeared in the August 2013 issue of Practical Horseman.

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