Jumping Clinic with George Morris

George Morris critiques a horse and rider.

This rider is reaching for her stirrup, so I would like her to ride a hole shorter. Once she isn’t straining to reach her foundation, she will be able to lower her heel more, dropping the weight of her lower body into it for more security. In addition, she should angle her iron across the ball of her foot so the outside branch is leading the inside one, which will make her leg more flexible and supple. Other than these two corrections, she has a good leg position.

Once again, we have a rider who is in balance with her horse. While her buttock looks high, I think this is partly due to her horse’s extravagant jump and the lower angle of the photographer. Her back is perfectly flat, her head is up and her attention is focused between her horse’s ears.

Her crest release is an exaggerated one, with her hand too high on his crest to be of any use as a balancing aid. The very broken line from bit to elbow is unattractive, if not a functional problem. She should practice using a shorter release with a soft rein, rather than throwing her hand at her horse. She sacrifices control with no additional benefit to her horse by using this release.

This big, heavy horse is not the kind I normally like to ride. I prefer a lighter Thoroughbred or Thoroughbred- type. Despite his heavy head and shoulder, however, he is a magnificent jumper and one I think would be an intriguing project. He is powerful, interested in his work and has a fabulous front end. He is long behind the saddle, which normally indicates scope and thrust, so I suspect he could jump a very high fence. 

This horse is clean and in good weight. His shaggy hair indicates that perhaps he lives out in a cool climate, but it is a cosmetic issue, not a caretaking one. The rider is well dressed and very tidy for a lesson or jumping school.

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

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