This rider is demonstrating beautiful horsemanship in all four particulars: her legs, base of support, upper body and hands.
Her stirrup leather is vertical, her stirrup is properly placed on the ball of her foot with just the right amount of twist in her leather. Her weight is in her heels. She has an excellent distribution of contact throughout her leg, not pinching anywhere. Her stirrup leather is of the proper length, and her knee is placed correctly with the right angle from calf to thigh. Her base is close to the saddle yet out of it. Her back is beautiful and relaxed, not roached, swayed or stiff.
This rider is looking up and ahead to the next fence. She’s using a very proper crest release. There’s a slight play in her reins without droop. Her hands are resting on the crest, and she is carrying her stick flat against her horse’s side.
Her horse is a nice local variety. He has a pleasant expression and is square with his legs. It’s not a large jump, and the horse is a trifle flat over it, but it’s still a delightful picture.
—Originally appeared in the July 1979 issue
This article appeared in the January 2014 issue of Practical Horseman.