This rider is almost too perfect: Her position is so flawless that it looks a little artificial. But everything she is doing is quite correct. She has an excellent leg. Her stirrup is the correct length and her heel is down properly. Her lower leg is perpendicular to the ground, and her ankle, knee and hip are correctly angled. Her base is very good. She’s out of the saddle just enough, and her slightly hollow back shows no sign of roaching. Her eyes are up, looking ahead to her next fence.
She is using her medium-length crest release correctly, resting and pressing her hands on her horse’s crest to support her upper body. At her advanced level of riding, though, I’d have her bring her hands back a couple of inches for a shorter release. Her grip is good, with the rein between her fourth and fifth fingers adding security. Open fingers can make an otherwise good rider look sloppy.
She’s riding a decent equitation horse, a flat jumper who won’t jar a rider out of position over fences. He’s not round enough to be a hunter, and he trails his hind legs, but he seems safe and willing.
This horse’s clean tack and saddle pad fit well, as do the rider’s boots and jacket; too-low or loose boots and baggy jackets detract seriously from a rider’s appearance.
—Originally appeared in the July 1982 issue
This article appeared in the January 2014 issue of Practical Horseman.