Crossrails have two training advantages: They are low and they invite the horse to jump the center of the fence straight. A rider can work on many things—position, finding the takeoff spot, rhythm, etc. Our first rider should continue to work over them until she solidifies her leg. Her heel is up and she is pinching with her knee, causing her leg to swing back. She needs to practice trotting and cantering low fences in two-point putting her heels down.
In the saddle, your base of support is your crotch and your seat. Out of the saddle in two-point, it shifts down from the knee to the heel. This rider does not have a base of support because of her leg. She also is jumping ahead of her horse—her buttock is very far out of the saddle and over the pommel. This goes hand in hand with the pinching knee and swinging leg. It’s a classic combination of faults.
Her posture is excellent and her eyes are up and ahead. It looks like she’s using a long release, but the rein is too loose.
The horse looks sweet with a great expression in his eyes and ears. His knees are up but he’s loose below his cannon bone. I can’t tell about his hind end because he’s really just in a big canter stride.
He has long hair and his coat is dull. She needs to either get the hair off by scrubbing with a currycomb and stiff brush 45 minutes a day or clip him. A long coat, in addition to looking terrible, can make a horse sweat and get sick. For grooming advice, I recommend all riders read World-Class Grooming by Cat Hill and Emma Ford. As for the rider, I am opposed to long hair hanging out. It needs to be put in a net, knot or bun. It looks bad and if you rode out, it could get caught in a tree branch. I also would like to see more spit and polish applied to her boots.
This article originally appeared in the January 2016 issue of Practical Horseman.