Our third rider has a very good leg. The stirrup crosses the ball of the foot so it is at a right angle to the girth. Her little toe is touching the outside branch. The ankle is flexible, the heel is down, the toes are turned out but not in a grabby fashion. It’s a wonderful leg. The only thing that mars it is the too-open knee angle. She is very long from hip to knee and knee to ankle. She definitely needs to shorten the stirrup one hole, maybe two, though she doesn’t want it so short that she’s perching on top of her horse.
Despite the open knee angle, her base of support is good. She has a slight roach in her back, and her eyes are up and ahead. She is using a short release. She could improve by lowering her hands 4–6 inches in the air so there is a straight line from her elbow to the horse’s mouth. The crest release is so practical, so easy and supportive of the upper body, but I think we’re too dependent on it. When I jump, I make myself practice the automatic release.
I’d like to ride this very nice horse. He’s about a foot over the jump and he wants to be careful. His knees appear to be symmetrical and he is tight below them. He wants to be quite round—he’s cracking his back. He might be twisting a little behind to the left, but they might be turning left.
The horse is at a beautiful weight and he’s clean. His tail looks dirty but that could be his color. His coat is in good shape. To get the hair off warmbloods you usually have to clip them, but you need to follow that up by scrubbing with a currycomb, stiff brush, soft brush and towel. The braid job is beautiful, and the baby pad fits well. The figure-eight noseband is adjusted well. The rider, who looks as if she’s wearing a knee brace, is also well turned out.
This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of Practical Horseman.