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Jumping Clinic With George Morris

George Morris critiques a rider.

Our fourth rider’s leg is similar to our first, but the stirrup is twisted incorrectly and is perpendicular to her foot. It’s not even close to being at a right angle to the girth. The stirrup is also on the tip of her toe, which is turned out past 45 degrees. She needs to work without stirrups to modify her toe position and find a natural leg position. The angle behind her knee is open, and I sense that she’s reaching for her stirrup, so she needs to shorten it a hole. Her heel is down and her ankle is flexed. Though the rotation of her toe is bad, her leg is very stable. 

Her base of support is also very good. She is allowing the jump to take care of her seat, not dropping back or jumping ahead. From this angle, she appears to be looking down, which is contributing to the roach back she has. Her topline from her neck to her coccyx is convex. She has the best release of all four riders. This would be labeled an automatic release with a beautiful following arm. Her independent hand is 2–3 inches below the crest; it could be a half an inch lower. Her fingers are lightly closed on the reins but relaxed with a nice contact with the horse’s mouth.

This is a very cute horse with a good expression. He has a super front end that is symmetrical. He’s a little loose below the knee, which I don’t mind. He is a flat jumper. If you took a ruler and measured from his poll to his dock, the line would be straight. It looks as if he stood off this rampy oxer, which invites a horse to jump flat. 

The horse appears healthy, but the turnout of this pair is very rough. The horse has a long coat and doesn’t look as if he’s been groomed very well. If it’s a hunter class, his mane should be braided. His tail is short as if another horse has chewed on it. The saddle pad is too big.

This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of Practical Horseman.

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