This rider has very good basics in terms of position and use of the aids. The iron could be about a half inch closer to the toe and her leg has slipped back a little, but it’s certainly sufficient. This could just be a bad habit that would be corrected if the rider rode without stirrups. She has a nice 110-degree angle behind her knee, which tells me her stirrup leather is the correct length.
Her base of support is very good. She is not jumping ahead or dropping back. Her buttocks have just cleared the saddle. Her back is a little soft and she needs to be careful it doesn’t turn into a roached back. She is looking ahead to the next jump and demonstrating an excellent long release with the hands halfway up the neck and pressing into it, giving the horse maximum freedom. At her level, she could lower her hands a few inches to create a straight line from her elbow to the horse’s mouth. This automatic release, or following hand, still gives the horse freedom to jump but the rider has more control.
This is a very cute horse with a beautiful, alert expression. He jumps well and is giving the fence some height, though it looks like his left knee is a little lower than the right. He’s very tight below the knee and he wants to be round.
He appears to be well groomed and trimmed, though I wish his messy mane were braided and he had a leather girth. The rider’s boots shine, but to be picky, I wish she’d had a friend knock the dirt off the bottom of the boot with a rag. I also would prefer to see her in a show coat. This is a little casual for my taste.
This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of Practical Horseman.