Our third rider’s foot is almost covered by the wing of the jump, but I can see that her stirrup iron is in a good position, her toe is out and her calf is on her horse’s side. Her heel is down, which makes her very secure. When it is up, the calf is flaccid and slack, which compromises the grip. Her leg is short, so on this big-barreled horse the distribution of contact is her entire leg. With a long-legged rider on a narrow, slab-sided horse, the contact would be halfway down the calf.
She is not dropping back in the air, but my instinct says that she’s almost dropping back. This type of horse is hard to stay with because he jumps high in the air to compensate for a poor front end. It would throw anybody back in the air. So she has to fight against that and stay forward in the air with her body. She can keep her hip angle closed more in front of, over and after the fence. There is a shadow over her hand, so it’s a little hard to critique it but it looks as if she’s approaching an automatic release. Her posture is correct and she’s looking up and a little to the left, perhaps in anticipation of a turn.
The horse looks to be an alert and powerful jumper who is a bit clumsy. He has a massive front end and he’s a little loose with his front legs and his knees pointing down. If he got close to a vertical, I think he would have a problem.
He appears to be well-cared for and there is some shine to his coat. He doesn’t have to be braided for this type of division, but his mane is distracting because it’s all over the place. The rider’s attire looks clean and well-fitting.
This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of Practical Horseman.