This rider has a stirrup position that we used to ride with in the 1950s where at least half of the foot was in the stirrup. It allows for a very functional and secure leg but it lacks the softness and suppleness the rider would have if she moved the stirrup closer to the ball of the foot. The iron is correctly positioned so it is at a right angle to the girth. Her heel is down, her toes are turned out and her calf is on her horse’s side.
Her base of support is very good. She is opening her hip angle a little in the air, which might be because she is turning, but she should pay attention to her technique at this point of the jump. She needs to let the horse jump the fence first and then turn, otherwise he could cut down behind and hit a rail. Her posture is excellent with her eyes looking where she is going. She is demonstrating a straight line from her elbow to the end of the rein. This looks to be some kind of hackamore operation that I don’t know too much about, but if it works for the horse, that’s fine. I feel that if I don’t have the horse’s mouth, I don’t have the horse.
The pony jumps well. His knees are up and though they are not perfectly parallel to the ground, they are symmetrical, which covers up a multitude of sins. He is dropping his head and he is round. It’s hard to tell about his hind end because he’s just stepping over this small fence.
He appears healthy and well-cared for. His coat seems a little long, which could be taken care of with more currying and a stiff brush. His mane needs to be pulled. Her turnout looks a little rough and ready. Her boots and the spur strap could be cleaner and her attire seems very casual. I don’t dress down no matter what type of show. I wear a coat and tie, and if coats are waived because of heat, I wear a shirt and tie.
This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of Practical Horseman.