This rider has a beautiful leg position. Though her foot could be placed so her small toe touches the outside of the iron, her heel is down and her leg is very tight. The stirrup length is ideal and her seat is exemplary—she is neither dropping back in the air nor jumping ahead. She is very with her horse’s motion, and her upper body is parallel to his topline. There is no feeling that she is opening her hip in the air.
This is a good example of a short crest release, where the hands are giving and pressing on the crest of the horse’s neck. The only improvement to this excellent picture would be if she lowered her hands a few inches alongside her horse’s neck so there is a straight line from her elbows to her hands. But that’s a minor criticism, something to be worked on. Here eyes are up and looking ahead.
The horse is a very cute pinto with a great expression. He has a good front end with his knees up and symmetrical, though he is throwing his legs a little to the left. He also is a rather flat jumper. From the way he’s constructed, he looks as if he doesn’t move well and may be a choppy galloper. But he’s doing his job nicely and safely.
The horse-and-rider turnout is slightly above average. The horse is in good weight and clean. I don’t care for his flying mane. The rider’s clothes fit well. I do like the fence, which is probably on a cross-country course. This used to be the type of fence you’d see in American hunter classes. The whole point of the hunter division is to simulate the hunting field. It’s a refreshing picture that I quite like.
This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of Practical Horseman.