This rider’s stirrup length is the opposite of our first rider. The shorter stirrup enables the rider to get her heel well down, which helps to stabilize her leg. It’s a beautiful leg with the toe out, the ankle flexed and the calf on the horse. You could almost say that she is riding a hair short because her knee angle is very closed at 90 to 100 degrees, but if she lengthened it on such a small horse, she could brush the top of the jump with her foot.
She’s in a beautiful position with her seat. It’s just been tossed out of the saddle by the horse’s thrust, but she has not participated by jumping for him. Her posture is beautiful with a hollow loin. Her head is dropped a little, but I can’t tell if she’s looking down. She is using a short release, but you can feel that she’s not stiffing her horse in the mouth.
This is an exceptionally good horse or large pony. His front end is as correct as we’ve ever had in this column. His knees are up by his chin, he’s dead symmetrical and he’s very tight below them. He’s jumping high over this log and wants to drop his head and neck and be round, though he doesn’t have a real strong bascule. This is a horse I would gallop around over this course. He looks like if you get off his back and let him gallop, he’ll set himself up to a fence and jump well. He’s got a great expression—intelligent ears and eyes.
Their turnout is rough and ready. The horse’s coat is long, though maybe he lives out. The turnout is all right but for me there is no polish. His coat needs to be shorter and groomed until it shines. His mane is flying around and his legs need to be trimmed. The rider’s hair should be contained better in a hair net. But it’s a very correct picture of horse-and-rider technique.
This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of Practical Horseman.