This is an athletic rider with good conformation whose riding would improve with a few adjustments. She has long legs and she’s riding a narrow horse. The angle behind her knee is about 150 degrees—from the point of her hip to the point of her heel is practically straight. All of these things indicate that she needs to shorten her stirrup. This will allow her to have more contact with her calf. She also will have a suppler leg if she adjusts her iron so that the outside branch leads the inside and her little toe touches the outside branch. And she needs to move the iron so that only one quarter of her foot is in it.
Because her knee is acting like a pivot, sending the lower leg back, her upper body is too far forward and she is jumping ahead. Her posture is good, her back is flat and her eyes are looking up and ahead. She is demonstrating a short crest release and her hands are just alongside the crest, pressing into it. Once she adjusts her stirrup length and practices keeping her leg underneath her, she could try an automatic release by lowering her hands down 4–5 inches to maintain a straight line from her elbow to her horse’s mouth.
This is an earnest little horse with a very alert, conscientious expression. He has a plain, big head and short, thick neck. Though he doesn’t have much bascule, he has a beautiful front end with his knees up and legs so symmetrical they practically look like one. He looks like he’s a careful, fast jumper.
Their turnout would get a C-plus. I’m not saying her horse is not cared for, but I’d like to see more spit and polish. His mane could be pulled and trained to lie flat. It’s a little hard to tell because of the shadow, but his coat could probably use more elbow grease to bring out a bloom. It looks like his fetlocks could be trimmed more.
This article was originally published in the January 2018 issue of Practical Horseman.