With her heel up, leg slipped to the rear and her seat almost ahead of the pommel, this rider has to work on the basics. She is gripping with her upper thigh and her heel has come up so she is unintentionally asking her horse to go forward. First, she needs to move the iron closer to her toes so that about one quarter of her foot is through it for more flexion in the ankle. Then she needs to drop the weight into her heel and stretch her leg down so she has an equal distribution of contact among her thigh, inner knee bone and calf. She must practice this leg position at the walk, trot and canter. Once her leg is stable on the flat, she can work to maintain it over crossrails.
Her knee is acting like a pivot so that as her lower leg goes back, her upper body goes forward too much and she is jumping ahead. This is a safety issue because, along with her unstable leg, if the horse props or stops, she could tumble over his neck. She is releasing her horse, but her hands seem to be floating above the neck a little. I want to see them pressed into the horse’s mane so they support her upper body. Her eyes are looking up and ahead and her posture is OK.
This is a big, handsome horse, but unfortunately, he’s got a poor front end. His right knee is pointing down over an oxer, making me think it could be worse over a vertical with no ground line. He wants to be round, though I don’t sense he’s very careful. I dislike any curb or gag bit that has only one rein. With these bits, you should always have a snaffle rein and that should be the primary rein. Using the curb rein will eventually make a horse jump flat because he can’t bend in the poll.
This pair’s turnout gets a C-minus grade. The tack and their boots do not look very clean. Whatever equipment you have cannot be too clean all the time.
This article was originally published in the January 2018 issue of Practical Horseman.