Though this rider’s seat is too high out of the saddle, she has a very good leg and I like that she is very close to demonstrating the more-advanced following hand.
The stirrup iron is a little too far back on the ball of her foot—she should have about a quarter of her foot in the iron. It also appears that her foot is touching the inside branch of the iron; instead, her little toe should touch the outside branch. Other than that, her heel is down, her toe is turned out and her calf is in contact with her horse’s side.
I like her short stirrup length for jumping, but it may have contributed to her buttocks coming too far out of the saddle. The horse’s thrust alone pushes them out of the saddle. When a rider’s seat is this far out of the saddle, she has incorrectly participated in the effort. This rider also has a slight roach, but her eyes are up and she has very good focus. Her release is considerably lower than the crest of the horse’s neck, and she’s maintaining a beautiful, practically straight, soft connection with his mouth in the air.
This horse has an interesting jump because he appears to do it so easily. He’s scopey and has a dramatic front end with his knees way up. He’s rounder than our first horse but still a little flat.
His coat is a little long for the amount of work he is doing. If he sweats too much, he could get a chill. More grooming or a full or partial body clip is needed. I’m not a fan of colors, but at least the blues in her attire and his match. Recently, people have argued that it’s safer to have hair out of the helmet for better fit. I’m not an expert in that field, but traditionally riders have tucked long hair up underneath their helmets because it could get caught on something going back to the barn or if they ride in the woods.
This article was originally published in the July 2017 issue of Practical Horseman.