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Jumping Clinic with George Morris

George Morris critiques a rider.

Except for a high seat position, this is a stylish rider overall with a beautiful leg and independent hand.

Her leg is an example of today’s ideal with her toe turned out 15 to 20 degrees. The iron is correctly placed at a right angle to the girth with her little toe touching the outside branch. Her heel is well down, her ankle is flexed and her whole calf is in contact with her horse’s side. The angle behind her knee is a little wide, so she could try shortening the stirrup one hole and see how that affects her jumping position.

Her seat is high out of the saddle. Instead of relaxing her hands and closing her leg in front of the jump, she’s trying to jump for her horse. She needs to ask her horse to jump with her leg, not her body. She has a very correct posture—her back is flat and her eyes are looking up and ahead. Her hand is a little lower down the width of the neck and she’s maintaining a soft contact with her horse’s mouth, both of which I like. She’s making an effort toward the automatic release.

This is a round jumper who has a lovely bascule—there’s a real arc from his poll to the dock of his tail. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a very good front end. His knees are pointing down so his forearms are not parallel to the ground. They also are uneven and could be bordering on dangerous if he got to a tight distance and needed to pull them up quickly.

This rider’s and horse’s turnout isn’t bad, but the horse’s coat as well as her own boots could shine more. The whites of his coat and the saddle pad could be whiter and the sheepskin girth isn’t very attractive. I know I’m a fanatic about having everything be scrupulously clean, but it often is a sign of how closely a rider focuses on health and safety concerns, such as tack that is about to break or a cut on her horse’s leg.

This article was originally published in the June 2017 issue of Practical Horseman. 

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