This rider has a nice following release, but her leg has slipped back and her hip angle has opened up too much, giving the impression that she’s riding a little defensively. In addition to the slipped-back leg, her heel has come up. This is partly because her iron is too far back on her foot. I’d like to see it a little closer to her toe—which should be about one-quarter of the way in the iron—to give her a suppler leg and allow her to drop more weight in her iron. Her leg will become more stable so she’ll be able to keep it closer to the girth.
Her seat is a little too deep in the saddle. She needs to close her hip angle a bit more so she can follow her horse better with her body. It seems she’s lacking confidence and rather than riding forward to the fence, she’s doubting herself. She shouldn’t doubt her horse because he’s great. This rider’s best feature is her arm. Though she seems tentative with her body, she’s following her horse’s mouth, allowing him to drop his head and neck. There is almost a straight line from her elbow to the bit and she’s maintaining contact and support, but she’s not stiffing her horse in the mouth.
This is a very cute horse with a beautiful, quality head and expressive ears and eyes. He also has a great front end with his knees up and very symmetrical. He jumps a little flat across his back in the air, but that’s OK. I’d rather have a horse with a wonderful front end and less bascule than the opposite.
Again, I have a problem with this rider’s turnout. The horse’s coat is dull—I’d like to see her use more elbow grease to bring more bloom to it. His mane needs to be pulled so that it’s not wider than a hand’s width and trained to lie flat by being loosely braided with rubber bands His fetlocks need to be trimmed and her boots need to be cleaned and polished.
This article was originally published in the June 2018 issue of Practical Horseman.