This is a stylish rider with a beautiful leg who would benefit from shortening her stirrup a hole or two. The reason: The angle behind her leg is 120 to 130 degrees, but it should be closer to 100 to 110 degrees. If she jumps bigger fences with her current stirrup length, she will not have the support she needs and her balance will be compromised. This will make it difficult for her to stay with her horse’s jumping motion. Besides that, the stirrup iron is crossing the ball of her foot so the outside branch leads the inside and the iron is at a correct right angle to the girth. Her little toe is also touching the outside branch. These things allow for a supple leg. In addition, her heel is down, her ankle is flexed and her toes are out the right amount. There is contact all the way down the calf of her leg.
She is not jumping ahead, her flat back is exemplary and her eyes are up. However, her hands are floating above her horse’s neck. The point of a crest release is for the hands to press into the neck to support the rider’s upper body. Even better, she could drop her hands 3 to 5 inches, creating a straight line from her elbow to her horse’s mouth for the more-finessed control of the automatic release.
The horse is powerful and safe with a good front end—his knees are up and symmetrical to one another. He’s also a long, flat jumper who appears to jump across his fences. I suspect he gets quick, too. I suggest his rider trot fences and put him deep to get him to rock back on his haunches and jump up and around the fences.
The horse is well cared for, he is in good weight and he is well groomed. The tack and her attire are clean and well-fitting. Being a traditionalist, though, what hits my eye is the color. I think everything should be muted to avoid distracting from the beauty of the horse.
This article was originally published in the March 2018 issue of Practical Horseman.