Improving leg control is this rider’s assignment, which also would help to keep her from jumping ahead.
The stirrup iron is not well placed because the outside branch needs to be twisted so it is ahead of the inside. The adjustment would help her have a suppler leg, which would drive her heel down and help with her loose leg. The leg may also have slipped back because she is squeezing with her knee, causing it to act as a pivot, sending the lower leg back and upper body forward.
She needs to work on the flat in two-point and then over crossrails, practicing an even contact through her thigh, knee and calf. When she approaches the fence, she needs to use her lower leg to keep the horse going forward and not be tempted to produce impulsion by leaning ahead with her seat and upper body. Her posture is fine and her eyes are up and ahead. She is demonstrating the long crest release, a good and preferable technique at this stage of her training. Her hands are resting on the horse’s crest, supporting her upper body.
The horse, who has a little bit of a tired, dull expression, has a very poor front end over what looks like a ramp oxer, which should encourage a horse to jump his best. His right knee is lower than his left and he is loose below his knees. I would be worried that he would hang that right leg over a large vertical. This is unfortunate because he is using his head and neck well and has a rounder bascule than we often see.
Horse-and-rider turnout gets an A. The horse is beautifully groomed—his coat is just blooming—and the flat tack is conservative and fits well. He is braided, and the saddle pad is very white. The rider is beautifully and conservatively dressed with polished boots. All of it allows the beauty of the horse to take center stage.
This article was originally published in the November 2017 issue of Practical Horseman.