Right off the bat, I can tell you this rider’s stirrup is too long because the angle behind her knee is too big. It should be between 100 and 110 degrees at this point in the jump. The consequence is this rider’s leg is loose and slipped back. She needs to shorten it by at least a hole and then twist the iron so the outside branch leads the inside and her little toe touches the outside. These changes would help to stabilize her leg. Then she needs to do a lot of work in two-point position and jumping without stirrups to tighten up her leg. Pluses are that her heel is well down, her ankle is flexed and her toes are turned out.
The slipped-back leg has caused her seat to be too high and her crotch is in front of the saddle. Her posture is very good and her eyes are up and ahead. This rider’s release is approaching the automatic release. If she lowered her hands 2 inches, it would be textbook, but I admire that she’s attempting to graduate from relying on the horse’s neck for balance. That and her focus tell me that she’s a conscientious student.
This is a very cute horse with a great expression with his ears and in his eyes. I can’t see his front end too well—I can see that his forearms and knees are up but not whether he’s tight or not. He’s 2 feet over this jump, showing a lot of thrust. He looks like he could jump a big fence. He wants to be round—he’s dropping his head and neck—which helps his jumping effort.
He looks poorly cared for to me. His coat is dull, so the rider might need to check his deworming schedule and his feed program. It’s irritating when a rider’s position is good and her clothes are beautiful but the horse doesn’t look well. I’d prefer a more fitted saddle pad and a girth without a cover if the horse doesn’t need it.
This article was originally published in the November 2018 issue of Practical Horseman.