This is a good rider who needs to make some position corrections, especially regarding her restrictive hands.
Though her heel is down and her toes are turned out, her leg has slipped back. Her stirrup length might be OK on a bigger-barreled horse, but on this narrow horse she may need to ride one hole shorter so there is more contact with her leg to prevent swinging. She needs to ride on the flat in two-point and drive the weight into her heel and keep the stirrup perpendicular to the ground. Then she must practice the same thing over crossrails.
She is dropping back too far in the saddle—I’d like her buttocks to be farther out of it. Her back is exemplary and her eyes are looking up and ahead. Her hands are not attractive. She looks as if she is trying to turn her horse by moving the left hand forward and above the neck and using a fixed right rein, which hollows a horse. If she is turning, she needs to bring the left hand back a few inches, pushing it into the crest, and move her right hand to the right to lead him with a giving feel. While he’s not the roundest jumper, she wants to at least invite him to be round with a better release.
This seems a sour little horse with his ears and eyes pointed back. Though he appears to be safe, he’s not using himself very well. His front legs are not even, with the right lower than the left. He’s also a “stepper”—his belly is the lowest part to the fence.
Though his coat looks sun-bleached, he also doesn’t look clean and neither does the tack and equipment. The saddle pad is unattractive and the rider’s boots aren’t polished. How the horse and rider are turned out has a lot to do with horsemanship. So many horses I see today lack in spit and polish.
This article was originally published in the October 2017 issue of Practical Horseman.