Jumping Clinic: Leg Contact

Beezie Madden describes correct leg contact with the saddle and horse.

Overall: This rider looks like she has very good basics with a proper leg position, seat and release. 

Leg: The stirrup iron is positioned properly on the ball of her foot, and her heel is down. It’s hard to tell from the angle of the photo, but the iron looks like it’s positioned on the correct angle with the outside branch ahead of the inside branch. The angle in her knee looks excellent. I like the contact with her leg—it’s distributed evenly between her calf and thigh. There’s contact with her knee, but she’s not pinching it. 

Seat/hip angle: Her seat is correctly over the pommel of the saddle, which helps her stay with her horse’s motion. Her hip angle is closed a bit too much for this fence height, but overall her position is quite good.

Release: She’s using a good short crest release. Her hands are pressing into her horse’s neck, not interfering with his ability to use his head and neck to stretch forward and down. Her elbows are bent and sticking out in the release, so she could work on keeping them a little closer to her sides. 

Upper body: Her back is nice and flat and her eyes are looking up and ahead to the next fence.

Horse: The horse is not super tight with his front legs, but he’s making a nice effort over this fence. The fence is probably not high enough for him to have to fold his legs. 

Turnout: The turnout of this pair looks good. The horse is clean, which isn’t so easy for a gray. The tack is clean and fits properly. The rider’s clothes fit well, and her boots are polished. 

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2023 issue of Practical Horseman.

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