Overall: This rider needs to close her knee angle more and open her hip angle for better balance over the fence.
Leg/seat: Her foot, a part of the base of support, is well placed in the stirrup, but she’s almost forced her heel down to the point where her lower leg has shot forward slightly. This has caused the angle behind her knee to open up too much. To compensate for that lack of balance, she’s closed her hip angle too far for this size of a fence, and her seat has come pretty far out of the saddle, putting her ahead of her horse. She’s a bit of a ducker even though she’s not off to the side. If she evened out her angles a little more—closing her knee angle by sliding her leg back a bit and consciously opening her hip angle—she’d find her balance to be a lot better in the air.
Release: She’s using a nice short crest release into the neck, which is good. With her hip angle closed so much, her elbows need somewhere to go, so they are sticking out a little too much. If her hip angle was more open, her elbows would not be exaggerated outwards.
Upper body: Her eyes are good, looking ahead to the next fence. Her back is also good even though she is a bit of a ducker. Lots of times, ducking can go with a roached back, but she has not gotten to that extreme.
Horse: The horse, who looks like a warmblood-cross, has a sweet face and cute expression. He’s not classic with his front end, but he is good with his bascule. I’d like to see the forearms level. I don’t mind if a horse’s lower legs are a little loose, but I’d like to see the forearms parallel to the ground.
Turnout: The turnout is pretty good. Her clothes fit well and the tack fits properly. It’s hard to tell in a photo, but it seems like everything could use more shine. Her boots could use more polish and the horse’s coat could have more bloom.
This article was originally published in the Spring 2019 issue.