Overall: I like this rider’s base of support and balance.
Leg: Her foot is in the stirrup properly. The angle in the ankle, the amount her toe is turned out and the angle behind her knee are correct, too.
Seat: I like the angle at her hip for this size fence. She looks as if she’s right with the motion of the horse, and you can see her balance is good.
Release: She’s using an automatic release, following the horse with a straight line from his mouth to her elbow. This is possible only if you have a good base of support.
Upper body: Her eyes are up and looking to next fence, which is important for balance. I think that the landing of one fence is already the approach to the next. If your eyes are down, you’re missing out on the beginning of your approach to the next fence. Her relaxed back is with the motion of horse, allowing him the freedom to jump.
Horse: It’s hard to say much about the horse’s jumping style because the fence is low and the moment shown in the photo is a little late. He looks like he has a nice jump and he wants to do his job. His expression is good and he’s looking to the next fence. It looks like you can see a little white in his eye, which I’m not a fan of because I think horses with this characteristic tend to be spooky or a little naughty. But it’s not a hard, fast rule.
Turnout: The boots could be a little shinier, and I’m not a fan of the purple saddle pad, but that’s just aesthetics; it has nothing to do with safety. I would cut the excess stirrup leather—it could flap and act a bit like a whip. Other than that, the tack and attire is certainly workmanlike.
This article was originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of Practical Horseman.
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