A courageous athlete is how I would describe this rider. She has a good leg but her stirrup is too far back. The disadvantage is that this makes it hard for most riders to get their heels down for stability. She could possibly shorten her stirrup leather a half hole or hole because it looks like the angle behind her knee is a little too open, causing her to reach for her iron. When I suggest this, though, the rider has to try it out and see if it helps her riding.
Her base of support is very good with her seat clearing the saddle just enough. She is not jumping ahead or dropping back, but her hip angle is opening up a little too much in the air, which can punish the horse for using himself behind. I’d like to see her upper body more parallel to the horse’s upper body. Her posture is good and she is looking up and ahead. She is using a long crest release and taking a piece of mane. This is always good to know how to do so you can get out of your horse’s way if needed and not punish him in the mouth by pulling on it.
This looks like a young horse and he’s adorable. He has a wonderful expression with a good eye and ear. I can’t comment on his front end because he’s landing, but I suspect it’s all right. It’s hard to say if he jumps round because he’s just taking a big galloping step over this jump.
He’s a cute horse who needs to be dressed up. It would start with a body clip and training his mane to lie flat. I think horses who are ridden should be clipped and blanketed. If a horse has a long coat and he sweats, he could get sick. Then he needs to be groomed to make his coat gleam. He just looks dirty and unkempt—from his legs and boots to his muzzle to his missing bell boot. The tack also looks dirty and the black saddle pad doesn’t do anything for his looks.
This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Practical Horseman.