This rider has a very good position, though her leg is back a little too far. Her heel is down, her ankle is flexed, her toes are turned out as her conformation allows—anywhere between 15 and 45 degrees is acceptable. The iron is perfectly placed—it’s not too far back on her foot and her little toe is touching the outside branch. Her lower leg is quite far behind the girth, but I’m not sure if that’s because her leg has slipped. It may be because of the way the girth attaches to the saddle. I suggest she ride on the flat and over low fences without stirrups. It’s very difficult to ride without stirrups and not have your leg fall into the correct place.
Her seat is about right. The thrust of the horse has thrown her out of the saddle just enough. She has a good natural posture with a slight concavity in the loins. Her eyes are looking up and ahead. I like her hand because it’s below the crest, showing that she’s working toward an automatic release. While the line from her elbow to the horse’s mouth is not straight, it’s close. The rein is soft, not taut, and she has a light contact with the horse’s mouth.
I love this horse’s expression. It’s very content with his ears up and eyes soft and looking ahead. I like that he’s stretching toward the bit, showing some bascule. His knees are up and symmetrical, but he’s loose below them. I’m a little suspicious that he could hang a leg over a bigger vertical or fixed fence. But his loose lower leg also could be because he’s basically just taking one big canter stride over this low fence; if the fence were bigger, he might put in more of an effort.
He’s in good weight and clean. His tail is braided, though his mane looks as if it could be pulled. I don’t love colors, but at least the saddle pad, his boots and her vest coordinate and they aren’t too loud.
This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue.