Jumping Clinic with George Morris

George Morris critiques an eventer's position.
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665-Mandy Dumas Monique Ravesloot (Not Pro)

This rider has quite a good leg. About one-quarter of her foot is in the stirrup iron and her little toe is correctly touching the outside branch. I’d like to see that branch lead the inside so the iron is perpendicular to the girth, not her foot. Her heels are down and her toes are turned out the maximum 45 degrees. Her leg has slipped back a little, but that could be partly because this is a bit of an awkward jumper who is making it hard for her to hold her leg.

Her base of support is excellent. You don’t see as much jumping ahead with eventers as you do with hunter riders. This is partly because they ride with shorter stirrup leathers so they aren’t reaching for their irons. Even with the safety vest, I can tell that she has a flat back—it is not too soft or stiff. Her eyes are looking up and ahead. I like the hand placement of her long crest release. This release gives the horse the maximum freedom of his head and neck while the rider’s hands press into the neck to support her upper body. But I’m sure my close friend [the late] Billy Steinkraus is looking down from wherever he is with his hair standing on end because he was so opposed to the crest release. He believed riders must always strive for the automatic release, where they lower their hands down the neck to form a straight line from the elbow to the horse’s mouth and maintain a following contact.

This horse doesn’t have the brightest expression and his head is average with a thick throatlatch. His forearms are parallel to the ground, but he’s quite loose below his knees. He’s a little flat, but he has some thrust—he’s jumping higher to compensate for his front end.

I’m not a fan of the turnout, which is too rough and ready for my taste. The horse doesn’t look as if he’s been trimmed and his mane needs to be pulled. I don’t like the maroon saddle pad or the casual blue shirt. 

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