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Jumping Clinic with George Morris

George Morris critiques a rider's position and turnout.
666-Misty Pleiness Photo by Cody Brown (Not Pro)

This rider has a serious leg problem—she grips with her knee, which acts as a pivot, causing her lower leg to slip back and her heel to come up. This leaves her susceptible to falling off if her horse were to prop or stop. She needs to stabilize her leg on the flat by dropping the weight in her heel and distributing the contact evenly between her calf, inner knee bone and thigh. Working in two-point would help strengthen her leg. I like the placement of the stirrup iron because it is perpendicular to the girth and the little toe touches the outside branch. This helps make her leg suppler and more beautiful.

The second problem that occurs when a rider grips with her knee is that the upper body goes up or forward. This rider’s seat is way too far out of the saddle. I call it standing up in the air and it’s categorized as jumping ahead. However, she has a flat back and her eyes are looking up and ahead. I sense, though, that she’s a little stiff in her posture and her arm. From her shoulder to her elbow to her hand to the horse’s mouth, there’s too much restriction. The horse’s neck is too short and he’s not free enough. He needs to be able to poke out his head and neck for better balance, which would improve his jump. One fix for this is that her trainer could longe her without stirrups to supple her arm while encouraging her to give and take with her hands. Then when she approaches the fence, she can add her leg as necessary and give with her hands.

The horse has a decent eye and ear, though he looks like he could be a little difficult. I like his left front leg much better than the right, but he looks like he has scope to jump a bigger fence.

He is very clean and in good weight. The tack is clean as are her boots and breeches. The secret of good horsemanship is cleanliness.

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