Jumping Clinic Classics: Textbook-Perfect... Knees? - Expert how-to for English Riders

Jumping Clinic Classics: Textbook-Perfect... Knees?

Take a trip down memory lane and revisit one of George Morris' classic Jumping Clinic critiques from his October 1996 column in Practical Horseman magazine.
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Here we see far and away the best leg this month: heel down, ankle flexed, calf on the horse's side and a tight, solid look. The knee angle tells us this rider's stirrup is the correct length--though I suspect (I can't be sure because of the jump standard blocking my view) she needs more toe in the iron. A quarter to a third of the foot is ideal.

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Her buttocks are a little high out of the saddle, but she's not jumping ahead of her horse (her crotch is behind the pommel), so I'm not bothered--especially as she's getting off his back over this good-sized fence.

Her lower back is beautiful: relaxed, yet flat. And her head and eyes are perfect, alert for her next fence. She's in control and on target.

My one quibble with her long release is those open fingers. If she wants to give her horse more freedom, the right way is to move her hands more forward, releasing more with her arms and shoulders. Here, the reins could too easily slip from her grasp.

Though short-necked and bull-shouldered, her horse has a textbook-perfect set of knees--high, tight, and square--and a lovely bascule; he's round from poll to dock. With that long, smooth hip balancing his ponyish front end, I wouldn't be surprised if he has good scope. And he's studying his job with a brave, honest expression.

The pair's turnout for this jumper class is adequately tidy, but more elbow grease could burnish the horse's coat.

Reprinted from the October 1996 issue of Practical Horseman magazine. Is this photo of you? Email Practical.Horseman@EquiNetwork.com, and we'll identify you!