This is a beautiful picture of a horse and rider team who look as if they can perform. If I were grading them, I'd give the rider a 96 and her horse a 93.
The rider's leg is exemplary. She's riding with stirrups that are short enough; and this, coupled with an educated leg, gives her correctly closed knee and ankle angles. The stirrup iron hangs perpendicular to the horse, not to the foot, and is perfectly placed on the ball of the rider's foot, with her little toe touching the outside branch. Her heel is down, and her lower leg has contact with the horse.
Her base of support is correct because she's let the horse throw her out of the saddle. Her flat, relaxed back shows a little hollow. She's looking straight ahead in a natural way.
She's demonstrating a light short release, with her stick held properly.
Her horse is attractive, with alert eyes and ears. His front end is beautiful: He's using his head and neck very well, and his knees are way up. He's a little loose below the knees, but his jump is round and he's using his hocks well.
The braiding job and mud tail are neatly done. Horse and rider are clean and everything fits, showing quality.
Reprinted from the August 1988 issue of Practical Horseman magazine. Is this photo of you? Email Practical.Horseman@EquiNetwork.com, and we'll identify you!