You couldn’t have a better leg than this girl’s: Contact is distributed between her thigh, inner knee and lower leg. Her knee angle is closed correctly, as is her ankle angle, with her heel flexed down and in. Her stirrup is on the ball of her foot, her little toe touching the outside branch. The stirrup is perpendicular to the horse, not to the rider’s foot.


While her stirrups are the correct length for this little fence, making them half a hole shorter would give this long rider on a narrow horse a more compressed look and increased support for larger fences.

Her base is exemplary, out of the saddle just enough. Her posture is beautiful, with a flat back and slightly hollow loins. Her eyes and head are up.

She’s using a crest release between long and short very well, resting and pressing her hands on the crest of her horse’s neck. While she’s correct, lowering her hands slightly would reduce the broken line above the mouth and put her on the way to an automatic release. (That’s not a criticism–if I were judging her, she’d score well in the 90s.)

This horse has a kind expression, alert through his eyes and ears. He’s using his head and neck well, but he points his knees down and is very loose below them. His hind end trails out behind him.

The girl’s boots are high enough, everything fits, and both horse and rider are clean. The mud tail is very well done.

Reprinted from the April 1989 issue of Practical Horseman magazine. Is this photo of you? Email, and we’ll identify you!

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