This rider’s lower leg is exemplary: heel down, toe up, foot properly placed in the stirrup, lower calf on the horse. Her stirrup leather, perpendicular to the ground, shows me her leg is right where it should be, not sliding back.
Her base of support is perfect, with seat and thigh clearly off her horse’s back but neither too far out of nor in front of the saddle. Her posture is equally impressive: back flat and supple, eyes and head up.
The only thing marring this girl’s presentation is her mannered, too-high crest release. She needs to lower her hands about two inches, press them into her horse’s neck and rest some weight on them. Doing that would make her a position judge’s dream.
As is, however, her high hand position accentuates her horse’s high, stiff head position. He’s a lovely animal, but not a terrific jumper: His back is so flat that he looks hollow, and he’s stepping over this fence without using his neck or body at all. His knees are up, but he’s loose and uneven below them. In addition, he’s swinging his legs to the left (his knees are closer to the camera than his cannons or hooves). This could mean he’s sore, or it could just be his style; either way, though, it’s not a desirable jumping form.
This pair’s turnout is admirable. Horse and rider sparkle with cleanliness, and both her clothes and his tack are fitted well and in quite good taste.
Reprinted from the June 1993 issue of Practical Horseman magazine. Is this photo of you? Email [email protected], and we’ll identify you.