I love this rider. She is a study in correctness and in how all the angles of the body should work.
Her leg is very good, with her heel down, ankle flexed and calf resting lightly on her horse’s side. This ideal calf contact arises because she has distributed the contact in her leg equally between her inner thigh, inner knee bone and inner calf. Her knee angle lets me know she is using the correct stirrup length to get support from her stirrups. For a more supple feel of her horse, her toe could touch the outside branch of the iron, but there’s nothing wrong with her foot here.
Her base of support–her seat and thigh–is just right. She’s allowed her horse’s thrust to lift her buttocks out of the saddle just enough to free his back. Her hip angle has closed just enough so that she and he remain on the same path over this fence, and thus in balance with one another.
The slight hollowness I see under her number tells me her back is flat and relaxed in accordance with her conformation. Although her helmet shadows her eyes, her concentrated expression and head-up appearance tell me those eyes are already trained on the next fence, as they should be.
Her arms and legs reflect an understanding of how the parts of a rider’s body must work together and allow form to produce function. Here she is using a correct crest release, with relaxed arms halfway up her horse’s neck, pressing the weight of her upper body into his crest for support. Her fingers are relaxed but closed on the rein, so she remains in control.
This rider looks as if she understands the mechanics of riding–why this part has to be placed here, why this body angle should look like this–and I congratulate her. Like me, she probably spends time studying the classic books on horsemanship.
Her horse is an attractive fellow who seems happy with his job.
This pair is ideally turned out, with no flash or sloppiness to detract from their workmanlike, tidy appearance.
Reprinted from the May 1996 issue of Practical Horseman magazine. Is this photo of you? Email Practical.Horseman@EquiNetwork.com, and we’ll identify you!