This photo is going to strike some readers as old-fashioned and perhaps irrelevant, but it is a wonderful example of a correct, balanced forward seat and a lovely example of a rider’s position. While this rider’s leg is not as supple as the modern leg position, thanks to its jammed heel, foot home in the iron and stiff ankle, it is very secure and tight. I learned to ride with this military-style leg and can attest to its security.
Her stirrup length is ideal, allowing her to follow her horse with a textbook-perfect base of support. His thrust has lifted her slightly out of the saddle as her ankle angle opens and her hip closes, leaving her in perfect harmony with him, neither ahead of nor behind his motion.
Her posture is excellent as well, with a flat back, relaxed shoulders, head up and eyes looking between her horse’s ears. Her release offers him maximum freedom through a slackened rein, while her hand presses into his crest, supporting her upper body.
This horse has a lovely expression and a kind eye. His knees are up, although he is loose below them. He looks like a capable jumper, loping easily over this 3-foot-6 fence, but he strikes me as a horse who would make a crisper effort over larger fences.
The lack of sophistication in the dated tack, messy hair on the rider and lumpy braids on her horse are all unappealing to our modern sensibility, but this horse’s cleanliness and good weight attest to good horse management.
Reprinted from the December 2002 issue of Practical Horseman magazine. Is this photo of you? Email [email protected], and we’ll identify you.
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