This is an outstanding photograph. The rider is clearly framed for critiquing, and her form is top-notch.


Her leg is just about perfect: stirrup on the ball of her foot, ankle flexed, toe out between 15 and 45 degrees, heel down. Her just-right knee angle tells me her stirrup length is correct for this 3-foot or 3-foot-3 fence.

Her seat is exemplary, too. She’s allowed the force of her horse’s jump to throw her forward and up out of the saddle, and she’s avoided the upper-body faults we see so often: jumping ahead, ducking and dropping back in the saddle.

Her head and eyes are up, and her back is flat and relaxed, neither hollow and stiff nor rounded–a very natural, elegant posture.

Her hands, in a very good short release, are resting on and pressing into the crest. This release lets her maintain a slack contact with her horse’s mouth, as opposed to the loose rein of a long release or the taut contact of an automatic release.

Her horse has beautiful, expressive eyes and ears and a lovely neck. He’s a round jumper, using his head and neck and back well. His knees, however, are uneven. This form isn’t dangerous, but it isn’t great, either.

Horse and rider look neat and clean and conservative. Hoof polish would really make them shine.

Reprinted from the December 1996 issue of Practical Horseman magazine. Is this photo of you? Email, and we’ll identify you!

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