Our second picture is taken at just the right time. The horse is at the top of his arch where the rider should be in the best possible position to aid him in the jumping effort.
The first thing I would say to this rider is: “sit up”. She is doing so much right here and all she needs is some outside help to improve her position. First thing I would do is shorten her stirrups a couple of holes. Notice that her knee angle is almost completely open and her knee is nowhere near the knee roll of the saddle. Her foot is too far into the stirrup iron and this does not help her to push her heels down – especially as she is reaching for the pedals to start with.
So, with a shorter stirrup length and proper placement of her foot in the stirrup she would be able to have the flexion in her ankles for plenty of weight in her heels. Her knee would be forced up into the knee roll of the saddle for a much more effective position. That in turn would make her seat a little lighter in the saddle and allow her to open her hip angle, which will make her taller.
I very much like her release; she will just have to adjust her rein length to accommodate her new position. She has been taught the basics and is not a bad rider by any means. Notice that her leg is in the perfect position with the toe of her boot in line with the front of the girth. Her lower leg is against her horse, as is her inner thigh. She is almost the opposite of our first rider this month; have a look at the two different riders’ seats and you will see what I mean.
This young lady is lying down on her horse’s neck; she is much too low with her upper body over the top of the jump. That can become a serious problem when you start to jump combinations, as the recovery time is not fast enough and you don’t want to get left in the back seat with the jumps coming up too quickly. She needs to open her hip angle and ride taller and that will help bring her hips more underneath her instead of behind her.
This horse is jumping just fine. He is a little loose with his legs below the knee but nothing bad; he doesn’t look terribly impressed with this little brick wall.
The horse seems to be well looked after. There is some shine to his coat under the unique clip job. The rider’s boots are polished to a lovely shine and I like the nice thick saddle pad for schooling. This saddle looks a bit too small for this rider, and of course I would like to see her long hair contained somehow for a neater look, while a pair of gloves is always nice to see. In this picture it looks as if someone is schooling in their back yard. It is so nice to have well-constructed jumps at your disposal. This young lady has her leg in a very good position with her lower leg right at the girth. She has her heels down with her foot placed properly in the stirrup iron. However, her knee angle is too open and I think that shortening her stirrups would remedy this. The fact that she can get her heels down so well tells us that she is not reaching for the stirrups, but the knee angle tells us they would help her position if they were a bit shorter. Her seat is a little too far out of the saddle, with her hips slightly forward. I would like to see her lower her seat just a bit but still ride with the beautiful flat back she shows here.
With her seat a little far out of the saddle, she may be jumping ahead just a little or anticipating the jump. Notice how her elbows are sticking out to the side? When she lowers her seat, she can bring her release back to the crest of her horse’s neck, bringing her elbows in and creating a nice straight line from elbow to bit. She is a tall, slender rider on a somewhat small horse, though, and her overall position, taking that into consideration, is really quite good.
The horse is jumping this vertical in great form. His knees are up around his chin and he is clearing it with ease. Vertical jumps are tough, especially without a ground line to help the horse with the take-off.
This short-coupled horse is using himself very well and is in beautiful condition, with a well pulled mane. They make a nice-looking pair; I like the fact that the rider has contained her very long hair so it is not flying around, and of course I like the gloves.