Staying out in the hunt field, a terrific picture of a massive grey horse with a member of the hunt in action. I very much like the big square post that has been placed on the top of this fence. It keeps the fence there for the purpose intended but makes for a nice safe jump for the horse to see.
This rider has let her leg slide back over the top of this fence as her very large horse sails across it. No, she is not going to win any equitation class with a leg position like this but you will see a lot of this in pictures of riders at the highest levels. This is not an excuse, just a fact.
This rider rides with a little longer stirrup; the angle behind the knee should be in the 110 degree range; here it’s about 170. It would help if she adjusted her foot in the stirrup so that the ball of the foot was across the branch of the stirrup iron. I don’t think that she is trying to find her stirrup here – I think when she closed her hip angle to stay light on her horse’s back her leg flew back with the thrust of the horse’s jump. She is trying to stay with the horse making such an exaggerated jumping effort.
I love her nice flat back with her eyes staring right between her horse’s ears for the track ahead, and her release is wonderful. It looks like a crest release but if you look closer she is not pressing into her horse’s neck for support or to hold her position. She doesn’t need that. She may be pinching with her knee but she’s not going anywhere. If she were to lower her hands alongside her horse’s neck there would be a lovely automatic release with straight line from elbow to bit complete with a loop in the reins.
This is a wonderful example of a horse jumping well and using the head and neck. Or is it jumping well because it is using the head and neck and back? Your choice. The horse’s knees are up nice and even and fairly tight below them with the right tighter then the left. The height this horse is giving this somewhat small fence is superb. What I like most is it looks so easy and natural for this horse with its ears pricked like it’s a walk in the park.
I very much like the nice plain snaffle bit. The rider is dressed well, as one must be to be properly attired for the hunt. Her nicely fitting tall boots look like they were just shined but that she and her horse have been through some mud recently, and I am sure this horse was clean as can be when they arrived at the meet. Another great shot taken while out on the hunt field. This rider’s position is really very nice and for so many reasons. The classical style works in and out of the show ring and this is proof that a proper position makes not only for a lovely picture, but better horsemanship.
Let’s start with her leg position. Her foot is placed in textbook style in and on the stirrup iron with the ball of her foot across the iron with her little toe touching the outside branch. She has plenty of flexion in her ankles, showing us plenty of weight in her heels. Her leg is in a good position with the toe of her boot in line with the back of the girth. Her knee angle is just about right as her stirrup length is ideal. Her seat is well out of the saddle from her horse’s jump, and her hips are well behind the pommel of the saddle. She rides with a nice flat back with her eyes up.
She has let her shoulders drop just a bit as she executes a lovely automatic release with her hands alongside her horse’s neck making for a perfect straight line from elbow to bit. She has a light feel of her horse’s mouth without resistance.
This cute, compact, seal-brown horse is jumping well. His knees are up and very nicely together. He is a little loose below the knee but he is using his head and neck as he stretches across with a fairly flat back, making a nice smooth jump for the rider.
The horse looks to be in great condition with plenty of shine to his coat, his tail is well maintained and his mane is pulled to a nice safe and easy-to-plait length.
The rider is dressed in proper hunt attire with a well-fitting hunt coat, canary breeches and tall, shiny black boots. I like that her hair is contained and the dark gloves work as well. All three pictures complement this month’s issue, marking the start of the hunt season. This was fun. Keep sending in those pictures. ■