NZ Horse & Pony - - Jumping Clinic -

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. ■

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