Jump­ing Clinic

Our show hunter guru DALE PED­ER­SON as­sesses read­ers’ pic­tures

NZ Horse & Pony - - Horse & Pony -

Our show hunter guru Dale Ped­er­son cri­tiques read­ers’ pho­to­graphs


A pic­ture taken from this an­gle re­ally gives us a good look at the rider, es­pe­cially the lower leg. It helps that it was snapped at just the right time with the horse at the top of his bas­cule.

It is plain to see that the rider’s leg has slipped back over the top of this jump. Her lower leg is nowhere near the girth. I be­lieve that the thrust of her horse’s jump has caused her leg to slip back, and it’s not from lack of a good po­si­tion. Her foot is placed per­fectly in the stir­rup iron as the ball of her foot is across the branch of the stir­rup with her lit­tle toe touch­ing the out­side branch and her toe turned out.

No­tice that even though her leg has slipped back, it is against her horse from her knee down to her heels. Her base of sup­port is ex­em­plary; she is not jump­ing ahead or fall­ing back in the air. She has plenty of weight in her stir­rups and with a strong po­si­tion like this, she won’t be com­ing off this horse any time soon.

She rides with a flat back and her eyes are up and look­ing ahead.

Low­er­ing her seat just a bit would al­low her to open her hip an­gle enough that she could use her arms bet­ter. Her re­lease is al­most an au­to­matic one with her hands along­side her horse’s neck as she fol­lows him in the air. I would like to see her el­bows come in just a bit as to not break up the line from her el­bow to the bit. I like her light con­tact; there is no ten­sion on the bit as her horse is not open­ing his mouth.

This sweet white horse is jump­ing in very cute form. His knees are up well above his belly, and they are even and to­gether. He is a lit­tle loose be­low the knee but is giv­ing this jump plenty of height with his feet to­gether. His ex­pres­sion is alert but not spooky.

This pair is turned out beau­ti­fully. There isn’t a spot on this an­i­mal that hasn’t been groomed. The rider is dressed to im­press with her lovely dark jacket and a real stock that I will bet she knows how to tie. Her boots are pol­ished to a sheen and her tack looks well looked af­ter.

It takes a lot of time and el­bow grease to get a horse look­ing like this and I as­sure you the judges will no­tice. A nicely plaited mane would re­ally add to the pic­ture.

Speak­ing of judges notic­ing things, if you look care­fully you can see that this jump is not in the cups but one end is rest­ing on the top of the gate be­low. One would have to won­der if the horse be­fore this one knocked it down and it just wasn’t no­ticed. We can be sure this horse didn’t touch the top rail; that’s for sure.


The sec­ond pic­ture this month is a cross-coun­try shot with some beau­ti­ful New Zealand coun­try­side in the back­ground. The jump is a very cool coop-like one re­sem­bling a house, but is very nar­row, so the rider must make sure they guide their horse to the cen­tre of the fence, if not a lit­tle to the left, to keep from hav­ing a run-out.

It takes a well-schooled horse to jump fences like this, as would it not be eas­ier to just go around?

This rider has an over­all great po­si­tion, start­ing with her lower leg which is al­most per­fect. The toe of her boot is in line with the front of her girth which is hard to see as her lovely leg is cov­er­ing it. Her foot is placed very nicely on the stir­rup iron with a great an­gle al­low­ing her to turn her toe out if needed to ap­ply her spur. It’s a won­der­ful leg. The only thing I would toy with is the length of her stir­rups. It looks as if her knee an­gle is open a lit­tle too much. This rider is long from her hip to her knee and her knee to her an­kle. Maybe just a half a hole up, to close that knee an­gle for an even bet­ter po­si­tion, es­pe­cially cross-coun­try.

She rides with a nice flat back with eyes up, peer­ing right over her horse’s ears to stay on track. She is us­ing a clas­sic crest re­lease with her hands to­gether press­ing into her horse’s neck, tak­ing no chances of get­ting in the way. With her weight deep in her heels along with a solid crest re­lease, she has a good solid base to ride with.

This horse is jump­ing this lit­tle house very well. His knees are up and nicely to­gether and we are able to see the bot­toms of both feet nice and even as well. The thing I like about it most is that this horse is us­ing his head, neck and back so well. He is jump­ing up across the jump and not just up and over, us­ing his en­tire body. It looks as if he was rid­den to a nice dis­tance to be able to jump like this as be­ing too close to the fence would not al­low him to use his body like this. His ears are pricked, and I very much like the fact that you can ride this horse cross­coun­try in a snaf­fle bit.

The horse looks to be very fit with plenty of mus­cle and on the lean side. His coat is a bit dull and does not have the shine one looks for on a horse who is well groomed on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

The rider is turned out very ca­su­ally with half chaps and dirty boots, but the rest of her gear looks nice. I like the dark gloves and it looks as if her hel­met fits well. Her hair is con­tained and the safety vest is great and barely no­tice­able. As for the polka-dot sad­dle cover, I’m not sure how I feel about those, but it looks well fit­ting and will pro­tect her sad­dle (and we all know what a grand in­vest­ment a sad­dle can be).


This rider looks a lit­tle cramped up on top of her horse. She is not too big for her mount by any stretch, but she needs to rider taller and longer.

Her lower leg po­si­tion is fine. She has her foot placed well in the stir­rup iron, but her knee an­gle is far too closed and she needs to lengthen her stir­rups so she can drop her leg and bring it for­ward to the girth.

Her seat is much too deep in the sad­dle for jump­ing. I would like to see her ride in a lighter seat with her but­tocks a lit­tle more up out of the sad­dle. Her hips are much too far back in the sad­dle and her hip an­gle is al­most com­pletely closed, caus­ing her up­per body to lie down on her horse’s neck.

The an­gle of her el­bows is too se­vere and she will not be able to cre­ate a straight line from her el­bow through her arm to the bit.

All that be­ing said, her over­all po­si­tion is re­ally rather good and she has been taught the most im­por­tant thing, and that is to stay out of her horse’s way.

If she dropped her stir­rups a cou­ple of holes she would be able to open her knee an­gle and drop her leg down to where it would be more ef­fec­tive. Then it will be nat­u­ral for her to ride taller. With her shoul­ders up and back, her el­bows will open and she will be able to bring her re­lease back to the withers.

Al­ways ride as tall as you can. When she sits up she will be able to keep a nice flat back and look ahead in­stead of down.

A lot of prac­tice on the flat with­out irons would be great for this rider, dis­cov­er­ing all the dif­fer­ent ways to sit on a horse. But most of all, learn­ing to stretch up and ride tall.

This cute lit­tle guy is a very safe jumper at this height. I am sure that with some gym­nas­tics, his jump­ing tech­nique could quickly im­prove. ■




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