Jump­ing Clinic With Ge­orge Mor­ris

Practical Horseman - - CONTENTS -

Four solid crest re­leases

1I like this rider and she has a good po­si­tion, but my first im­pres­sion is that she is loose. To fix that, I sug­gest that she shorten her leather one hole be­cause the an­gle be­hind her knee is too open and I sense that she’s reach­ing for the iron, which can desta­bi­lize the leg. Then she needs to work with­out stir­rups a few times a week or have a qual­i­fied per­son longe her with­out stir­rups. I’d also like to see her twist her iron so the out­side branch leads the in­side, which will make her leg more solid and im­prove its aes­thet­ics.

The rider’s seat is out of the sad­dle just enough and her back is flat—she has beau­ti­ful up­per-body con­trol. This is an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of a short re­lease, where there is a bro­ken line from the rider’s el­bow to the horse’s mouth, though her el­bows are stick­ing out a bit much. In all rid­ing, the op­ti­mal con­nec­tion is a straight line from the el­bow to the mouth. To achieve that here, this rider needs to lower her hands 3–6 inches and fol­low the con­tact with a soft feel.

This is a cute horse, more of a pony type. He’s not big or scopey, but he’s got a great ex­pres­sion—his ears are up and his eyes are alert and fo­cused. He has a good front end with his knees up. He’s loose be­low the knees—I’d like to see his lower legs tighter—but his form is ac­cept­able. He’s also a flat jumper.

The horse is very well groomed and the sad­dle pad, tack and horse and rider boots are clean. This looks like it is at a show, though, and I think the rider’s turnout is more ap­pro­pri­ate for a school­ing ses­sion.

2This is a strong, gutsy rider who needs more pol­ish. The photo has a dark shadow so it’s hard to cri­tique her lower leg, but it looks cor­rect and she’s as tight as a tick. Her foot is at a right an­gle to the girth with her lit­tle toe touch­ing the out­side branch of the iron, which is lead­ing. This helps her have a sup­ple leg so she can get her heels down. Her toes are turned out and her calf is on her horse. I like that her stir­rup leather is short be­cause she needs the sup­port of the iron over this im­pos­ing, solid fence.

Her seat has dropped back in the air too much at this point in the jump. This is a de­fen­sive po­si­tion, which I un­der­stand when a horse is jump­ing this high over a fence. But a seat that is too deep en­cour­ages a roached back like this, which can also be weak. The rider is show­ing a long crest re­lease, which is OK for this lit­tle horse who is mak­ing a big ef­fort. She is mak­ing sure not to re­strict him at all—he has un­lim­ited free­dom. Her hand po­si­tion would be bet­ter if she low­ered them 4–6 inches and fol­lowed his mouth in the air.

This horse is a very good jumper and looks like he tries his heart out. His sym­met­ri­cal knees are point­ing down, which isn’t great, but he’s so care­ful with them. Horses who try this much don’t have to have ex­em­plary front ends.

The turnout is rough. The horse’s mane is long and the sad­dle pad isn’t at­trac­tive. The rider’s shirt is un­tucked and her hair is out.

Ge­orge H. Mor­ris is the for­mer chef d’Žquipe of the U.S. Eques­trian Fed­er­a­tion Show Jump­ing Team. He serves on the USEF Na­tional Jumper Com­mit­tee and Plan­ning Com­mit­tee, is an ad­viser to the USEF High­Per­for­mance Show Jump­ing Com­mit­tee and is pres­i­dent of the Show Jump­ing Hall of Fame.

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