Although this photo is a little too head-on to be ideal, it's a beautiful picture. The young rider looks surprisingly professional: she's very relaxed, her expression is positive, and her position is outstanding. She and her teacher can iron out her few little faults easily.
She has beautiful conformation for riding: long legs and short waist. Her leg is exemplary—heel down, calf in contact with the horse, foot correctly placed on the stirrup—but her too-open knee angle shows that she's standing up and jumping ahead of her horse. That's a habit she needs to correct; I'd like to see her base much closer to the saddle and her body simply folding through the hips.
I'd guess she's looking up and ahead, but her hat is covering her eyes. It's important to have a hat that fits and doesn't restrict your vision.
Although her hands should be alongside the crest rather than slightly above, she's a very good rider overall. I suspect the mannered hand position and the jumping ahead of her horse come from showing.
Her pony is marvelous. His face is dainty, his eyes and ears look alert and willing, and he's round as a little ball.
Even this pair's turnout is first-rate. This is how I like to see young children dressed—in coat and leggings, fitted and immaculate. The pony is spotless, his braid job is perfect, and the safety stirrups are fine. All in all, a classy picture.
This article originally appeared in the February 1987 issue of Practical Horseman magazine. Is this photo of you? Email Practical.Horseman@EquiNetwork.com, and we'll identify you!