This intermediate rider is doing her job very well and shows promise for advancement. Her leg is very good, with the stirrup leather perpendicular to the ground and her foot correctly placed in the iron. This, in turn, has allowed her to use a proper leg position, with her heel down, ankle flexed and toe out in accordance with her conformation.
Her base of support, too, is correct, thanks to her correct stirrup length and strong leg position. Her seat is out of the saddle but her crotch is close to it, and her back is flat. Her head is up, and she is looking for her next fence.
Her short crest release is well done and serves as a nice comparison between its purpose—providing upper-body support—and that of the automatic release. The crest release is appropriate for this intermediate rider.
This looks like a nice, serviceable horse. He has stood way off from this fence, so he is bellying across it with a flat back and reaching legs, but he is bold and safe. He isn’t a horse who has the form to win top hunter classes, but he looks like a good partner for this rider, offering a safe, capable mount while she learns.
The rider looks very nice, and her horse and tack are clean and well cared for. Regular readers know my preference for always braiding, no matter how small the show, because I want to be the best and look the best out of any competitors, every time. I wish more people felt that way, as presentation can make the difference between a really good effort and a great one.
This article originally appeared in the September 2009 issue of Practical Horseman magazine. Is this photo of you? Email Practical.Horseman@EquiNetwork.com, and we'll identify you!