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Jumping Clinic Extra with George Morris

Show-jumping legend George Morris evaluates top young riders.

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Gabrielle Bausano
Gabrielle’s stirrup is a little too far out on her foot. She needs to bring it back a quarter of an inch or so for support. But her heel is down, and her calf is in contact with the horse’s side. Her seat is too far out of the saddle, though she’s not jumping ahead. Her hands are in a great position, because they’re alongside the neck. It’s not a perfectly straight line, but it’s close. It shows she’s independent of the neck and crest for balance.

The horse is very tight in front and very round from head to tail with a beautiful bascule.

Photos © Stacey Nedrow-Wigmore

Top equitation riders spent five days under the watchful eye of show-jumping legend and equitation master George Morris at his namesake Horsemastership Training Session in early January 2013 in Wellington, Florida. Its goal is to give the country's best young riders a chance to learn and review horsemanship skills needed to be international champions. The session covers a wide spectrum of riding, training and horse care.

In this article, George shares his observations about the 12 riders' positions, both on the flat and over fences. He notes that all of them have beautiful postures, looking up and ahead with their eyes. Several have ideal conformation for athletic riding—long legs from hip to knee and knee to heel and

short waists. But more important than rider build is solid basics. Regardless of level, all riders must be vigilant about developing and maintaining strong positions that allows them to engage their horses' hind ends and create definite, yet elastic, contact. The results are uphill horses with round bascules who have been prepared to jump their best.

See more rider critiques in the April 2013 issue of Practical Horseman magazine.

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