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George Morris Critiques Photos of Top Equitation Stars

George Morris evaluates photos of riders from his 2012 Horsemastership Training Session.

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Olympic show jumper Beezie Madden is currently sitting the trot here during a demonstration ride. Her stirrup is perpendicular to the girth with the outside branch a little bit ahead of the outside branch. Her stirrups are an appropriate length for jumping dressage—not dressage-dressage; they’d be a little short. But for jumping/flatwork, they’re the appropriate length with an angle of about 110 degrees behind her knee. Her heel is lower than her toe, and her ankle is flexed. Her toes are out a shade. Her leg—by definition from her knee down—is in a perfect position with her inside leg just in back of the girth. If we could see it, her outside leg would be behind this leg about a hand’s width.

As for her base of support—all parts touching the saddle that she relies on for support—you’ll notice that she sits closer to the front than to the back of the saddle. She’s resting on her crotch and two seat bones, not on her buttock. Her buttock is out to the rear; she’s not tucking it under like you see a lot of riders do. This gives her a base of support that allows her to hollow her loins. Just about where she would be wearing a belt, there’s a slight concavity there. Her chest is up, her shoulders are relaxed, her head is up and she’s looking in the direction she’s going and sometimes at her horse with an instructive look at the neck to see where the poll is at the moment. When we ride, first we look where we’re going like driving a car, but as you get better, you also watch the poll to see your horse’s head and neck placement.

Beezie demonstrates a perfectly straight line from her elbow to her horse’s mouth. There’s a definite contact as you see by the taut rein. Her hands are very steady, but there’s an elasticity, a suppleness, to her arm and rein.

Because Beezie’s position is exemplary, her horse’s hind legs are very active as she makes this turn. Her horse is going from behind to the bit, and this is a nice place for a jumper’s head: Her head is in front of the vertical, and her poll is elevated. The horse should not be above or below the bit. She is very, very correct for jumping on the bit. Dressage people would want the horse a little deeper, with her nose a little closer to the vertical, but we don’t have to have that.

See more rider photo critiques in "Advanced Rider Critiques" in the April 2012 issue of Practical Horseman magazine.

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Posted in Collegiate Riding, English, Hunter/Jumper, Riding & Training | | 1 Comment

One Response to “George Morris Critiques Photos of Top Equitation Stars”

  1. [...]  You want me to listen to the delightfully cantankerous George Morris critique famous eq riders for an hour or two? I think I can make the [...]

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