If you were going to look for a jumping horse, as they call our horses here in Wharton, the pictures above would be a pretty good guide. The horse’s knees, should be up to their chest, parallel and tight. An honest horse takes the center of the jump and Feather is pretty close.
The horse should be using her body, the neck rounded, the shoulders strong and the hind quarter propelling the horse over the jump athletically. The rider should be evenly balanced in the saddle, and not interfering with the horse. The top picture is a pretty good picture. Lauren’s position could be slightly improved but anyone witnessing their rounds would know that Feather was jumping hard and landing hard. Lauren was doing an admirable job of staying with the mare on the slam, bang assault of the jump course.
The second shot is good of Feather showing her natural jumping ability. I think Lauren’s leg dropped back a tad here with the size of the jump (or at least as high as Feather is jumping).
The third picture shows Lauren in a better position. Her leg is in a better place, with the stirrup sitting about even with where her little toe is ( I know this as I have x-ray vision). Her leg is exactly where it should be, with her heel deep. She is almost pulling off an advanced release where there is a straight line from her elbow to Feather’s mouth. That is nice.
And finally, the horse and rider must be in harmony, moving as a unit through the various jumps on course with the horse sensing a change in direction, in pace, in stride almost as quickly as the rider thinks it. Feather is growing in her ability to jump high, in her experience over different types of fences and in her communication with Lauren.
And you thought I was just going to show you some more horse pictures! Lauren came in while I was writing this and said “who do you think you are? George Morris?” Oh, I wish, Lauren. You would be a better rider then!