In the world of equestrians, more time than not we are concerned with how we look over fences. In many ways, this has become more of an aesthetic quality as opposed to a quality that displays how in balance a rider is with their horse. I often tell my students that equitation is an evolving matter because there is no ONE perfect equitation form, regardless of what modern times tell you.
Each horse, each size jump, each type of jump, whether you are even jumping or not, all calls for different levels of equitation. As an eventer, I recognize that even on a single cross-country course, there are multiple types of equitation I practice (sometimes, not as well as I would hope.)
However, it is something I try and take seriously, as I know it affects my horse’s comfort, balance, and job tremendously. So, let’s take a look at 2 separate photos of me jumping and criticize what is correct and incorrect!
Here's a picture of me during a Preliminary stadium course. I would say this is a pretty typical image of me jumping. Here's a few things I notice
-I like where my chest is. I like the fact I am sitting up and out of AJ's way.
-I like my hands. I do a bit more of a "crest" release because I find that when I go for a full release, my body tilts too far forward. I am very short torso-ed, so it is better for me to sacrifice my automatic release for a stable and balanced upper body.
-I do not like the fact that my leg has slipped back. It's not awful, but I have gone to my knee and pinched, thus making my leg swing slightly back.
-I do not like that it looks as if I have gone to my spur. My toe is turned out and my heel is slightly up, indicating that I was spurring in the air. AJ gets a bit "looky" (in a good way) in stadium, so I assume I am reacting in response to that as opposed to just staying relaxed in air with a deep leg.
This picture is from a Preliminary cross-country round. Now, this is a C element to a combination. A was a log into the water, B was a bank up to a 1-stride to this C element.
-I've obviously gotten a little left behind. My booty is in my saddle and I am slightly behind AJ's motion. I believe I was a little left behind because of a long-spot out of the water and had to push AJ on to make the striding here. I have a habit of getting in the back-seat of my saddle and yee-hawing on when I get into sticky situations. But, #eventerproblems. I would always rather get a little left behind on XC anyways, so I am not too unhappy with this.
-My hands are slightly up. Because of this, I am probably creating some unnecessary tension for AJ. However, my reins are long enough that it doesn't seem to be bothering him.
-Again, my toe is a little further out than it needs to be, but at least it looks like my heel is deeper and my leg is a bit stronger here than in the first image.
-My body still looks pretty good and upright. And best of all, AJ looks very comfortable and relaxed.
If you want me to critique your images, send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Send it as an attachment JPG or JPEG, give me your name, your horse's name, a snippet of your history together, and your goals!