Jumping Clinic with Hillbilly Farms

Winning the Battle Against Perfection


This rider needs a stronger leg position, with her leg more in front of her, to prevent her from sliding to the back of the saddle. This will also help her stay secure when her horse pecks on landing. To achieve a stronger leg position she needs to bring her feet more out of the stirrups so she can put more weight in her heels. And she needs to do many hours of work without stirrups.

This rider has a straight line from her shoulder to the bit. This is becoming quite common in the show arena as riders neglect to position their upper bodies correctly and must compensate by throwing their hands forward to stay with the movement of their horses' heads. Her back is flat, but her eyes are closed. If she makes it over this fence, she is going to need to open her eyes and look for her next fence.

What this horse lacks in style, he makes up for in enthusiasm. The look on his face tells me he is keen to jump and eager to please. He is exhibiting an unusual superman style over this tiny fence. His knees are up and so are his hooves. He has rotated his left knee out, showing us the bottom of his left hoof. His tidy hind end tells me that he is trying hard to clear this jump, but that he has no idea where the jump actually is.

This pair's turnout is on par with their abilities. Sleeveless shirts are not acceptable at any level. This rider should replace everything in her wardrobe with more appropriate attire.

Bad Angle

The angle of the photo makes it difficult to assess this rider's leg. Her heels are down, her toes are up, and her stirrup irons are at right angles to the girth. However, her legs appear to be too straight. She needs to close her leg angles and keep her seat a little closer to the saddle.

This rider's back is flat and she is looking up. Her hands are even and well spaced, but they are too far from her horse's neck. The line from her elbow to the bit is broken and she has caught her horse in the mouth. Until she learns to be a more tactful rider, I suggest she grab mane or a jump strap to provide support for her upper body.

This horse appears to be a capable jumper, but prone to making executive decisions. I would like to see a bit more effort from him at this moderately sized fence.

The turnout of this pair is sufficient. The horse's white coat is spotless, but the rider should have her boots dusted off before she enters the arena and when she exits.

Dual Release

This rider's toes are pointing down and his knee angle is too open. He should focus on getting his weight into his heels. This will help close his knee angle and allow his body to come back a bit closer to the saddle. A solid base of support will allow him to maintain his balance over the fence.

His back is flat, but he is looking down and to the left. This has caused him to shift his weight too far forward and as a result he is jumping ahead. He is attempting an automatic release with his right hand. There is a fairly straight line from his right elbow to the bit, but I would like to see his hand positioned further away from the bit. With his left hand he is demonstrating an exagerated crest release, with his hand floating above the horse's crest. Until he develops a stronger base of support, he should use a proper crest release, with both hands.

This horse appears to be a very capable jumper. His rider has misjudged the distance and as a result, the horse is taking off too close to the base of the jump. But he is making a valiant effort at maintaining his form while balancing a rider on his head.

The turnout of this pair is adequate. I can't see the horse's hooves through the cloud of dust, but I am guessing that they need a polish, as do the rider's boots. His clothing is neat and conservative but a traditional black helmet would complete the picture. It is these small details that many people overlook but that make the difference between turnout that is tacky and turnout that is sufficient.

Hillbilly Farms welcomes "Jumping Clinic" entries, but we only want to make fun of willing participants so please only send photos of yourself. And our critiquer has a considerable backlog of real work to do so if you've sent one in, please pop open a Corona and relax.

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