Lauren Maruskin and Bell—September 16, 2011
From: Judge Carol Dean-Porter
This mare is very refined for a Hanoverian. She is a lovely hunter type. Her expression is beautiful. She has a lovely crest, which will look fancy when braided up.
Double check your standing martingale adjustment and be sure to pull the upper part snug so that you don’t have a loop hanging down between the girth and the neck strap.
She has pushed off slightly unevenly from behind. Her knees are up by the bit, but you can see her lower legs unfolded and her fetlocks well in front of the knees.
Green horses like the “longish” distance because it gives them more time to lift the front legs. It is up to you to teach her how to go to the base of the fence to jump “up and around” it instead of the long and “reachy” technique.
Your leg position is excellent, providing you a secure base of support. Your stirrups may be a hole too long and your foot is very slightly too far in the iron. You have broken over a couple degrees too close to the neck for equitation purposes, but I can see you are making sure to stay right over her center of balance.
Your release is nice with a slightly loopy rein. This is loose enough to permit her to stretch her neck without interference and short enough to have contact/connection when she lands. This is especially important with green horses who do not yet know how to land and keep going in a straight line.
Take a close look at your elbow angle. When the elbow is this closed, it stiffens the arm. Be sure to keep an elastic and soft arm, which is used as a shock absorber.
I think some placing rails will help her learn where to place her feet in order to take off from the “correct” distance. This will teach her how to hold her form in the air. For a small jump of this size, lay rails out before and after the fence about 8 or 9 feet away. The rail will set her up for the jump and you won’t have to worry about trying to “package” her.
You can do a lot with just poles on the ground and graduate to little grids.
Remember how important flat work is for hunters and jumpers. Jumping a course is 150 steps of flat and 8 steps of jumps! Give her a solid foundation of basics: straight, bending, lengthening and shortening.
From: Judge Rob Gage
You look fabulous!! Your equitation looks like you just stepped out of the MACLAY Finals! Your leg & heel are great, your release is just the right place & length, and your back is flat while you hold your head up beautifully. I wouldn’t change a thing!
Your young horse is really reaching forward with her front hooves. That is a common error when a horse is faced with a long distance. To prevent those “reachy” front legs from becoming her permanent technique, try some short grids. The short distances force the horse to lift their legs more upwards and under their chest, rather than lifting them out in front of their bodies. Another very good, but simple exercise, is to trot over a single vertical, with a pole on the ground, .about 8′ away on both sides.
You look great….work on HER!