Lauren Teddy and Jet—September 2, 2011
From: Judge Carol Dean-Porter
This attractive chestnut horse is well turned out. His bridle appears to fit correctly and the Dee snaffle is a nice choice for the hunter ring. Your martingale is adjusted properly. Your saddle has slipped back a bit, my suspicion is that you did not tighten the girth prior to walking into the ring.
Always check saddle placement and girth tightness prior to jumping. If necessary get off and reset the saddle, remembering to pull the pad up into the gullet of the saddle to avoid pressure on the withers. This horse probably has wide shoulders, which helps the saddle to slip backwards also. You may need to add a non slip girth and/or a non slip pad or chamois.
Your stirrups are about a hole too long. You can see that your knee angle is open and you lack depth in your heel. You have broken over close to the neck in order to try to stay over his center of balance. Adjust the saddle forward about 6 inches and your job will be much easier! You are doing a good job of controlling your body despite this handicap. Your release is too short, however. You can see that your elbow angle is almost all the way closed and your elbows are pointing back towards your hips instead of down. Your hands are just about under your chest instead of under your face. Relax your arm. Remember that the elbow is a shock absorber and your arm should follow the mouth rather than restrict it.
I can’t tell for sure with the standard in the way, but suspect the distance was pretty long to this little oxer. The horse is unfolding early and “reaching” for the back rail and has a somewhat concerned expression. In addition, his pace may have been a bit slow, making the jumping effort more difficult. Remember to keep an active leg aid as your horse approaches the fence and especially as he starts to leave the ground.
He does not lower his neck much, but the rider’s very short release is restricting his ability to stretch his nose and neck down.
This looks like a solid and competent pair who will enjoy plenty of success in the show ring!
From: Judge Rob Gage
Jet is very good with his knees, which makes him a safe jumper. Even if he were to hit the pole, his front hoofs would simply fold back, with absolutely no danger of an accident.
If I were judging Jet in the hunters, I would prefer if he folded his front legs more tightly, and even dropped his head down a little more. He jumps more like a good equitation horse.
Lauren has a fantastic leg & foot. Many top medal riders would be envious of her leg position. However, I am somewhat disappointed, that with such a super leg, that Lauren hasn’t done a better job of supporting her upper body above Jet’s neck!
Look closely at her elbow angle. The angle is way too closed, caused by: her upper body being too close to Jet’s mane, and that her release is TOO SHORT! She needs to slide her hands & forearms forward more, until her hands are just about underneath her own chin. In this photo, I believe she is actually restricting Jet’s ability & desire to stretch his head down & out.
It wouldn’t hurt for Lauren to try some super long releases while practicing at home. I would ask that she try to reach almost all the way to Jet’s ears!! Of course, I wouldn’t want her to do this in the show ring….it’s just an exercise so she gains the feel & independence of her hands & arms.