Ronnie Hodgkinson and Willy Jump the Moon—October 28, 2011
From: Guest Judge Deborah Rosen
I know the Woodside event very well, so first, Ronnie, let me congratulate you on your move- up to Training Level on this impressive course!
Overall, this is an incredible photo. This large table is towards the end of the course and “Willy” is jumping with excellent form and looking keenly onward. You have obviously done a good job with his fitness and preparation. He is respectful, but not overly impressed, illustrating to me that you have not overfaced him. While it looks in the photo like he might be leaving his hind end trailing a bit, I believe a frame or two later would show him snapping it up in fine style!
Your position is wonderful. Head up, eyes forward. Shoulders and chest are lifted, allowing the horse’s withers to come up to you. Back is flat. There is a break in the line from elbow to mouth, but you are not restricting the use of his neck. Wouldn’t it be nice to be perfect all of the time!
The back of your thigh is in the tack and the shoulder-hip- heel line is basically intact. I would like to see a stronger hip-knee-ankle angle, bringing your thigh up a little bit more into the saddle and allowing the heel to get a bit deeper. Shortening your stirrups a hole or two would accomplish this with a little practice. I think this would lead you to an even stronger position than the one you already have. Well done, Ronnie and Willy! Looking forward to seeing you at the events!
From: Judge Carol Dean-Porter
This horse is a bold and powerful jumper. He obviously likes his job! He still shows plenty of “brightness” and the jump is number 17!
His knees are up beautifully and right together. His lower legs are flexed well and he clears this solid obstacle with room to spare. He has pushed off well with both hind feet. I believe he is just about to kick the hind end up in another split second. He may be one who uses the technique of crossing his hind ankles in the air. Many top horses throughout history have jumped this way.
Your foot is slightly too far in the stirrup, preventing you from gaining quite as much depth in your heel as ideal. Your hips have slipped back in the air to a point almost even with your cantle. Despite your solid position and great body control this has put your weight behind his center of balance. If you slide everything forward 6 inches, you will be over his shoulders and free up the hind end a bit more. You may like to try taking your stirrups up another hole. You also may like to try a saddle with a deeper seat and/or bigger knee/thigh blocks. In any case, I think your horse deserves a belly guard!
Your release is good. I like the soft contact in the air, which keeps the lines of communication open. You are generous enough to permit him to use himself well and have enough contact to steady him if necessary.
He is well muscled and seems quite comfortable jumping this substantial obstacle, so I think your preparation has been excellent.
Congratulations and good luck for the future!