From: Judge Robert Gage
This horse drops her head down more than most horses do, so it’s a good thing this rider has such a long release. I notice he uses his arms down along the top of this horse’s shoulders. Not every rider can do this. I usually recommend a crest release for most riders, (Where their hands & forearms lay atop their horse’s crest) because it gives the rider another long point of support. But, when you ride with such a solid leg & good balance, you can then drop your arms down & release more directly towards the horse’s mouth.
This horse might not be for just any Junior or Amateur rider. Because she uses her head & neck so extensively, I think the average rider might have difficulty keeping their balance, especially when the jumps get bigger. However, you just can’t quibble about this horse’s technique.
Nothing to say but FANTASTIC!!
Finally, I would like to discuss this horse’s equipment. It’s a little hard to see it all, but I think she is in a running martingale and a 2 or 3 ring bit. In general, I like running martingales, and they conform to the rules at all levels. However, I have never been a fan of “leverage” type bits. It’s just my opinion, but I find horses don’t turn very well in them. I can see the necessity sometimes for a smallish rider, on a strong horse, but this rider rides well enough that he could probably ride in a rope around the horse’s neck!
From: Judge Carol Dean-Porter
What a spectacular athlete this mare is! Her knees are up by her jaw and she obviously respects the rails as she clears the wave plank by more than a foot.
I am reasonably certain the distance was good and she gives you an explosive effort. Horses who jump in this style tend to be somewhat forward and sensitive. I imagine this one is no exception.
While I am not a big fan of the 3 ring bit, you may find this bit necessary to keep her focused and contained between the jumps.
One caution: “some” horses who jump up this high in front, tend to get somewhat low behind. Also care must be taken to keep the horse coming forward: leg onto hand and not permit her to get behind the bit on the flat.
You appear to have a secure base of support with heel well down. You control your body well in the air and are positioned over her center of balance. I like the light contact in the air and can see that you are educated and experienced enough to follow the mouth successfully and give her as much freedom as she asks for. Just be very careful to stay released and hold your position on the landing side of the jump. If you open up too quickly in the air or drop back and catch her in the mouth, you risk a hind rail.
I bet she is really fast! Her recording certificate lists her as a Thoroughbred, there is nothing faster between the jumps and nothing with more heart.
You and your mare are turned out impeccably! Your boots are shined, the keepers are all neatly tucked in. You have purchased good quality tack including a nice belly guard girth and elastic breast plate.
This is the most beautiful photo with the beach chair standards, wave planks and the DOLPHINS blowing steam! What fun! I want to know how they made the steam billow out!
Thank you for sharing with us!