Anna Radhika White and Malachi—November 30, 2012
From: Judge Carol Dean-Porter
This is an interesting photo because I think Malachi has more scope than he is demonstrating here. He has pushed off perfectly behind from a good distance to this solid roll top obstacle.
Now take a look at his face, which is actually INSIDE the vertical. He should be stretching his nose out to balance at this point. His expression says he is a bit worried, so I wonder if he is tense about the jump or if he is worried about being restricted in the air. He lowers the head and neck really well, just does not stretch the nose forward.
He uses his shoulders, knees and lower legs adequately. He is not snappy like a careful show jumper, but certainly respects the jumps enough to clear the top of the obstacle with room to spare.
Anna appears to be stiff in her arms and shoulders with a firm grip on his mouth. I would love to see her relax and permit him to gallop and jump across this fence more comfortably.
Her lower leg is in very good position although her foot is quite far in the stirrup, which prevents her from flexing the ankle. Her toe is turned out, digging her heels into his ribs to press him across the fence. Her hips are quite far off the saddle, so it is possible that she jumped slightly ahead of his motion on take off. At this point of the photo she is positioned beautifully right over his center of balance. With the heel up and hips up off the saddle, she is making full use of the knee roll and thigh block to stay secure. Holding the iron on the ball of her foot and stepping down into the heel would give her a more secure base of support.
I am glad to see her using the 5 point attachment breastplate (sold on the SmartPak catalog!) which keeps the saddle in place without restricting his shoulders. The lower strap on the figure 8 could be tucked into it’s keeper snugly to prohibit it from smacking him in the face.
Overall, this looks like a competent pair. He is well muscled and looks plenty fit for this job! Thoroughbreds are ideal for eventing because of their stamina and heart. I would be interested to know his pedigree.
From: Judge Rob Gage
I like your photo a lot Anna.
First, let me compliment you on your choice of take-off distances. So many riders want to get longish to a roll-top, but the truth is, the highest point of this fence is at the very back edge, so the proper take-off distance is actually kind of close to the base. NICE JOB!
Your horse wasn’t quite 100% from his shoulders to his knees….but close enough. He sure does drop his head a lot. I’m so glad you wear that 5 point breastplate on him….otherwise, with how much he uses his head & neck….your saddle would really slide back.
Because your horse uses his head & neck so dramatically, be sure to give him plenty of release…..especially over any fences that contain “width”. Should you over release….it won’t hurt a thing.
Did you notice, that your knees were all the way up at the top edge of your saddle’s knee rolls? That’s because you stood up on your tip toes some, and lifted your lower legs & knees up above where they were on the flat.
Overall, Anna….I’d say, you & your horse look really good. Congratulations….I’m not always that nice!