Four Beautiful Seats – The Time I Was in Practical Horseman

With a lack of anything super interesting to post, and Thanksgiving coming up, today is sort of a throwback. I promise though, there are more fun things in the works, and a breeches showdown coming up just in time for Christmas shopping.

As I’m sure most of my readers know, Practical Horseman has an article each month in which George Morris chooses four photos and critiques them–Jumping Clinic With George Morris. When I was in high school, I sent a photo in. It took three years, but my photo finally appeared! You can find me in the May 2014 issue, but I’ve also included a photo and written up his comments just for you guys.


     “Our first rider has a beautiful leg position and angles. Her heel is well down, her toes are out, and the angle of her ankle is closed. The stirrup iron is at a right angle to the firth, allowing for a supple leg, and her calf is in contact with the horse. The angle behind her knee is a correct 100-110 degrees, and her hip angle is closed too. There is no feeling that she is jumping ahead of the saddle or dropping back in the air,, indicating that she approached the jump riding with her legs instead of trying to drive with her upper body. The loin area–the small of her back–is slightly hollow. Her eyes are up and ahead.

One flaw is the broken line from her elbow to her hand to the horse’s mouth. This is acceptable and functional, but she needs to practice following the horse in the air with her hands so there is a straight line from her elbow to his mouth. This gives total control for slowing, turning, shortening, regulating.

The horse has a lovely expression, and he’s a very good jumper. His knees are up by his chin, his forearms are parallel to the ground, and below his knees he is very even and tight. His hind legs also are even. He is restricting his head and neck, may from a slightly tight rein, and his back is stiff and straight. To improve hid bascule, or jumping arc, the rider needs to put him to a short distance to the base of the fence and give with the hands to let his head and neck drop and his withers and back come up.

For turnout and horse management, I’d give this rider a D. The horse’s coat is rough. He needs to be scrubbed with a stiff brush, curry combed, clipped, and possibly dewormed. Beautiful care of the horse comes before riding. Also this blue saddle pad detracts from the horse.”

Better version of the photo submitted.

You can’t quite tell in the article, but this horse was super flea-bitten, so he always looked a little ragged, and he was definitely dewormed on a regular basis. It was also March so we were in the process of shedding out his winter coat and growing in the spring one. Yuck. And I love that blue saddle pad; I still have it and use it. But otherwise, I thought he had generally really good things to say, and it was pretty cool that he picked me to put in the article. And I’m definitely considering it a win that he didn’t say I needed to go back to cross rails.

So that was my fifteen minutes of fame (then again it’s in print, so it lives on forever right??). Sometimes I wish my equitation was always that nice, but I ride better now than that girl did back then, even if it’s not always as pretty. I’m learning that sometimes form slips when function comes first, and I’m much more conscious of why I do things with my body now, as compared to 18 year old me who just knew that’s where I needed to put my parts.

11 thoughts on “Four Beautiful Seats – The Time I Was in Practical Horseman

  1. haha this is awesome on a couple different levels – you got the full experience of getting praised to the highest degree as a rider, but still got some of that sass about the blue pad. so perfect haha

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