In the first of a new feature of this blog, Boyd asses a novice horse and rider's jumping style. To submit your photo for the "clinic" please email to Amberwriter@aol.com
Here is a good picture of a novice rider and horse jumping what looks to be an oxer. Make no mistake, it's very easy to sit back and tell everyone what they are doing wrong.... so lets start with the positives.
The rider's upper body is in a correct forward position and the rider is 'with' the horse. She is not getting left behind at all with her balance. She is looking straight ahead and her back is nice and straight.
There are two things I would try to improve if I was coaching her. Firstly, she needs to have a lighter hand. The rider has too much of a feel on the horse's mouth in the air: you can see this as the horse is not really reaching with its head in the air. You can also see that it affects the front legs of the horse in that they are not able to fold up properly; it almost gives the horse a hollow jump.
The second thing I would work on is getting a stronger lower leg. The inside of the rider's leg needs to be hugging the horse's side more near the girth area. A good exercise to help this is jumping small fences without stirrups.