Equitation evolution

As I was looking through old pictures for this post, I was struck by how many bad riding habits I’ve had over the years. It’s like I try them on for size and keep the ones I like!


Spike, 1999. I’m way out of the saddle here, though my lower leg is secure. I was riding toward this fence very aggressively because Spike had stopped at the two previous fences, thrown me once, and I was pissed.


Buster, 2000. My lower leg has slipped back because I’m pinching with my knee. I’m jumping ahead and poor Buster looks like he’s not super excited about me putting all of my weight on his neck.


Bailey, 2001. My lower leg is back to being secure and I’m giving Bailey a good crest release. I’ve got an arch in my back and am sticking my butt out, but overall, this isn’t a terrible look.


PJ, 2002. My lower leg is slipping back here and I’m doing some serious laying on PJ’s neck. For her part, PJ didn’t seem to notice, probably because she was 25 and knew more about jumping than I ever will.


Moe, 2003. It’s hard to tell from this angle, but I suspect my lower leg has slipped back a little. Otherwise, how weirdly similar is this picture to the one of Bailey from two years prior?


Moe, 2003. This was taken about six months after the previous photo. I’m totally fine with my leg and seat here, but why on earth are my hands a foot away from Moe’s ears? I guess I was really concerned about not catching him in the mouth! This is one of my favorite pictures anyway.


Moe, 2004. My lower leg is doing a pretty good job and my butt isn’t hovering two feet above Moe’s back, so I’m counting that as as success. The angle of this photo makes me look like I’m some kind of giant freak dwarfing my tiny horse, which isn’t my favorite!


Some horse at Auburn, 2006(ish). This is what happened when I went to college and decided to join the equestrian team. Dear god, what am I doing? I think I’m attempting some kind of automatic release, but instead, I’m just pulling on this poor horse’s face. My back is roached, my lower leg has slipped back, and the only kind thing I can say about this photo is at least I’m looking where I’m going.


Moe, 2007. This was a fun show at UTM where I entered Moe in the 3′-3’3 jumpers, flew around the course, and made my coach very nervous. My lower leg is secure here, although my foot is turned out way too far and my butt is again out of the saddle. I could be giving more of a release, though who knows if Moe even notices?


Moe, 2014. Oh man. There’s a reason there’s a 7 year gap in jumping media, and that reason is because I moved to Kansas and briefly took up polo, then moved to Oklahoma and didn’t ride for a while, then I bought Gina, who hates jumping. And then I just didn’t have anyone to take pictures of me jumping. So anyway, here’s a terrible, terrible picture from last year! My lower leg is somewhere back of beyond, while my upper body is ducking so hard I’m surprised Moe made it over this jump.



Gina, 2015. My leg is mostly back where it belongs. I could certainly be doing a better job releasing, but overall, this is a huge improvement over the monstrosity that was 2014!

This has been a helpful exercise- I think it’s time to ride without stirrups, go through some gymnastics, and then ride around in two point forever. And maybe reread Training The Three Day Event Horse And Rider and take even more notes.

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

15 thoughts on “Equitation evolution”

  1. I’m loving these through the ages posts! I may have to do some rifling through old photos and join in the fun!
    I love your horses, they look like a bunch of great ones!

    1. I wish I could dig up the ones from when I very first began jumping regularly on my first show horse, Sadie! I’m sure there would be some gems in there.

  2. i love the pictures!!!! and yea i’ve also tried on a lot of bad habits for size, and some of them fit to well to ever let go of haha.

  3. I love looking at everyone’s photos! Your lower leg is more secure than it is not. Also I giggled at the 25 y/o mare who “knew more about jumping than you ever will” hahaha.

    1. Oh my god, PJ was the most “been there, done that” horse EVER. She was all “psh, idiot child, I can jump around this Novice course WITH MY EYES CLOSED” and definitely did not need my help. With anything. Ever.

  4. Lol the dwarf horse photo. Loving these series, it shows most people didnt start with amazing eq. I wanna ride the 25yr old packer, it’s the only way I’d ever do XC.

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