The Clinic Photo Critiques
Dressage Today|December 2017

This picture shows Sarah Ryan schooling her 5-year-old Trakehner/ Thoroughbred-cross mare, Cleopatra, at First Level.

Susanne Von Dietze

The picture shows them performing some leg yield, which is an important basic movement for the horse’s lateral balance. Cleopatra looks willing with very nice, free shoulder movement and a good diagonal crossing of the hind legs. I can see that Sarah is attempting to push Cleopatra laterally by using her right leg and seat bone more. However, it is apparent that in doing this, the horse reacted, went sideways and left Sarah a bit behind the movement, so she appears to be sitting a little crooked.

When you draw a vertical line up through the horse’s chest, you can see how well-balanced Cleopatra is (especially for a young horse) and you can see that her head shows correct flexion and stays aligned to this line.

I know that the angle of the picture might have some affect on this, but it appears as though Sarah’s body does not follow that line. Her upper body and shoulders are more to the horse‘s right, as if she pushed the horse under her, away to the side.

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