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June 12, 2013

Looking Back On The Hunter Division: A Jumping Contest

Rodney Jenkins was a “wunderkind” from the very beginning. Here he is in the relatively early stages of his professional career (1965). Rodney’s leg position improved dramatically over the years. But what you can applaud is his incredibly soft arm and hand. Rodney never let a horse “take over” with him; he bitted horses just right. They stayed soft because he stayed soft. There is no question that Rodney was the American horseman of the 20th century. Nizam is jumping this very straight, tall, airy gate beautifully. Look at his knees and apparent scope. His weight, coat and turnout are exemplary for the time. The tack then was simple, traditional and scrupulously clean. A flat cavesson, full-cheek snaffle, and not-too-tight running martingale were indicative of the simplicity of the times. Looking at this picture one wonders if this horse could have also been a jumper. Quite often top jumping hunters (especially if they had “gone in the wind”) ended up on the U.S. Equestrian Team. Photo by Budd.

In the June 17 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse, George Morris, the most famous jumping critic of all time, weighed in on riders, horses and competitions from the past. He looked at riders such as Kenny Wheeler, Patty Heuckeroth and Kathy Kusner and discussed how the sport has changed. Enjoy a few bonus photos and read George's thoughts in our online gallery.

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