I think this position looks strange only because it's unfamiliar. We're used to seeing horses buck or jump with their legs folded, like these:
We don't often see a spectacular buck like this, especially outside the rodeo ring:
And although it's becoming more common again, we also don't often see a horse that has actually been trained to capriole. And as difficult a maneuver as it is (and some may argue that ethical training makes it more difficult to achieve consistent results, although it makes it much easier on the horse!), even if we do have the opportunity to see a horse in capriole, it may not be as precise or extreme as those painted by Hamilton. The hind legs may hang slightly loose and low, like this (though in some cases, this is actually due to the difficulty of timing the photograph):
There are, however, now plenty of photographs of horses in this extreme version of capriole.
And even with rider:
|Can we talk about her lack of stirrups?|