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309016
Apr. 22, 2009, 05:01 AM
I know I am starting the HUGE TRAIN (if not the biggest one ever set lose on this thread) rolling on this one! So feel free to PM me if you dont want to post :) Keep in mind this info is not coming directly from my mouth! It came from multiple people! And this post is simply me trying to get more information on something that may be biased.

I was at the World Cup and talking to some people (4) that either 1) knew/met GM (through some sort of connection) or 2) Have taken multiple clinics with him. They all said the same thing: "He is a grumpy diva who is a very demanding almost abusive coach who is very set in his ways". The basically told me that in order to ride with him you need to have a VERY thick shell and be able to take lots of verbal abuse with a grain of salt. They all told me that he does not like blondes and that they know multiple people that dye their hair before they do clinics with him. They even said they saw this one "slightly" big in the hips girl who he called, during the middle of the clinic and everyone I might add, a "butchers daughter" and he said that "she needed to loose weight before she got back on her horse" :eek:.

Does any of this sound like him? I have heard about people that think of him as god and others that think he is what I described above. I just wanted to know what others thought about this.

Kyrie
Apr. 22, 2009, 06:12 AM
An interesting subject...

While I appreciate GM tends to get results, and never say never, I can't say I'd rush to have lessons with him (if I ever moved to the States, or he came here) as I don't see the point in paying for abuse.

Some people like his teaching style. Each to their own :)

CallMeGrace
Apr. 22, 2009, 06:57 AM
My son loves to ride with him. He does well, has never been ridiculed, and he works hard before the clinic to keep it that way. I no longer go to watch because I don't find demeaning people funny or instructive.

BeaSting
Apr. 22, 2009, 07:01 AM
Strange phenomenon. I don't get why anyone would tolerate any level of abuse. It reminds of how many people excuse and tolerate certain corrupt politicians because they're "effective" and bring home the bacon, or the criminal acts of certain sports stars because they're "effective" and win the game.

309016
Apr. 22, 2009, 07:05 AM
So is everyone above nicely saying he is indeed like I described above? It seems like everyone is scared to say a solid "yes" or "no", trust me I dont blame you.

enjoytheride
Apr. 22, 2009, 07:23 AM
What are you looking for?

You want to know if you should die your hair? That is one of the stupidest things I've heard of.

lauriep
Apr. 22, 2009, 07:27 AM
If you pay attention, follow instructions and look serious about being there, you will not have a problem. He does prefer you fit, but has pretty much given up making weight comments unless it is obviously affecting your ability to do something. He makes blonde jokes IF you do something you shouldn't and IF you are a blonde, but he is not serious. Does the name Katie Monahan Prudent ring a bell? Blonde, great rider.

He IS set in his ways because they work, and have stood the test of time. It is all about good horsemanship and classical principles of riding with him. He doesn't like gimmicks or gimmicky bits. He doesn't like all the new types of stirrups because he thinks they interfere with your ability to keep your heel down. He doesn't like filth or untidiness. If you do something UNSAFE, you will incur his wrath. That he cannot tolerate. But if you make riding mistakes, he is fine. Do you need a tough shell? No more than you do for just being in the horse business in general. And if you get a word of praise, you will remember it as something very special.

He has been at the top of the game for a very long time. He has produced equitation, hunter and jumper champions. The riders that ride on our current teams admire and respect his abilities without question. I have known him for 35 years, and he is a cherished friend. He has mellowed a lot over the years, but his message has never varied.

Heineken
Apr. 22, 2009, 08:35 AM
Well. I am an overweight blonde and was riding a VERY green TB and I personally had a wonderful experience. That said, a friend of mine brought her daughter out to ride with him this year on my horse and the daughter didn't try very hard the first day and GM was pretty tough on her...but she deserved it by not making an effort to do what he said. I find him very fair, with the horses' welfare being his priority.

Bravestrom
Apr. 22, 2009, 08:35 AM
While I have never met the man and can not comment on him personally, I would think that the comments he makes in ph would be enough to tell the story.

On another note - I would love to be a fly on the wall when richard spooner rides for him. The way richard puts his legs back must just make gm have a cow!!!

Van Gogh
Apr. 22, 2009, 08:38 AM
I have taken 2 clinics with him and taken students to another.

The clinic we took students to we took a BLONDE on a PONY! GM is notorious for hating blondes and ponies. Guess what - he loved our blonde and our pony. He made an example of both of them- He came up to the blonde rider and us and made a point to ask if the pony was for sale and say that he would be the first to know when it was!
The blonde wrote a thank you note to him afterward and received a very kind handwritten note complimenting her and her pony!

The two clinics I have ridden in he has been tough but never unfair. He has a system! He believes that everyone should have a system. He has the my way or the highway idea about his system! So do we.... you ride with him (or what ever trainer you want) but you subscribe to their system.....

You don't go and ride with Frank Madden, or GM, or any one and say "I like you, I respect you, I want to ride with you in your program, but I am going to ignore you and do things my way. Please just stand there and pretend to teach me."

As for the weight issue- people don't go and clinic with GM if they are just a backyard trail rider. You go if this is your SPORT. If this is a serious sport for you and your weight is hindering you or your horse (horse is the whole reason we do this remember) wouldn't you want to change. If you had trouble putting your heels down and it would help you and your horse to put your heels down- wouldn't you go home and work on putting your heels down? If losing weight would help you and your horse wouldn't you go home and try to lose weight?
My recent horse is smaller than my others and I lost a few pounds and toned my body so that I would look more slim and it would be a better "look". It is my sport and it is about the whole picture. I didn't need to lose weight but I worked on it so that in the show ring the whole picture would look better.


Aside from the ring- We sat and talked with him before dinner beside the fire- he was the nicest man! He is very polite, informative, and a real person! I also wrote a thank you note after the clinic and received a very personal, hand written postcard.

Quartergirl
Apr. 22, 2009, 08:56 AM
I do not know GM but I do know that I will not pay for anyone to ridicule or treat me with anything other than respect. I will respect them by trying hard and showing up on time and putting 100% effort into doing everything that's asked of me but I also am an Amateur Adult over the age of 45 and have a husband, four kids, two dogs and two not-for-profits to deal with. I am serious about my riding and it is my "sport" but it does not consume my whole life.

I do expect any clinician to treat their clients with courtesy and realize they are being "paid" to help me improve. I do not like the "God" aura that surrounds some of these people these days. It almost is cult like.

gg4918
Apr. 22, 2009, 09:39 AM
I my best friend rode with him while he was at Hunterdon...She's blonde...And rode a horse that was just about as small as a pony. He loved her. Want to know why? Because she listened to everything that he said and tried her best to achieve exactly what he was asking for.
He, like an good teacher should, gets frustrated when a rider doesnt put in the effort and basically wastes his time.
A friend of mine traveled with him a bit this past winter and went to clinics/was his "rider" and he really loved it.

2DaPoint
Apr. 22, 2009, 09:41 AM
George Morris does NOT think he is God.
He is a more than seasoned veteran of the sport who has been extremely successful in his career doing things in a very particular way.
He has certainly paid his dues and has plenty of accolades to back up any comment he makes at any time during a clinic, lesson, interview, article, or what have you.
No, he doesn't like overweight people, but if they can RIDE, he compliments them on their abilities.
The blonde thing is just a long-standing "dumb blond" joke for him. Remember, he taught Katie Monahan Prudent back in the day, so he most certainly WILL put up with blondes.
Actually, his comment to me, on meeting him at a clinic, was that he hoped I was the exception to the rule about blondes. (I am one..... a blonde AND an exception!)
IF he's harsh in the delivery of a comment, it's usually something to do with either uncertainty on the rider's part in making a decision or correction with their horse, or something to do with safety, tidyness, or inattentiveness.

In all, I would say that the four friends the original poster chatted with have it pretty much right..... even if slightly exaggerated.
He has earned the right to his behavior and his peculiarities. Deal with it.
KD

mvp
Apr. 22, 2009, 09:43 AM
You don't need to ride with GM in person if you want to get somewhere.

He has published books and articles and has produced many students (well-known and obscure).

Even better, what he preaches is not rocket science. If you ride in order to train and improve your horse, you are half way there. If you have a clue and commitment to the kind of flat work done in the dressage world, even better. The rest is just trying hard and keeping your eyes peeled.

As to condescending teaching style, rude (not matter-of-fact) statements about riders' fitness, and guru status. Now that I'm accomplished enough (and thick skinned enough) to benefit from an expensive two days with this guru, I'm also unwilling to pay for the privilege of being abused.

Finally, I'm not a fan of his (and other BNT's) worried articles about the demise of the H/J world and loss of general horsemanship....during your generation and your watch! Hello? If you have that much power, dedicate it to fixing the problem, not bitching about it. I know GM thinks he has done his share of that remedial work. It just ain't working, and one more clinic offered to those at the top might not go far to do more. His basic "trickle down" view of the world tends to divide rather than unify people.

Coreene
Apr. 22, 2009, 09:49 AM
Quartergirl, I'm confused. Ridden in one of his clinics? Audited? Or was that all based on hearsay? I have audited GM clinics forever. Not ridden in them (dressage horses), but I go because each time I will learn more from one of America's finest horsemen. There is no better teacher. He doesn't just bring his A Game, he IS the A Game.

2bayboys
Apr. 22, 2009, 09:50 AM
I didn't need to lose weight but I worked on it so that in the show ring the whole picture would look better.


I find this very disturbing. Athletes don't lose weight so that "the picture" looks better. Athletes lose weight (add muscle, increase cardio fitness) because it benefits their performance. If you don't need to lose weight, then from the standpoint of physical health and healthy body image, you shouldn't.

mvp
Apr. 22, 2009, 09:57 AM
Weight and pictures. I understand that the stick figure "looks good" on a horse by current standards. But, when the more muscle-y of us come off, we usually don't get quite as hurt. We also can lift the ramp of our own trailers.

So, GM's aesthetic tastes aside, I don't see the benefit of being a tall drink of water (preferrably young and male) on horseback.

twobays
Apr. 22, 2009, 09:57 AM
I think its like anything; different teaching styles work for different people. You need to figure out what works for you and go from there. GM isn't the kind of guy that suits me...so I do other clinics.

I know that if I needed to lose weight and a clinician blasted me for being fat in the middle of a clinic, I'd shut down. I think that kind of thing is better handled by taking someone aside; but again; to each their own. And with the weight thing - when he's critical of someone's weight, is it a cosmetic or positional thing? If someone is heavy but riding beautifully its different than if someone can't even hold a two-point because they aren't strong enough.

findeight
Apr. 22, 2009, 10:22 AM
You have to remember GM is from an earlier era and he no longer matches his earlier reputation-although he admits many still expect him to unload on somebody and, toned down some now, he will oblige if he feels somebody deserves it. Usually based on their attitude.

Back in the 50s and early 60s when he learned and earned his reputation as a rider, coaches were 98% male and many of them had Cavalry roots or learned from former Cavalry officers. International teams were Army officers for many countries, selected and trained by Army officers for others. Few women, not even allowed on some teams, no place for "sissies".

I started riding in the mid 60s and never had a female trainer until about 10 years later. Those that were out there were trainer's wives and their names went on the bottom of the logos, if on there at all. Just a different environment. One that changed for good reason. Not all berated their students but they were sure tougher then what you see out there today and did not worry about hurting self esteem or seeming not so polite.

GM is kind of a relic of that earleir, almost all male environment. But times change and he has changed somewhat but people skills were never his strong suit. Never were.

That's no secret, he is what he is. You know that going in.

Not to defend some of it but he is a product of the time he learned and still somewhat stuck there.

I've met the man a couple of times, quite polite. Watched him teach a few lessons and a clinic at a major circuit over the last 10 years or so. Only one outburst. No weight discussions. Solid and well explained theory...the one outburst was a Junior-who talked back. Several times. She was certainly the only one that didn't see it coming, everybody else was just waiting for it. Even then he just asked her why she was wasting money taking the clinic instead of teaching it herself.

He is still the very best teacher if you want to go to elite levels in the sport. More casual riders really are better off auditing and selecting a different clinician.

WorthTheWait95
Apr. 22, 2009, 10:29 AM
I didn't bother to read all these but I've taken at least 5 or 6 clinics with GM and have found him to be wonderful to work with. If you deliberately don't listen or do the opposite of what he says he'll get after you for sure but if he can tell you're trying and making an honest effort he's really great. I only have good things to say about him and he has an awesome sense of humor. Very sharp and quick witted. I don't think you'll find another clinician that you can learn so much from in such a short period of time. His eye for a horse and zeroing in on exactly where the weaknesses are in a matter of minutes is amazing.

unclewiggly
Apr. 22, 2009, 10:30 AM
This was my eye witnessed account of lessons @ Hunterdon w/ GM.
Drive in park in neat anal lines, not one crumb of our horses droppings to leave trailer onto his spotless gravel. Do not park in someone's signed parking spot. Make sure you know what you are supposed to do before you get there and where everything is, whats expected and OH make sure you are 30-45 minutes early so you have plenty of time to groom groom groom trailer dirt off and get yourself dressed and standing mounted at the appointeed time for you meeting w/ the queen (oops did I say that)
Groom and tack-up as if going to a Appointments class, dress well there was much discussion about if a sweater had "pills" on it and tidy matchy tidy (this was not a 1st lesson either) polishing of boots etc.
Ride out to field behind barn in knee high wet grass.
GM arrives on his speeding golf cart totally dressed in Linen NM boots rust breeches and gorgeous seater, w/ his bull horn.
Starts shouting the warm-up...lesson progresses lots of insults and derogatory comments.
Take short break a few of his resident students from barn hack hores out, he drives up to chat, one of the mounts grabs a lip of the overly tall unmowed grass. GM goes into a diatrab about making the horse stand and not eat.
Back to lesson. move on to jumping, GM has them progress to a drop jump. Its so well hidden in the tall wet tick laiden grass that alot of the horses balked or literly fell down it in a 1/2 jump half stagger since there was no warning.
One horse, a mare refused it several times, he leapt off the cart walked up and when mare stopped he hit her w/ his long stick...yes he whacked her and in the process struck the rider as well and this is not embellished .
I also know of a young lady who showed up for her over priced group lesson totally prepared properly turned out w/ a horse GM worthy. She walked up gave him her check (she didn't know to go into office) and GM told her had some advice for her. Took the check and told her to go home loose weight and come back. The mom who I know told me because she never got her $$ back!!
Don't even get me started on conversations over heard many long years ago right of GM mouth while standing in early AM schooling rings "AA" shows as he made snide comments about his riders as they trotted round.
DIVA does not even begin to describe someone who yes has done so much for the indusrty , Talent not questioned, but past it yes.
Go write a book, do your memories, but stay home become a recluse'.
Katherine Hepburn you aren't.

Ozone
Apr. 22, 2009, 10:38 AM
I find this very disturbing. Athletes don't lose weight so that "the picture" looks better. Athletes lose weight (add muscle, increase cardio fitness) because it benefits their performance. If you don't need to lose weight, then from the standpoint of physical health and healthy body image, you shouldn't.

Yep this stuck out to me as well.

"I lost weight not because I had to but I wanted to have The Look in the show ring" ... distrubing very!

I would rather see a well muscled, fit rider on top of a horse than a stick figure who looks unhealthy.

As far as GM goes.... He is an old schooler and whether he be rude to some or not, we can all in some way, learn something from him.

findeight
Apr. 22, 2009, 10:44 AM
Don't even get me started on conversations over heard many long years ago ...
Go write a book, do your memories, but stay home become a recluse'.
Katherine Hepburn you aren't.

He no longer spouts diatribes ringside and, no, he is not KH, she had broader shoulders;).

Back in the md 80s they had the Olympics in LA-the one the eastern block boycotted. There were several big name famous Dressage and Show Jumping riders that did visit some of the training barns and give a few invitation only semi clinics plus the warm up and schooling rings were open to spectators on non event days. Long sticks, big spurs and plenty of Diva attitude including one who threw a fit in the schooling area chasing somebody else from the ground trying to get more height/air in some movement or other, rider was spurring, ground person/coach using the big whip. Not pretty, shook alot of observers up, so much for all that theory.

Like I said, times change and such things are less acceptable. But the past needs to stay in the past and whether you consider all the knowledge should also stay with the bad manners or be restricted to print only is an individual choice.

BAC
Apr. 22, 2009, 11:04 AM
Does any of this sound like him? I have heard about people that think of him as god and others that think he is what I described above. I just wanted to know what others thought about this.

It all sounds like him LOL although I never heard the part about the blondes. You do need a thick skin to ride with him, he dislikes overweight riders and feels if you're serious enough about riding you should control your weight. He is an amazing instructor/coach though so if you are able to take his verbal abuse you will learn a ton.

BTW I had a friend when we were juniors who rode with GM, my friend (male) was brought almost to tears on more than one occasion because of the verbal abuse but he turned out to be an awesome rider and would not have traded his experiences riding with GM.

I have heard that GM has mellowed as he has aged though and I think he has given up the fight about weight.

Ravencrest_Camp
Apr. 22, 2009, 11:11 AM
George Morris does NOT think he is God.
He is a more than seasoned veteran of the sport who has been extremely successful in his career doing things in a very particular way.
He has certainly paid his dues and has plenty of accolades to back up any comment he makes at any time during a clinic, lesson, interview, article, or what have you.
No, he doesn't like overweight people, but if they can RIDE, he compliments them on their abilities.
The blonde thing is just a long-standing "dumb blond" joke for him. Remember, he taught Katie Monahan Prudent back in the day, so he most certainly WILL put up with blondes.
Actually, his comment to me, on meeting him at a clinic, was that he hoped I was the exception to the rule about blondes. (I am one..... a blonde AND an exception!)
IF he's harsh in the delivery of a comment, it's usually something to do with either uncertainty on the rider's part in making a decision or correction with their horse, or something to do with safety, tidyness, or inattentiveness.

In all, I would say that the four friends the original poster chatted with have it pretty much right..... even if slightly exaggerated.
He has earned the right to his behavior and his peculiarities. Deal with it.
KD

What is the difference between George Morris and God?

God doesn't think he is George Morris. :D

Ok, that was totally tongue in cheek. I don't see what the big broohaha is all about. No one is forced to take a lesson or clinic with GM. No one makes you read or buy a GM book. When reading Practical Horseman you are free to skip his column.

Obviously enough people like his style or want to hear what he has to say.

Horseymama
Apr. 22, 2009, 11:18 AM
My husband knows GM personally and I have met him several times and find him to be intelligent, articulate, and very polite. I have watched him coach the U.S. team in Buenos Aires for some years and I think he is amazing. I have also audited many of his clinics. I don't think his teaching style would be appropriate for me because I can sometimes crumble under pressure. However I have cliniced with Jeff Cook many times, who teaches the same system in a less demanding way.

I do have a lot of respect for his system and think he has done a lot for this sport in our country. You have to ride with whomever fits your learning style. Maybe someday when I have a super incredible horse and learn to relax a little under pressure I will ride with him. But not until then!

findeight
Apr. 22, 2009, 11:27 AM
However I have cliniced with Jeff Cook many times, who teaches the same system in a less demanding way.


Little wonder. Unlike many who claim to have worked for GM (as a groom and got fired in 2 weeks), Jeff was his business partner along with CK at Hunterdon.

Most refer to him as "George with people skills". Really a better choice for all but the most disciplined among us. Better looking too;). But he can dish it out pretty good when he's had enough attitude from somebody, in a way they probably won't "get" until later when they have time to think about it.

ideayoda
Apr. 22, 2009, 11:28 AM
He simply doesnt want to waste time on those who are not committed 100% to riding. For him everything is for the good of the horse. He trained how he was trained (total horsemanship, not just riding), to make changes in the rider to allow them to be the best they can be (and his students are the best). Perfect turn out/horse care/fitness are part of that total rider package). Anyone who rides with him should be prepared for (expect) a no holds barred approach which is typical of any (high level) trainer who really gives a #*$(& about improving the student. He puts in alot, and expects the student should do the same. Everyone I rode with 50 years ago was exactly the same, they wanted to improve the student/horse and didnt mince words. Now the average teacher minces words and sticks their hands out for the check. Personally I will always take the GM approach over the lack of truthfulness and knowledge of the average stroking feelgood instructor out there.

hunter-eventer-hunter
Apr. 22, 2009, 11:29 AM
He IS set in his ways because they work, and have stood the test of time. It is all about good horsemanship and classical principles of riding with him.

His methods work...no questions. Look at the rooster of riders he has produced. Could he be nicer about it: NO QUESTION that he could be. Is he going to be nice about it: NEVER.

This is a style issue. Some people like a swift kick in the but, other don't. He will kick you a**, but what makes people so mad is that he is almost always right.

heh

magnolia73
Apr. 22, 2009, 11:30 AM
The good thing is that no one is forced to ride with GM. I think there will always be people intimidated and always be people who want to rise to the occasion and impress the man.

Myth or not, you know what you are getting into, and at least his verbal abuse is probably valid to some extent. His track record speaks volumes, that said, his ways probably aren't in line with the more modern version of "everyone is the best" type teaching.

Instant Karma
Apr. 22, 2009, 11:34 AM
I like how the OP put in quotes what all four people said... I am sure they didn't all say the same exact thing.

From the little bit I have seen of him from auditing a clinic and heard of him on here, he has mellowed in his older age. But that he never implied he was nice and compassionate... he knows his stuff, he's awesome, and if you want to take a clinic with him, you put up with the insults.

The hair dye thing sounds a bit ridiculous to me, my friend cliniced with him and she is blonde... never mentioned a word about her hair color and in fact, complimented her mare.

phoenix mom
Apr. 22, 2009, 11:36 AM
My daughter lessons with a trainer who rides in a GM clinic every year. She gets the buffered approach this way. What she learns in those lessons when he comes back is amazing. There is a definite trickle down of info and she loves it. Things may change over the years but strong basics are always needed and set the foundation. Her trainer does review "THE BOOK" before the clinic to brush up on terminology because there are always questions.

SaturdayNightLive
Apr. 22, 2009, 11:39 AM
I'm not sure why this thread was even posted, except to start a trainwreck as the OP stated.

GM is a very tough coach. He also happens to be the best. If you can't handle the fact that he is tough, don't train/clinic with him. It's just not complicated.

Oh, and for the 4 or 5 people who seem confused by the whole spelling thing - loose and lose are two different words. You turn a horse loose. You lose weight.

whbar158
Apr. 22, 2009, 11:40 AM
Although I have not seen or ridden in a clinic with him, I would love to do so. I would guess like any top coach in any sport he is tough, and realistic. Sometimes the facts are harsh and people will not listen to them if someone is not harsh about it.

I would think that the people who go to clinic with him are serious riders, and should know how to turnout their horses and themselves and that it is important to do so.

From reading the posts it seems what GM wants to see is a rider who wants to do their best, and willing to try to follow instructions that might be hard for them or their mount. He wants to see you thinking up there, and DOING something even if it may turn out to be the wrong thing. I think he might be meaner to people he sees that aren't trying or listening to him as to weed them out.

If you don't think you can handle it then don't go clinic with him, and it may just be you are the type of person that can't handle that style of teaching and not that you are not serious. Personally having a few lessons here and there by a more drill sargent type of trainer/coach keeps me sharp. Could I take it all the time? I don't know.

Also I took a lot of clinics in Pony Club, if the coach was taking a lot of time and pointing out a lot of things about you, it usually meant that they saw something they really like and want to make it even better.

findeight
Apr. 22, 2009, 11:45 AM
Look at the rooster of riders he has produced.

:lol:

ROSTER.

It's funny because GM has been referred to as a little rooster.

tidy rabbit
Apr. 22, 2009, 11:46 AM
I know I am starting the HUGE TRAIN (if not the biggest one ever set lose on this thread) rolling on this one! So feel free to PM me if you dont want to post :) Keep in mind this info is not coming directly from my mouth! It came from multiple people! And this post is simply me trying to get more information on something that may be biased.

I was at the World Cup and talking to some people (4) that either 1) knew/met GM (through some sort of connection) or 2) Have taken multiple clinics with him. They all said the same thing: "He is a grumpy diva who is a very demanding almost abusive coach who is very set in his ways". The basically told me that in order to ride with him you need to have a VERY thick shell and be able to take lots of verbal abuse with a grain of salt. They all told me that he does not like blondes and that they know multiple people that dye their hair before they do clinics with him. They even said they saw this one "slightly" big in the hips girl who he called, during the middle of the clinic and everyone I might add, a "butchers daughter" and he said that "she needed to loose weight before she got back on her horse" :eek:.

Does any of this sound like him? I have heard about people that think of him as god and others that think he is what I described above. I just wanted to know what others thought about this.

OMG. This is so lame. All of it. Ridiculous. Dye your hair to ride with him, good lord.
If you're fat and can't be told you're fat, if you ride like crap and can't be told you ride like crap, if you're doing stupid stuff and can't handle being told that, you need to get a reality check. The riding world is so full of delusional people it's just pitiful. Thank god for people who tell it like it is.

JenEM
Apr. 22, 2009, 11:46 AM
From what I've seen auditing, GM likes riders to be neat, attentive, and trying their best to do what is asked of them. Regardless of weight, sex, or hair color.

I wouldn't expect any more or any less of any trainer. I'm not paying someone to stroke my ego during a lesson; I'm paying them to make me a better rider, and my horse a better mount.

chawley
Apr. 22, 2009, 11:58 AM
I personally prefer a trainer that is a bit more sensitive and polite, but I know two people that rode and worked with him and absolutely adore him. Additionally, my trainer has done multiple clinics with him and loves him. I suppose it just depends on your personality and how you mesh with someone with his type of personality.

As far as him being set in his way, I think this is fine since his ways are correct.

MyGiantPony
Apr. 22, 2009, 12:02 PM
This was my eye witnessed account of lessons @ Hunterdon w/ GM.
Drive in park in neat anal lines, not one crumb of our horses droppings to leave trailer onto his spotless gravel. Do not park in someone's signed parking spot. Make sure you know what you are supposed to do before you get there and where everything is, whats expected and OH make sure you are 30-45 minutes early so you have plenty of time to groom groom groom trailer dirt off and get yourself dressed and standing mounted at the appointeed time for you meeting w/ the queen (oops did I say that)
Groom and tack-up as if going to a Appointments class, dress well there was much discussion about if a sweater had "pills" on it and tidy matchy tidy (this was not a 1st lesson either) polishing of boots etc.
Ride out to field behind barn in knee high wet grass.
GM arrives on his speeding golf cart totally dressed in Linen NM boots rust breeches and gorgeous seater, w/ his bull horn.
Starts shouting the warm-up...lesson progresses lots of insults and derogatory comments.
Take short break a few of his resident students from barn hack hores out, he drives up to chat, one of the mounts grabs a lip of the overly tall unmowed grass. GM goes into a diatrab about making the horse stand and not eat.
Back to lesson. move on to jumping, GM has them progress to a drop jump. Its so well hidden in the tall wet tick laiden grass that alot of the horses balked or literly fell down it in a 1/2 jump half stagger since there was no warning.
One horse, a mare refused it several times, he leapt off the cart walked up and when mare stopped he hit her w/ his long stick...yes he whacked her and in the process struck the rider as well and this is not embellished .
I also know of a young lady who showed up for her over priced group lesson totally prepared properly turned out w/ a horse GM worthy. She walked up gave him her check (she didn't know to go into office) and GM told her had some advice for her. Took the check and told her to go home loose weight and come back. The mom who I know told me because she never got her $$ back!!
Don't even get me started on conversations over heard many long years ago right of GM mouth while standing in early AM schooling rings "AA" shows as he made snide comments about his riders as they trotted round.
DIVA does not even begin to describe someone who yes has done so much for the indusrty , Talent not questioned, but past it yes.
Go write a book, do your memories, but stay home become a recluse'.
Katherine Hepburn you aren't.

Sorry, I just don't buy it. I worked there. I lived there. The grounds were exquisitely maintained, including the jump field.

1. Of course you should clean up after yourself - how rude to leave manure from your trailer behind - I don't care if it's at Hunterdon or the backyard joint down the road.

2. I don't recall there being assigned parking, but I was there a long time ago, so maybe that changed. But if there is assigned parking, then of course you don't park there.

3. Yes, you should have made sure you knew what do do when you called to set up the lesson. In fact, if you were listening to the staff on the other end of the phone, they told you where to park, take your check, etc.

4. Yes, you should arrive early so you and your horse are ready ON TIME.

5. Appointments class? Exaggerate much? Clean, neat and in good repair. Why is that too much to ask? My turnout for my regular lessons was no different than my turnout for a lesson with GM.

6. Knee high wet grass...well, like I said, the grounds were always immaculate. So I just don't believe that.

7. Never known the man to be late or to "speed" on his golf cart.

8. I don't doubt he got after a horse with a stick after several stops. Hitting the rider...accidentally, I'm sure it could happen.

Your post just reeks of sour grapes...wonder why?

Coreene
Apr. 22, 2009, 12:04 PM
It's a riding leson, remember. It's not Up With People or AYSO, where you can lose every game but get a trophy anyhow. How funny that most of the I Wouldn't Clinic With Him posts are from people who have never even audited. Sad, because you're missing out on learning from one of the best.

MyGiantPony
Apr. 22, 2009, 12:09 PM
From what I've seen auditing, GM likes riders to be neat, attentive, and trying their best to do what is asked of them. Regardless of weight, sex, or hair color.

I wouldn't expect any more or any less of any trainer. I'm not paying someone to stroke my ego during a lesson; I'm paying them to make me a better rider, and my horse a better mount.

Precisely! If you try, if you listen to him and do as he asks, there aren't any issues.

He just doesn't suffer fools.

So you can be a fat blonde on a medicre pony, and if you try hard and listen, he'll be fine with you.

You can be super talented and skinny, on an amazing horse, but if you ignore him or don't try, he'll blast you.

Sunnyhorse
Apr. 22, 2009, 12:10 PM
My daughter lessons with a trainer who rides in a GM clinic every year. She gets the buffered approach this way. What she learns in those lessons when he comes back is amazing. There is a definite trickle down of info and she loves it. Things may change over the years but strong basics are always needed and set the foundation. Her trainer does review "THE BOOK" before the clinic to brush up on terminology because there are always questions.

I would love to clinic with GM, but I also know that I'm not cut out for his teaching style. I get the same benefits from my wonderful trainer of 11 years, who rode with GM as a junior. She's an old-school horsewoman in the truest and best sense of the word, but I've never once heard her raise her voice or insult a student. (Nor does she give me grief over my Sprenger stirrups, which keep my 42-year-old knees from rebelling. :D )

gasrgoose
Apr. 22, 2009, 12:26 PM
OMG. This is so lame. All of it. Ridiculous. Dye your hair to ride with him, good lord.
If you're fat and can't be told you're fat, if you ride like crap and can't be told you ride like crap, if you're doing stupid stuff and can't handle being told that, you need to get a reality check. The riding world is so full of delusional people it's just pitiful. Thank god for people who tell it like it is.

Other than the "this is so lame. All of it" part of your comments, I agree with YOU. Unfortunately, it is not just the riding world it is just our(America) culture. Alot of people don't like to being told they are the problem (with riding, weight or life), they want to blame something or someone else. But, just as some people are afraid of GM (and the truth he might reveal), some want to ride with him to find out the absolute truth about their riding skills. My guess is some of the people who are very critical of GM are not near as critical of their own faults. And by the way we all have faults, yes even GM. So, let's not over emphasize the faults of GM just because he is the most successful horseman in the H/J world.

To those who

Mara
Apr. 22, 2009, 12:57 PM
It baffles me as to why anyone would pay the (not inexpensive, to understate) fee for a clinic with GM and then not listen.
As for the weight issue, it does bother me that for so many people it seems to be more about looks than performance. If you take your sport seriously, it stands to reason that you should look to condition your body to perform to its full potential. This goes for any sport, not just riding. And riding is a hell of a lot less punishing to the human participants in terms of image than, say, gymnastics or skating.

harveyhorses
Apr. 22, 2009, 12:58 PM
I've never met him, but I have learned so much from him. From the ground up. I have read his book, seen his equitation critique, and just from that I know I would not enjoy a clinic with him. However, I would not dream of showing up late, with a dirty horse, or not dressed correctly for ANY lesson or clinic. Oh for goodness sake, the comparison to the atheletes who break laws and are forgiven because they win games?? If you can't take critisism stay home. You don't learn much if you don't make a mistake or two.
Forgive my spelling.

Eventer13
Apr. 22, 2009, 12:59 PM
To the OP: there are plenty of GM clinics on youtube. I was watching one the other day. While I'm sure you don't get the same feel for the man as you would auditing/riding, it can still give you a good idea what he's like.

Trevelyan96
Apr. 22, 2009, 01:03 PM
Its well known tht GM has a few pet peeves. At the top of his lists are overweight riders, sloppiness, bad legs and bad crest releases.

If you know you're going to show up at his clinic with any of the above, and don't have a thick skin, then don't clinic or ride with him. Frankly, I find his blunt, honest, lack of political correctness refreshing.

At least he's consistent.

LSM1212
Apr. 22, 2009, 01:06 PM
I have not ridden in a clinic w/ GM but I have audited. And I agree with the posters that said: If you pay attention and try to do what he asking of you, no worries. And the paying attention goes the auditors too. He doesn't tolerate any chit chat.

Never saw him criticize a rider because of their weight or hair color. But he sure did get on their case if they weren't paying attention!

I actually got to have lunch w/ him during the break. Very interesting guy.

Can I ride in a clinic w/ him? No. And not because of the way he teaches... but because they don't offer the "weenie" divisions. I think the lowest is 2'6" or so. And I haven't gotten to that height yet! :D

FancyFree
Apr. 22, 2009, 01:14 PM
I've posted this story before when someone wrote about what a terror GM is. My former trainer did a three day clinic with him. I watched one day. He was very professional the whole time. He loved my trainer who has dark blond hair. She is a beautiful rider with perfect equitation. She is also very disciplined and particular about everything, so I think they meshed well. LOL.

I never saw him be rude to anyone. He was exasperated with one girl who kept dropping her crop and also fell off. But he never said anything insulting to her. I got so much out of it by just watching. My trainer had encouraged me to ride in it, but I had heard all the horror stories and was a bit aprehensive. I thought I'd just check it out first. Looking back, I totally wish I had done it.

serendipityhunter
Apr. 22, 2009, 01:40 PM
I went to Hunterdon about 7 years ago to help my trainer who was riding in a three day clinic with him. I think he was fine as long as people were doing what he asked promptly. I do remember him telling my trainer that her stick was too short, so we went to Beval that night to purchase a longer stick!! I also remember him commenting on how he hated the jointed stirrups. He also got pretty frustrated with some riders that did not know what the half turn in reverse was. I do remember that he liked all the different breeds that were there, including a cute and small Connemara cross that an adult was riding. He also liked the TB that my trainer was riding. I think sometimes some of us are intimidated to clinic with someone if we don't have a fancy, expensive, huge warmblood. The other thing I liked is that he will get on your horse to demonstrate how something should be done correctly, especially over fences!!

twobays
Apr. 22, 2009, 01:50 PM
I've never participated in a GM clinic, and I'm curious...the weight thing has come up several times in this thread. When he criticizes someone for their weight, are we talking someone who is truly overweight, or someone who is perhaps curvy, but not fat (like a fit size 8 or something)? I'm just curious...

MyGiantPony
Apr. 22, 2009, 02:00 PM
I've never participated in a GM clinic, and I'm curious...the weight thing has come up several times in this thread. When he criticizes someone for their weight, are we talking someone who is truly overweight, or someone who is perhaps curvy, but not fat (like a fit size 8 or something)? I'm just curious...

It's all about function - a thin rider can be more effective.

Fluffy isn't his ideal, but if you are fit and effective, it's not going to be an issue for him.

LetsChat
Apr. 22, 2009, 02:03 PM
OMG. This is so lame. All of it. Ridiculous. Dye your hair to ride with him, good lord.
If you're fat and can't be told you're fat, if you ride like crap and can't be told you ride like crap, if you're doing stupid stuff and can't handle being told that, you need to get a reality check. The riding world is so full of delusional people it's just pitiful. Thank god for people who tell it like it is.

Tidy Rabbit - You're the best.... Couldn't have said it better. As much as I believe people shouldn't be outright cruel, sometimes the truth hurts.

findeight
Apr. 22, 2009, 02:06 PM
Never seen him do it. The only hint of weight I have seen was to a skinny Junior who pooped out halfway through the excercises a couple of times and he told her she needed to work on fitness because she was too weak. Short too and he pointed out she needed more muscle to compensate for the lack of leg.

Oh, heard all the stories but have an idea the victims aggravated him with either attitude or poor riding to become a target becuse plenty more in the same size range were not targeted. And none are recent.

He is a perfectionist and expects others to have the same overall discipline in life that he does. Lack of self discipline is simply not tolerated. In anybody and no excuses are excepted.

For the OP and the not wanting to start a huge train wreck? Wayyyyy too late. These threads come up several times every year. Old news. Old arguments.

twobays
Apr. 22, 2009, 02:07 PM
It's all about function - a thin rider can be more effective.

Fluffy isn't his ideal, but if you are fit and effective, it's not going to be an issue for him.

I guess what I'm asking is, what do you mean by thin? Is he picking on people who are a healthy weight but not a size 0, or is he picking on people who are *actually* overweight?

If someone is a fit size 6 or so, I don't think they're necessarily going to be less effective than someone thinner.

ETA: I really have no problem with GM doing whatever he wants. If you want to ride with him, great; if not, also great. I'm just genuinely curious about the weight thing.

lesson junkie
Apr. 22, 2009, 02:08 PM
I've heard a couple of GM horror stories in the first person, one I believed and one I didn't. For a few years I rode with a BNT who is very close to GM, and she always encouraged me to clinic with him, but I was too intimidated by his rep. She said I would be fine-I'd be on time, turned out, would listen and try my best-why show up otherwise?

I think George Morris and Bob Knight (basketball coach) have shared a womb at one time.

findeight
Apr. 22, 2009, 02:11 PM
He picks on people who piss him off. He will find something personal to add to the barbs. No denying he can be mean.

Or used to, not so much today. Like I said, old news.

Bobby Knight? Don't think so. Not the greatest coach we have and had more temper in inappropriate places for those who did not ask for it.

mvp
Apr. 22, 2009, 02:11 PM
twobays-- good question! The man talks about "fitness" and that comes in many shapes. Is that a euphemism for fat, which others implanted in GM's vocabulary? He got raked over the coals in several letters to the editor of PH awhile back for intervening in an issue properly belonging to a patient and her physician. He subsequently toned that down in PH, perhaps with the help of that magazine's editors.

I appreciate the comments that clarify GM's position, or perhaps gives us a map to his "mine field." If you don't try 100%, you get nailed. Fair enough, even a great idea.

I'm old school. No cellies, iPods whathave you when I'm with my horse. I expect 100% from him, so I give that in return from the moment I open his stall door. I can't imagine that anyone showing up at George's house think they could get away with doing otherwise. If they need to be brought up short-- shown that their idea of 100% isn't quite there, then that's fine. Someone's got to do it, and apparently the rider got a long, long way without it.

I *remember* the few times I got nailed for that as a kid, and I'm glad I took those stinging comments seriously. But they were always put in terms of my effort and obligation to my horse. No problem. Sometimes I genuinely didn't know that I could do more and was forced/helped to find better in myself.

As to the people who explain that they have a too busy a life to put "all into horses," I'm not with you, nor are most BNTs. You don't have to be all horses all the time. You do have to be all horses when you are with them.

By the way, Lendon Gray regularly makes her grown DQ acolytes cry. When you can't shorten a stirrup fast enough, be ready for some wrath. I think that's out of line, but it probably does not come out of left field.

Maybe I'd be "safe" with any of these peeps. But I'll spend my money (and less of it!) auditing because I can spare myself rudeness and can pay enough attention to get a great deal out of the lesson.

Ravencrest_Camp
Apr. 22, 2009, 02:13 PM
I think George Morris and Bob Knight (basketball coach) have shared a womb at one time.

Along with Vince Lombardi. :winkgrin:

findeight
Apr. 22, 2009, 02:20 PM
This was my eye witnessed account of lessons @ Hunterdon w/ GM.
Drive in park in neat anal lines, not one crumb of our horses droppings to leave trailer onto his spotless gravel. Do not park in someone's signed parking spot. Make sure you know what you are supposed to do before you get there and where everything is, whats expected and OH make sure you are 30-45 minutes early so you have plenty of time to groom groom groom trailer dirt off and get yourself dressed and standing mounted at the appointeed time for you meeting w/ the queen (oops did I say that)
Groom and tack-up as if going to a Appointments class, dress well there was much discussion about if a sweater had "pills" on it and tidy matchy tidy (this was not a 1st lesson either) polishing of boots etc.


Thats just terrible. Expecting a barn to be spotless, having to clean up, after yourself, know what you are supposed to do an when, groom your own horse to perfection, have everything spotless. Yes, very abusive indeed

I'll grant you the pilling sweater but the rest of this is bad because...:confused:.

Andrew
Apr. 22, 2009, 02:29 PM
This has been beaten to death..... and I will post AGAIN..... as I'm sure Laurie P will do as well......

I rode with him....GM..."Andrew might not be one of the best riders, but he's certainly one of my best students!"

1. If you are a shrinking violet..... DON'T RIDE WITH HIM

2. If you want someone to tell you just how wonderful you are..... DON'T RIDE WITH HIM

3. If you want to become a better rider and horseperson and can LISTEN and FOLLOW directions ... Ride with him.

4.He is THE BEST and expects THE BEST from his students and clinincians. If you aren't willing to undertake his teaching/coaching style KNOWING FULL WELL IN ADVCACE what he expects.... DON'T RIDE WITH HIM

5. It's a myth of him not liking blondes....it's JUST NOT TRUE.....


I know I am starting the HUGE TRAIN (if not the biggest one ever set lose on this thread) rolling on this one! So feel free to PM me if you dont want to post :) Keep in mind this info is not coming directly from my mouth! It came from multiple people! And this post is simply me trying to get more information on something that may be biased.

I was at the World Cup and talking to some people (4) that either 1) knew/met GM (through some sort of connection) or 2) Have taken multiple clinics with him. They all said the same thing: "He is a grumpy diva who is a very demanding almost abusive coach who is very set in his ways". The basically told me that in order to ride with him you need to have a VERY thick shell and be able to take lots of verbal abuse with a grain of salt. They all told me that he does not like blondes and that they know multiple people that dye their hair before they do clinics with him. They even said they saw this one "slightly" big in the hips girl who he called, during the middle of the clinic and everyone I might add, a "butchers daughter" and he said that "she needed to loose weight before she got back on her horse" :eek:.

Does any of this sound like him? I have heard about people that think of him as god and others that think he is what I described above. I just wanted to know what others thought about this.

Go Fish
Apr. 22, 2009, 02:30 PM
I audited a GM clinic last year. There were several big-name GP riders/horses in the clinic, so the quality of riding was at the highest level. However, there were also amys and juniors riding and they came in all sizes. He got after people for failing to connect what he was asking for to what they were doing, some idiot had put her horse in the wrong class - the horse was clearly not ready to jump that high, and several got kicked for not paying attention when their turn came up. I never saw him belittle anyone, say a word about weight, or make snide comments in any way. Absolutely professional and an amazing experience for me to watch this quality of instruction and riding (I'm a hunter rider).

GM reputation is what it is. If you're a big wuss, then don't go. Simple as that. You all should go try riding with a western trainer if you think GM is tough!

Lori
Apr. 22, 2009, 02:34 PM
OH, great! I can be his poster child for how not to look: Short, blonde and rides ponies!!!
LOL

I love GM nevertheless.

theoldgreymare
Apr. 22, 2009, 02:42 PM
Not all berated their students but they were sure tougher then what you see out there today and did not worry about hurting self esteem or seeming not so polite


There were other "greats" (RWM and VHV come to mind) from the same era that could be tough as nails on a rider as well. If you wanted to ride with the best, you dealt with it. Plain truth is they got results. In my recollection of seeing these trainers week in and week out (GM included) I don't think I would ever say they were "abusive" to a student. Straightforward, yes. If you rode like crap you got called out for it. Some people do better without the coddling and hand holding that I see so much of today.

WW_Queen
Apr. 22, 2009, 02:48 PM
Sounds like too many people who were BFD's at their own stable were upset to find out they WEREN'T "all that" once in the ring with someone who wouldn't cater to their ego. Big surprise.

By now, most people seem to believe in the "Legend of GM" who is a fire-breathing old guy who "discriminates" against people or horses who are X, Y, Z. Maybe he's just a regular person with vast amounts of experience who is too wise to put up with the poor riding, whining and excuses coming from some riders today.

There are many wonderful coaches/clinicians today to choose from. If you can't stand the heat then get out of the kitchen. :rolleyes:

Hauwse
Apr. 22, 2009, 02:50 PM
Seriously!! The Man is one of USA's great riders, he has been teaching/coaching/training for like 2000 years, he took our team, with a couple great horses and some decent ones to the Olympics and brought back gold, there is probably not one rider that has been successful Internationally that has not learned a ton from him directly or indirectly, he is, right now one of the few people, with the power, who actually cares about the sport, the industry and is doing something to improve it.

I find it hard to believe that people have the nerve to whine about his delivery as a clinician!!

I played almost every sport as youngster and football and hockey all the way through my first years of university. There is no such thing as a good coach who treats their students with kid gloves at any serious level of competition. There may be some who are less apt to fly off the handle or who are able to express themselves in a more appropriate manner but it all comes down to the same thing, when you are doing something wrong they all let you know immediately and directly.

Now I know people will pull out the, "but I am paying for this" card, which I call BS on. For one, a trainers responsibility is equally split between the horse and the rider, and unfortunately with a lot of these "I am afraid to hurt your feelings" trainers the horse is the one that gets hurt as a result of a trainer paddy caking around a riders feelings. So what if GM tells you, you are too fat to be on the horse, if it is true, it’s true. What horse can be expected to carry a 300lb fatty around a challenging course?? A large individual is highly unlikely to try out for the gymnastics team because they just don’t have the ability to accomplish the movements, same damn thing for riding, except the horse is the one that cannot do what he is supposed to because of the handicap, and the fact that they will try is only worse. Being overweight is no less an issue for a horse than a rider with bad hands smacking them in the mouth every time they jump a fence? I am 6'3" tall and try to stay around 175-180lbs, if I let myself go I could easily be in the 210-225lbs range, which is simply too much to ask of my horses. I cannot expect a 16hh, fine horse to cart around 200+ lbs and be competitive at anything more than hack classes etc. Remember handicapping? Have you seen the impact 10 extra pounds can have on a horse running a mile, even less?? That is in large part why they killed the weight classes in jumping!

GM is a teacher; his job is to teach a crap load of information (to some) in a very short time frame. People go to him to learn from one of the very best. If you cannot, as a serious student of the sport deal with the reality of the changes you need to make to get better, or you want the delivery to be expressed in a manner that suits your sensibilities than don't go to his clinics, period.

If there is every any doubt about his ability just watch a rider having a problem with a horse get called off, and watch how in 3.5 seconds he has that horse working like a super star.

As far as I am concerned he can be the biggest SOB on the planet (which he is not) as long as he accomplishes his task, who freakin' cares??

MyGiantPony
Apr. 22, 2009, 02:56 PM
I guess what I'm asking is, what do you mean by thin? Is he picking on people who are a healthy weight but not a size 0, or is he picking on people who are *actually* overweight?

If someone is a fit size 6 or so, I don't think they're necessarily going to be less effective than someone thinner.

ETA: I really have no problem with GM doing whatever he wants. If you want to ride with him, great; if not, also great. I'm just genuinely curious about the weight thing.

I've never seen him pick on anyone because of weight.

The first time I rode with him, I was probably a size 14. He said I was a nice rider.

twobays
Apr. 22, 2009, 03:00 PM
So what if GM tells you, you are too fat to be on the horse, if it is true, it’s true. What horse can be expected to carry a 300lb fatty around a challenging course??




I guess my issue would be if he was getting on people because they didn't fit his aesthetic, not because they were ineffective/hindering their horse. I have no idea if that's the case, but someone mentioned it earlier in the thread which piqued my interest. Its one thing to tell a 300 lb person that their weight is hindering their horse...its another thing to get on a 135 pound teenager because she isn't a size 0. I'm sure that GM is nuanced enough to understand the difference.

Again, people who like GM should clinic with him, those that can't stand him should stay away. There are plenty of sucessful riders that don't ride with him, and countless sucessful riders that do.

findeight
Apr. 22, 2009, 03:04 PM
Ok, one more thing and I'll be done with this...

OP was talking to current WC riders and got this from them.

Pot, meet kettle. Lots of ego there and more then one prone to diva style behavior. Could be a little jealousy in there as well as GM has made a nice living teaching and is pretty much a household name in the horse world, some of them, not so much.

Too bad they have nothing better to do then gossip behind somebody's back about long hashed out topics that are pretty much common knowledge.

snoopy
Apr. 22, 2009, 03:13 PM
I know and have known a rather frisky diva male dressage trainer for many years and consider him a good friend. I went to visit with him and he was teaching a lesson at the time. I sat quietly in the gallery whilst he singled out a rather chubby female rider. He would periodically stop, look in her direction and say something along the lines that he was distracted by something from her...he asked her to check her stirrup leathers, the whip, her hat, etc. This went on for most of the hour until he stopped mid sentence and wheeled round in her direction and said "I KNOW what is distracting me...it is the movement of the fat on your stomach!!!" She of course was mortified. I was appalled to say the very least. When the lesson was over and we all went back into the stable block...she was understandably upset. He went over to all the other students and said "come with me"...He proceeded to take everyone including this girl and her parents over to her tack trunk, opened it and there he pulled out a packet of crisps (potato chips). He threw them in her face and said "THAT is the reason you will never be a good rider". The other riders were visably uncomfortable, BUT...her parents instead of being angry AGREED with him. This girl was no more than 15 years old. Can you imagine what this did to her...the lasting damage this caused???!!! She was hardly over weight. I took him outside and blasted the shit out of him.
A word of advice, ANY instructor that insults, embarrasses, and belittles you is not an instructor you should spend any time with...let alone give your money to. An instructor should build you up whilst helping you to address your challenges.

Go Fish
Apr. 22, 2009, 03:14 PM
[QUOTE=Hauwse;4041380 If there is every any doubt about his ability just watch a rider having a problem with a horse get called off, and watch how in 3.5 seconds he has that horse working like a super star. [/QUOTE]

Boy, ain't that the truth. That man can RIDE...

Andrew
Apr. 22, 2009, 03:15 PM
ummmmmmm....... little .......NOT :-)))!!!

:lol:

ROSTER.

It's funny because GM has been referred to as a little rooster.

Andrew
Apr. 22, 2009, 03:16 PM
TR LOL!!!!!!! T R U E!!! Maybe they should take up badmitten???


OMG. This is so lame. All of it. Ridiculous. Dye your hair to ride with him, good lord.
If you're fat and can't be told you're fat, if you ride like crap and can't be told you ride like crap, if you're doing stupid stuff and can't handle being told that, you need to get a reality check. The riding world is so full of delusional people it's just pitiful. Thank god for people who tell it like it is.

findeight
Apr. 22, 2009, 03:18 PM
:lol::lol:

Green Acres
Apr. 22, 2009, 03:22 PM
I audited a clinic he gave last year and he expects everyone to pay attention and do what he says.

There was one heavy young lady in one session but she rode well and he liked her. He actually used her as an example for others to watch. He never said one thing about her weight the day I was there. She was good and worked hard...that is what he wants and expects.

MILOUTE55
Apr. 22, 2009, 03:31 PM
OP was talking to current WC riders and got this from them.



I'm pretty sure those were World Cup spectators and not World Cup riders making those comments about GM.... the top riders would know better than to criticize someone like him :yes:

Foxtrot's
Apr. 22, 2009, 03:56 PM
Weighing in on the side of GM because I have audited and have a daughter ride with him.
He can be extremely charming, does not suffer fools gladly, has a cutting wit, and demands a lot. Before our first clinic we went through these posts and drummed up the "do not's" and the "do's" - revised the reversed turn, had spotless tack, real fitting numnah, etc. etc.

But terminology has its problem. He told the line to stop at the gate. They thought he meant the entry gate, he repeated, and repeated, everyone was terrified and froze, because he said not there, the GATE. It turned out he meant the jump with the white picket.

They have been all round successful experiences because they all listened, didn't chat amongst themselves and tried really hard. He used compliments when deserved but actually does have his little teacher's pets and sets people up as examples (good and bad).

However -- I do despise instructors who do publicly humiliate, demean and destroy their students to make themselves look better. GM truly loves to teach and see results.
He has mellowed over the years, for the better. He even asked my daughter to come down to California to join in a clinic there and would find a horse for her. If you are at the clinic to learn, then you will. There are none better, unless they are his former students.

btw - he claimed he goes to the gym every day, even when on a circuit to keep fit (!!)
He can and will still climb onto any horse and prove he can fix it, and he is in his 70's.
Honestly, if your ego is too big and you are tender skinned, don't attend. He does not need to be training wimpy beginners or ammy trailriders with 'poor me' attitudes.

Oh - if you are putting on a clinic make sure those assigned to the leg up duties know how to do it. He does not like to be shoved over the other side of a horse.

LetsChat
Apr. 22, 2009, 04:03 PM
Again, people who like GM should clinic with him, those that can't stand him should stay away. There are plenty of sucessful riders that don't ride with him, and countless sucessful riders that do.

I AM agreeing with you but isn't this obvious. If you don't like him or if you expect him to pick on you, you probably aren't going to listen to him or will have a chip on your shoulder hence causing him to get angry and pick on you. It's like a self fulfilling prophecy.

Angel Undercover
Apr. 22, 2009, 04:04 PM
I get so frustrated with the "everyone's a winner" and hand holding that goes on, not just in riding but in society in general. I have unfortunately never ridden in a GM clinic, but if the opportunity arose I would in a heartbeat. I appreciate someone who can tell me what I'm doing wrong and how I can fix it. I don't pay my trainer to tell me what a great rider I am, because I'm not. I guess it's my perfectionism/OCD, but I think that GM and I would get along quite well! :winkgrin:

Speedy
Apr. 22, 2009, 04:12 PM
They all said the same thing: "He is a grumpy diva who is a very demanding almost abusive coach who is very set in his ways". The basically told me that in order to ride with him you need to have a VERY thick shell and be able to take lots of verbal abuse with a grain of salt.

Does any of this sound like him? I have heard about people that think of him as god and others that think he is what I described above. I just wanted to know what others thought about this.

In my experience, all true. I have never been so exhausted in my life, mentally, after 3 days with him. I am sure that I survived only because I entered the ring with some very thick skin to begin with. While I am totally ok with a coach who is brutually honest about skills, suitability, etc., I was a little taken aback by the tenor of some of his remarks to other riders in my group. There was a lot that was said that had nothing to do with the task at hand and that was, quite honestly, just nasty...for the sake of being nasty...because, well, he could get away with it...it had that flavor and he was definitely playing to the audience. Big difference in my book between a tough coach who calls it like he sees it, and a nasty one...that said, I would work with him again. If you can get past the nastiness, he certainly has something to share with a rider who is looking to excel.

I should also say that I am blond, and he didn't treat me any differently than the others.

TatteredDaydreamer
Apr. 22, 2009, 04:26 PM
Reminds me of a coach I used to lesson with and adore. He had the rep of being nasty and a screamer, also hard to take.

He and I got along swimmingly.....why? Because I LISTENED to him and tried my hardest and was very interested in learning and IMPROVING. It blew me away, the attitude that the majority of the people had in our group lessons, ignoring and talking back to him. No wonder why he got frusterated and yelled. I wouldn't have been able to hold my composure for as long as he had.

However, if I'm doing a terrible job I want to be told that, I don't want my hand held and to be coddled through a lesson. You don't learn anything that way other than half as*ing it is perfect acceptable or worse, fantastic. Just MO.......


Edited to add....I'm not a stick figure but when I'm riding and in shape I'm very fit, and effective. Never once had this man said anything about my weight, and I'd heard he said it about others. He actually commented about how effective I was and what I was able to get out of my mount....

RugBug
Apr. 22, 2009, 04:40 PM
Thank god for people who tell it like it is.


So true. If I'm riding like crap, I want to be told I'm riding like crap...not placated with an 'that's okay, you'll do better next time'. If I'm not paying attention or doing what is asked of me, I expect to be called out.

I've audited a GM clinic and from what I saw, he was fair in his expectations, had some praise for those that were trying (whether or not they were doing it perfectly) and only got upset with the ones that didn't even seem to be trying. The brain-dead as he likes to say.

I would love to clinic with him, but I haven't had the horse as of yet...I hope to someday.

Moli
Apr. 22, 2009, 05:11 PM
My 65 year old father (90 now and still going strong) sat through one of his clinics, rose out of his seat and started into the ring where he was going to "deck" GM. This is a TRUE story. This man (my father) was shot down in WWII and helped out of France by the underground. He is a pacifist and has never raised his hand to any of his daughters. He neither shouts at people, nor does he verbally abuse anyone. And to have him rise to this state of anger....to almost strike someone.....took waaaaay more than I can describe is this simple paragraph. GM was abusive, rude and NOT a good clinician that weekend. He fell off twice (horses that he grabbed the rider off and was trying to prove a point), and he contradicted himself more often than I can relate. I can only say that I am sure that if you align yourself politically with George, that it must benefit you somehow. Otherwise, why would anyone want to pay ANY amount to listen to his dribble. amen

Moli
Apr. 22, 2009, 05:39 PM
Oh, and most important part of this message is that he was NOT watching my daughter's section of the clinic. THAT was the best part.....it was his verbal abuse of others' children that had him "rise to the occasion". If it had been over my child (actually, I rode in the clinic as well, and I was not in the ring either), I probably would not have pulled him off........:eek::D

LindsayK
Apr. 22, 2009, 05:40 PM
I've had the opportunity to audit 2 of George Morris' clinics and if I had the opportunity to ride I'd jump at it in a heart beat. He is tough, hard to understand, and quick to get after you, even if it's an honest mistake (once a rider, and the audience couldn't tell if he was saying "canter or pat her", and he FREAKED). But none the less that rider learned how to pay attention like never before.

What I've learned about GM is that he feels as a coach it's your job to "stretch" your students, but not "break" them. If you aren't stretching them physically, mentally, and emotionally, you aren't doing your job. He also believes that some students learn from being embarrassed. He will grab a student's attention by saying something embarrassing (making fun of her hair colour, or calling some one slow). It's not nice, but I've seen him achieve amazing results this way.

On the other hand, I don't understand why people would be so concerned about the quality of their horse before attending one of his clinics. Last year I watched him teach a class full of stellar warmbloods, and a high headed, high stepping, half out of control pinto saddlebred. He continued to make a positive example out of the saddlebred's young rider, and constantly said she was the best student in the class. Until the time came where she didn't understand what the exercise was and he laughed and asked her what colour hair she had... she was blonde. He even complimented her horse's good jumping style, and not once said anything negative about his quality. There was also a fairly overweight (but fit enough and strong) lady in his class and he didn't say one thing about her weight. I do think he can be harsh, however I feel it is part of his system to embarrass students to grab their attention and have them LEARN.

Just my observation

Janet
Apr. 22, 2009, 05:44 PM
There is a long thread about a clinic I took with GM several years ago.
http://chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=35683
GM clinic- brave or foolhardy?

I was somewhat overweight.
I am a (strawberry) blonde.
My hair was neatly braided and folded under (but not IN the helmet).
My tack and boots were clean but not polished.
My horse and my clothes were clean and neat, but not clipped and polished.
I had a crop with a LOOP (nobody told me he didn't like them)

When he asked me for my crop he said "the only time to us a crop with a loop is when you are riding cross country" and acted as if he were going to break it. I said "But that IS the crop I use cross country!" He looked surprised and gave it back to me. (Next day I used one without a loop).

But everything he asked- I tried.
I treid REALLY HARD not to make the same mistake twice.
I paid attention and answered his questions intelligently - even if it wasn't the precise answer he was looking for.

He went from looking as if he planned to pick on me to using me as an example. "YOU know how to do a shoulder in." "YOU have an automatic release." But he also told me very bluntly what I was doing wrong.

What I got out of it (aside from some good exercises) was confirmation of the same things my dressage instructor was telling me-
"You need to keep your legs more still"
"You need to keep your hands more still"

Simple, but not easy.

And it still stands me in good stead, 8 years later.

He is opinionated.
He doesn't suffer fools gladly.
He doesn't have any patience for people who don't concentrate and try.
He doesn't have any patience for people who want to "discuss" things, or think that they are an exception (e.g. "But that won't work for MY horse because ...")
He doesn't have any patience for people who make the same mistake twice.
It is clear that some people rub him the wrong way, and he is extra hard on them.

BUT
If you play the game his way, you will learn a lot.

Janet
Apr. 22, 2009, 05:49 PM
I would love to clinic with him, but I haven't had the horse as of yet...I hope to someday.
You don't need "the horse". The group I rode in had several eventers, several foxhunters, one jumper and one h/j pro. He was hardest, in some ways, on the pro - "you have learned too many bad habits riding green horses".

Several of the horses were clearly NOT destined for the h/j ring. But as long as they could jump safely he didn't criticise the horses.

lauriep
Apr. 22, 2009, 06:12 PM
I guess what I'm asking is, what do you mean by thin? Is he picking on people who are a healthy weight but not a size 0, or is he picking on people who are *actually* overweight?

If someone is a fit size 6 or so, I don't think they're necessarily going to be less effective than someone thinner.

ETA: I really have no problem with GM doing whatever he wants. If you want to ride with him, great; if not, also great. I'm just genuinely curious about the weight thing.

He doesn't pick on people about theit weight. I have seen very chubby riders be perfectly fine, never a comment uttered, IF THEY DID THEIR JOB AS A RIDER AND THEIR WEIGHT DIDN'T INTERFERE WITH THAT JOB.

We have all seen riders who, when heavy, lose control of their upper bodies, their leg will roll out of position because of the heavy thigh (my personal problem), or who can't hold their position in the air and thump down on the horse's back. THESE riders he will say something to, because they are bothering/hurting their horses, or giving mixed signals because of the lack of body control.

But the riders who are heavy, but STRONG and can do the job, stay out of the horse's way and have control of their bodies, NO PROBLEM.

TatteredDaydreamer
Apr. 22, 2009, 06:49 PM
He doesn't pick on people about theit weight. I have seen very chubby riders be perfectly fine, never a comment uttered, IF THEY DID THEIR JOB AS A RIDER AND THEIR WEIGHT DIDN'T INTERFERE WITH THAT JOB.

We have all seen riders who, when heavy, lose control of their upper bodies, their leg will roll out of position because of the heavy thigh (my personal problem), or who can't hold their position in the air and thump down on the horse's back. THESE riders he will say something to, because they are bothering/hurting their horses, or giving mixed signals because of the lack of body control.

But the riders who are heavy, but STRONG and can do the job, stay out of the horse's way and have control of their bodies, NO PROBLEM.

Which seems perfectly reasonable, considering GM is the consummate horseman and concerned first and foremost about the care of the horse, yes? Thicker skin is needed, me thinks.

twobays
Apr. 22, 2009, 07:34 PM
He doesn't pick on people about theit weight. I have seen very chubby riders be perfectly fine, never a comment uttered, IF THEY DID THEIR JOB AS A RIDER AND THEIR WEIGHT DIDN'T INTERFERE WITH THAT JOB.

We have all seen riders who, when heavy, lose control of their upper bodies, their leg will roll out of position because of the heavy thigh (my personal problem), or who can't hold their position in the air and thump down on the horse's back. THESE riders he will say something to, because they are bothering/hurting their horses, or giving mixed signals because of the lack of body control.

But the riders who are heavy, but STRONG and can do the job, stay out of the horse's way and have control of their bodies, NO PROBLEM.

Thanks for the straightforward answer...I figured as much.

You hear a lot of watercooler type gossip that he'll pull you off your horse if you aren't a size two, but I figured that was just exageration Thanks.

Addison
Apr. 22, 2009, 07:34 PM
My daughter and I have both done clinics with George Morris during the past few years and have had a blast with him. We respected his preferences regarding tack, attire and the care of the horse (which is pretty much what we do at home as well). He was quite generous with his advice, critique and praise when warranted. I can't wait to clinic with him again this fall!

RugBug
Apr. 22, 2009, 08:16 PM
You don't need "the horse". The group I rode in had several eventers, several foxhunters, one jumper and one h/j pro. He was hardest, in some ways, on the pro - "you have learned too many bad habits riding green horses".

Several of the horses were clearly NOT destined for the h/j ring. But as long as they could jump safely he didn't criticise the horses.

Janet, what I mean by 'the horse' is one that can do at least 3'. I've been hindered by that my entire riding career. My horse was almost to that point...and got injured. The one I'm riding now can do SOME 3' but not a whole lesson or clinic and not true width stuff (we usually jump fairly narrow oxers). If GM did a clinic at 2'9" I'd be there in a heartbeat.

Van Gogh
Apr. 22, 2009, 08:46 PM
They do a 2'6" section at the clinic that I have been to in October in Birmingham, AL.

tidy rabbit
Apr. 22, 2009, 09:14 PM
Janet, what I mean by 'the horse' is one that can do at least 3'. I've been hindered by that my entire riding career. My horse was almost to that point...and got injured. The one I'm riding now can do SOME 3' but not a whole lesson or clinic and not true width stuff (we usually jump fairly narrow oxers). If GM did a clinic at 2'9" I'd be there in a heartbeat.

You come out here in the fall and you can ride one of mine. :-) I'll ride Aero and you can take Havoline.

mvp
Apr. 22, 2009, 09:49 PM
So GM sounds quite fair--praise for a job well done, neutral but exacting demands for change where needed, and a sometimes nasty "wake up call" for slackers.

I'm not a slacker in any respect, except for the lack of a fancy horse. (The one I have is very broke and correct). I suppose I'm "safe" and exactly the kind of person who could benefit.

But how many slackers show up a GM clinic? In other words, is he distributing wake up calls with surgical precision?

I teach Ivy League undergrads who are not slackers by most peoples' standards. Yet they can seem complacent to those who have a better sense of their talent and the stuff they could learn if they exerted themselves. Wake up calls, then, have their pedagogical place. But I see no reason to have one of these include anything rude, personal or even to suggest that the student planned on slacking. Often people have no idea that there is some kind of effort beyond their estimation of their 100%. That fact, judiciously explained in terms the student can understand, goes a long, long way.

If you want to be good with students-- whether people or horses-- you have to come to them, so to speak. If not, if you have one type you teach well and just mangle the rest, you lose alot. If GM crippled, say, 15 horses for every one that could take his training style, people would be up in arms. (Perhaps he does, but I wouldn't know.) So when he eats the same 15 paying customers for breakfast for every one he appreciates, it's not the students' fault.

JenEM
Apr. 22, 2009, 09:49 PM
Yep, both the VA and MD clinics have had 2'6" sections. I'm not sure if my mare will be ready for them this year, as I worry about her flatwork not being quite solid enough, but its definitely one of my goals.

I worry more about GM's thoughts on chestnut TB mares who don't like lateral work more than I worry about his thought on my haircolor ;)

lauriep
Apr. 22, 2009, 09:56 PM
In my experience, all true. I have never been so exhausted in my life, mentally, after 3 days with him. I am sure that I survived only because I entered the ring with some very thick skin to begin with. While I am totally ok with a coach who is brutually honest about skills, suitability, etc., I was a little taken aback by the tenor of some of his remarks to other riders in my group. There was a lot that was said that had nothing to do with the task at hand and that was, quite honestly, just nasty...for the sake of being nasty...because, well, he could get away with it...it had that flavor and he was definitely playing to the audience. Big difference in my book between a tough coach who calls it like he sees it, and a nasty one...that said, I would work with him again. If you can get past the nastiness, he certainly has something to share with a rider who is looking to excel.

I should also say that I am blond, and he didn't treat me any differently than the others.

Can you be more specific about this nastiness?

Clarence
Apr. 22, 2009, 10:34 PM
Why don't you rent or buy his videos? I have never ridden/audited one of his clinics live, but, if the videos are representative of his style in general, I think you have nothing to worry about.

- C

Valeureux
Apr. 22, 2009, 10:38 PM
I haven't ever ridden with him, but if I ever got the oppurtunity I would jump on it. Everyone could use some GM teachings. I've watched a few of his clinics, and I thought that he was fair and only harsh on the people who needed to be corrected.
And if anyone knows of ANY upcoming GM clinics in WI/IL area please let me know - I'd love to sign up!
:)

MHM
Apr. 22, 2009, 10:47 PM
GM a poor teacher? That could be the funniest thing I've ever read on this BB. :lol:

GM is a fantastic teacher. He has a time-tested system of getting the horse and rider to perform to the best of their abilities, though his style may not suit somebody with thin skin.

I've audited his clinics many times in the past 10-15 years, and I never saw him say or do anything that was unjustified. If you pay attention and do your best, you have nothing to worry about with GM.

If you're not going to pay attention and do your best, why bother to attend a clinic with anyone?

Old Grey Mare
Apr. 22, 2009, 10:54 PM
I hosted a GM clinic at my barn years ago, when I was a young trainer & George was at the top of the tree. I was terrified--I'd ridden in a GM clinic & knew how tough he could be, & I thought our very small, local program was likely to be way below his standards. You better believe we had the place spotless, every horse trimmed, tack cleaned like a Marine's rifle, & students correctly turned out. I shouldn't have worried--George actually complimented us on our horse care & turnout!

It was the absolute best clinic we ever had, & George moved our program & my teaching years forward in one day. The only one who had a problem was the rider who pitched a fit when she was assigned to ride a difficult horse that "wouldn't make her look good in front of GM"--like an idiot, I backed down & let her ride my good mare & I took the problem horse. She talked back to George, he nailed her & she left the ring in tears--not much fun, but a badly needed lesson for a self-indulgent student who needed it. Nobody else came close to tears--he was tough but fair, clear & logical. George got on the problem horse & fixed him, then schooled me on him until I could fix him, too. What I liked best (besides his classic teaching) was that George really cares about horses, be they greenies, ponies, show horses or lesson horses. Decades later, I still run into students who remember that clinic as the high point of their time at our barn, and George has become a good friend, as well as one of the horsemen I admire most.

George is who he is, and he's dead honest about it. I'll send riders to ride with him IF they're ready (i.e, they have solid basics, good horsemanship & attitude, neat & clean turnout, & will listen & put their best effort into following instructions.) I usually suggest they audit first, so they know what to expect. Anyone (blonde or bald, big or little) who is polite, self-disciplined, has good horsemanship, responds promptly to instruction and sincerely wants to learn can get a lot from George--there's none better. But if you're hoping to be stroked, complimented, excused or have your hand held, or you think you're going to impress George, stay out of his lessons!

My sister once rode in a clinic with GM--she was executing a complicated figure 8 jumper exercise when, as she puts it, she lost her mind & left it somewhere behind her horse's tail, & just kept jumping whatever she saw in front of her. George roared at her as only George can, "NO, NO, NO! Stop riding like an idiot! You're too good a rider to ride like an idiot!" She considers that the highest compliment she's ever had!

~Steph~
Apr. 22, 2009, 10:59 PM
I got to do a clinic with him in BC. He did tease me a lot because of my blonde hair but I think it got me more attention/help. He was actually really funny but I don't think a lot of people understood his humor. He was also pretty nice considering there was a rider in the group that should probably have been in a level lower. She kept catching her pinto in the mouth and did not understand so many basics but he didn't really say anything to her other then what a good horse it was to put up with that.

Parker_Rider
Apr. 22, 2009, 11:19 PM
Haven't read any of the replies, but I just finished day 2 of a 3 day clinic with GM and I absolutely LOVE him!! About me: I'm a chicken, I take everything personally and am prone to panic/anxiety attacks (haha, had to actually take a xanax before day 1 because my body temp kept fluctuating and I was shaking like a leaf and my professor actually asked me if I was going to be ok, I was so nervous!). I also have had HUGE, HUGE confidence issues in the ring, and in pressure situations I usually freeze. So you can see why my wonderful trainer was a bit anxious about sending me to this particular clinic...

I am learning so, so much. GM calls it like he sees it. Can it be mean? I guess... From my POV, he's just saying what everyone else is thinking. Yesterday he was calling us all "Soup Sandwiches" because we were just sitting on our horses and not riding. Kind of hard to take that insult seriously... He told one girl that she needed to "be sharper, pay more attention to the situation and her horse, be sharp!" because her horse had a short stride going into a 6-stride line that was "easy" for the rest of our big WBs. You can't tell me that you haven't sat ringside and seen someone do that and not thought that... Maybe I'm just mean too ;)

He was yelling at me for being a "bump on a log" because I wasn't making a decision coming up to the jump. I guess being yelled at in front of an audience is "mean," but his comments were true; I am the worst indecisive rider ever. AND when he is yelling "That was PERFECT" through the PA system, you know that you were doing well, not getting a halfhearted stock praise.

Ironically, the GM clinic has been a HUGE confidence builder for me. He calls it like he sees it, AND he offers tried and true solutions for you to fix the problem, which is the hallmark of a great trainer. Could I train with him full time? Probably not... I need warm fuzzies on occasion ;) But I would do another clinic with him in a heartbeat, I'm really sad that tomorrow is our last day!!

Linny
Apr. 22, 2009, 11:50 PM
I've never ridden with him but have audited GM clinics. I enjoy his style and if I could get to the fitness level required of his clinics (and have a horse able to do it) I would ride with him. I am a nervous nellie, older adult re-rider but, if I could get one "THATS how it's done!!" from GM, I'd be on cloud 9 for a month.

My Dad had a bit of a cutting sarcastic tone, a stern deep voice and a personal charm that could fill a room. Thus I have never associated biting demeanor with nastiness and/or unkindness. Maybe I'm weird...

I grew up riding with a man who was also much feared for his gruff tone and (perceived) non supportive demeanor. I had friends who couldn't believe that I loved my lessons with this man. "All he does is yell" they said. But it was not true. He yelled when you disobeyed or ignored him. He was famous for asking riders to "ride in and dismount" if they were not going to pay attention. This trainer is in his mid 60's now and came along in roughly the same era as GM. He learned from "old school" miliary type trainers and that's what he has passed along. He was not the type to pass out compliments or take a hand holding approach but a single "WELL DONE!!" as you finished a course spoke volumes.
I have ridden with him on and off through the years and though there are times when he's told me I was riding badly (because I was!) I never felt like he was telling me I was a "bad rider."

As for GM and weight, he has mellowed somewhat but his attitude is that this is a sports endeavour. As with any other sport, if you want to maximize your potential you have to be in top physical condition. GM himself gets on horses while on a microphone at clinics and rides beautifully while speaking. Mind you in many cases he's never seen these horses before and he does a great job. Try talking out loud for 15 minutes while riding a rank chestnut mare you've never seen before, after speaking and teaching for 2 1/2 hours. You'd better have some lung capacity! GM is NOT in favor of skinny over muscular but likes a lithe lean frame. If you are a few pounds overweight but ride well and try hard, you wont' get his wrath. I'm not sure how he'd handle a size 22 showing up but I'm not sure how one of the top tennis or gymnastics or figure skating coaches would handle it either. As to "appearances vs ability" remember that in the EQ and the hunters, appearances are important. The overall impression of your round matters.

*DS*
Apr. 23, 2009, 12:20 AM
I rode in a clinic with him last year, and expected to get a lot out of it. I found he did very simple exercises that are not what you want your horse to learn. He set a pole on the back of the jump that was very tight. I don't know many people who try to get their horse to land shallow after a jump. Basically i was very open, and didn't get much out of it though i am an advanced rider.

My horse needs to go into a rubber bit, because he hates metal bits. so of course when GM told me to change to a slow twist snaffle, it did not work. So he definately is set in his ways.

I also think he has no right to treat people with such little respect. He rode my horse for demonstations and didn't say one bad thing to me, but to the one lower level rider he was horrible to her. As previously mentioned, you ride with trainers to learn, and expect respect from the trainer.

dghunter
Apr. 23, 2009, 12:53 AM
I got to see him once a few years ago and at the time greatly enjoyed watching him but knew that I couldn't ride with him. I was still a young teenager who took everything personally and I didn't ride very well :lol: Wouldn't have been a good match at the time :no: However, I got A LOT out of watching. He was fair but expected you to do what you said you could. I do recall him making one comment about weight but in this case the girl was clearly way too big for the horse. Other than that he didn't pick on anyone. He expected the girls to be able to ride, not just sit there so he did get after some of them about that. I would love an opportunity to ride in one of his clinics now that I've matured a bit.

Foxtrot's
Apr. 23, 2009, 01:31 AM
It actually is a shame that someone with such good use of words and with so much knowledge to share does take pleasure in being cutting. I've been around top flight coaches and elite athletes for years and these days it is old fashioned to cut people down.
Respect goes both ways and a good coach can make an athlete/rider want to go to the ends of the earth for them. In the tough competitive arenas self esteem can make the difference from giving up or toughing it out. When if things go wrong, and they will, the student can go to the coach without being reamed out. It has nothing to do with the free use of praise - it has to be earned - and no constructive criticism. He's just too old to change I guess.

RugBug
Apr. 23, 2009, 01:47 AM
You come out here in the fall and you can ride one of mine. :-) I'll ride Aero and you can take Havoline.

Only if I can come out a few weeks ahead of time. I am a horrible catch rider. ;)

Oh, and I want to wear your helmet cam. :D


They do a 2'6" section at the clinic that I have been to in October in Birmingham, AL.


Yep, both the VA and MD clinics have had 2'6" sections.

I contacted all of the California clinic organizers and not one offered a section below 3'. :no:

Hauwse
Apr. 23, 2009, 03:41 PM
It actually is a shame that someone with such good use of words and with so much knowledge to share does take pleasure in being cutting. I've been around top flight coaches and elite athletes for years and these days it is old fashioned to cut people down.
Respect goes both ways and a good coach can make an athlete/rider want to go to the ends of the earth for them. In the tough competitive arenas self esteem can make the difference from giving up or toughing it out. When if things go wrong, and they will, the student can go to the coach without being reamed out. It has nothing to do with the free use of praise - it has to be earned - and no constructive criticism. He's just too old to change I guess.

Excuse me, top flight coaches and elite athletes?? Who do you think GM is and who do you think the riders who went to the Olympics and brought back gold are, or the riders he associates with on daily basis are??

GM has a list of successful national/international students that far exceeds anyone in North America, and it was not accomplished through sheer intimidation. If he does anything at all he inspires riders to achieve great things at the level he concentrates on, and by extension has inspired generations of riders to achieve great things, to achieve the goal of representing the US/Canada at the top level of the sport.

Seriously if you have no experience with GM keep comments like "he's just too old to change" to yourself!!

If anyone is doing anything to "change" the sport in North America it is GM, with a focus on the future of the sport. He is anything but handicapped by old school concepts.

The bottom line is that he is the architect of some of North Americas greatest show jumping accomplishments, and it is completely disrespectful in my eyes to even suggest that his technique, persona, or significance is any way antiquated!!

PLEASE “Too old” !!

MissIndependence
Apr. 23, 2009, 05:00 PM
It actually is a shame that someone with such good use of words and with so much knowledge to share does take pleasure in being cutting. I've been around top flight coaches and elite athletes for years and these days it is old fashioned to cut people down.
Respect goes both ways and a good coach can make an athlete/rider want to go to the ends of the earth for them. In the tough competitive arenas self esteem can make the difference from giving up or toughing it out. When if things go wrong, and they will, the student can go to the coach without being reamed out. It has nothing to do with the free use of praise - it has to be earned - and no constructive criticism. He's just too old to change I guess.


Well stated. Personally I think he is amazing fixture in the industry....but also one that is less than easy to ride for in terms of his comments, issues, etc. I do believe that the days of those types of trainers have gone by the wayside. I know that GM gets a pass due to his stature in the business, and believe he has mellowed out over the years.

I know that I personally no longer respond to "nagging" bitching trainers anymore and have found my tolerance levels dropping over the years. I am 45 years old....I ride decently although I wont be on the Olympic team anytime soon....I pay a fortune to enjoy the sport, show on the AA circuit and dont feel like getting disrespected by the people I pay to train me. If they dont like me, my horses, or riding....then they can simply tell me and I can find another trainer.

I am quite happy with my trainers now and have been since I came back to riding 5 years ago. I have avoided people that are in your face or abusive as I know I dont want that anymore. That being said I MIGHT do a clinic with GM. I did a clinic with him as a kid and he brutalized me for being the "fat kid" in the bunch. I still rode better than most of the people in that clinic (which he told me) but that didnt prevent him from torturing me for the entire time and embarassing me repeatedly. I was a tough kid...I didn't cry or show that I was upset.

I get that trainers have told riders the same thing over and over again and can get burnt out by our inability to be consistent but I also think that if they have chosen the profession then they need to accept the fact that EVERYONE winds up telling their clients how to do things over and over again. I do this daily in my biz world and know it wears on trainers - but I think we are all in the same boat. GM can get away with things that other trainers are losing their ability to fly with.

fancyfooted
Apr. 23, 2009, 06:23 PM
Personally, I thrive on someone who pushes me at the level that GM does. I NEED someone who gets after me for my laziness, but who will then recognize my accomplishment with a simple "Good Job!" and not fawn over me about it. Someone who can help push me past my insecurities. I think GM does this well.

Foxtrot's
Apr. 23, 2009, 08:47 PM
Hawse - you are plain old rude!! You misread and misinterpreted my post. Shrug.
An athlete who is going places has a lot of self-drive and GM recognizes that, too.
You are making a few big assumptions here.

Hauwse
Apr. 24, 2009, 02:31 PM
Hawse - you are plain old rude!! You misread and misinterpreted my post. Shrug.
An athlete who is going places has a lot of self-drive and GM recognizes that, too.
You are making a few big assumptions here.

I am sorry you find my comments rude. However I do not think I misinterpreted your statements. You clearly state that he takes pleasure in criticizing people, and that he is too old to evolve. Both of which I find presumptuous, and disrespectful.

It may be appropriate to consider the role a trainer has and to give consideration to the fact that it so much more than just teaching. I played many competitive sports at a high level, and could have continued on however I made my choice based on my love of horses, and there is a significant difference.

In most traditional sports there is a degree of assumed risk when participating, and rarely is death a consideration IE: football, and when/if a player gets hurt it is rarely assumed that the coach has any fault in the mishap; however in the equestrian world it is of the great importance that the trainer consider the safety of the rider at all times, whether blamed a trainer will always feel responsible. As with a child, if they run out on the street there is no polite way to stop their actions, nor is it of any importance at the moment of occurrence, you can sit down later and apologize for yelling at them, or for yanking them off the street once the true issue, their safety, has been addressed.

This is pretty much the same for a trainer. There are things that are said that could certainly be better expressed, but the fact is that frequently that is of little significance at the time, the issue needs to be addressed immediately, for the safety and well being of the both horse and rider. This is why so many of the best equestrian trainers are "dictators" and are considered to be hot headed and wanting for a filter.

You may not consider it a big deal if a rider is hanging on a horse’s mouth over a fence, but the trainer understands the consequences and consequently deems it intolerable. This understanding is only amplified when it comes to working with great horses at the top levels, as these trainers know all too well that one wrong fence could be the last fence a great horse takes or is willing to take, or could be the last fence a rider has the pleasure of jumping, and this idea should not be tempered by consideration of the riders feeling at that given point in time. The trainer can "better" express the point, to the rider later, the point becomes extremely hard to express to a horse however, and consequently empathy for the horse supersedes that of the rider.

If people think that it is not PC to talk about a rider’s weight, that is their opinion, but consider this little experiment if you believe broaching the subject taboo, and mean spirited. Put a 10lb backpack snuggly tied down on your back, and jog and jump a small fence, then put a 20lb one on, loosen it just a bit and try to do the same thing. The fact is weight and fitness are extremely important when it comes to riding, the fact that horses tolerate a heavy rider and still try speaks to nothing more than their heart, and does not relinquish the rider from the responsibility of doing everything they can to make the horses job easier, and if weight is an issue why should’nt a trainer express their concerns regarding it in the same way they would a sloppy lower leg or bad hands? In my experience playing hockey and football if a player was over-weight, and sucking air the coaches always had a pretty good answer for that, work their butts off until they were physically fit enough to do their job, and believe me it could not have been good for their self-esteem to be the only one running laps, doing drills, and being berated long after the rest of the team had showered and gone home!

It is my belief that all the complaints about GM are simply sour grapes, voiced by those who do not fully understand the dedication required to achieve the level of success he has achieved, and has helped many, many others to achieve, period.

Equestryn
Apr. 24, 2009, 02:52 PM
He doesn't just bring his A Game, he IS the A Game.

Hear, hear!! I'd LOVE to go audit one of his clinics. I definately don't have a horse that is quite up to the standards of a GM clinic but I want to audit a clinic of his. Unfortunately, he doesn't come to Tallahassee often so I'll have to travel to him one of these days. I think it would be an invaluable experience.

I once rode with a trainer who was "verbally abusive" one might say. When I was a child, she scared the heck out of me. Once I got older, I tried a green horse of hers. During the mini lesson I got from her while riding this horse in a trial, he improved as did I. I thought it was amazing that a little half hour lesson could have impacted he and I so much. I purchased the horse and kept him with her. She made me a much better rider. I'm not going to say I could win at Devon but I did compete at some A shows in Atlanta and I placed VERY well. Anyway, she was hard on us, but by golly, when we did good and she praised something, MAN it felt good. I'd imagine that's what he's like.

I love trainers like that. :)

barka.lounger
Apr. 24, 2009, 03:33 PM
I am sorry you find my comments rude. However I do not think I misinterpreted your statements. You clearly state that he takes pleasure in criticizing people, and that he is too old to evolve. Both of which I find presumptuous, and disrespectful. ...

It is my belief that all the complaints about GM are simply sour grapes, voiced by those who do not fully understand the dedication required to achieve the level of success he has achieved, and has helped many, many others to achieve, period.

bar.ka here

hauw.se i think i luv u. where u at? i come ride with u.

MissIndependence
Apr. 24, 2009, 03:53 PM
I am sorry you find my comments rude. However I do not think I misinterpreted your statements. You clearly state that he takes pleasure in criticizing people, and that he is too old to evolve. Both of which I find presumptuous, and disrespectful.

It may be appropriate to consider the role a trainer has and to give consideration to the fact that it so much more than just teaching. I played many competitive sports at a high level, and could have continued on however I made my choice based on my love of horses, and there is a significant difference.

In most traditional sports there is a degree of assumed risk when participating, and rarely is death a consideration IE: football, and when/if a player gets hurt it is rarely assumed that the coach has any fault in the mishap; however in the equestrian world it is of the great importance that the trainer consider the safety of the rider at all times, whether blamed a trainer will always feel responsible. As with a child, if they run out on the street there is no polite way to stop their actions, nor is it of any importance at the moment of occurrence, you can sit down later and apologize for yelling at them, or for yanking them off the street once the true issue, their safety, has been addressed.

This is pretty much the same for a trainer. There are things that are said that could certainly be better expressed, but the fact is that frequently that is of little significance at the time, the issue needs to be addressed immediately, for the safety and well being of the both horse and rider. This is why so many of the best equestrian trainers are "dictators" and are considered to be hot headed and wanting for a filter.

You may not consider it a big deal if a rider is hanging on a horse’s mouth over a fence, but the trainer understands the consequences and consequently deems it intolerable. This understanding is only amplified when it comes to working with great horses at the top levels, as these trainers know all too well that one wrong fence could be the last fence a great horse takes or is willing to take, or could be the last fence a rider has the pleasure of jumping, and this idea should not be tempered by consideration of the riders feeling at that given point in time. The trainer can "better" express the point, to the rider later, the point becomes extremely hard to express to a horse however, and consequently empathy for the horse supersedes that of the rider.

If people think that it is not PC to talk about a rider’s weight, that is their opinion, but consider this little experiment if you believe broaching the subject taboo, and mean spirited. Put a 10lb backpack snuggly tied down on your back, and jog and jump a small fence, then put a 20lb one on, loosen it just a bit and try to do the same thing. The fact is weight and fitness are extremely important when it comes to riding, the fact that horses tolerate a heavy rider and still try speaks to nothing more than their heart, and does not relinquish the rider from the responsibility of doing everything they can to make the horses job easier, and if weight is an issue why should’nt a trainer express their concerns regarding it in the same way they would a sloppy lower leg or bad hands? In my experience playing hockey and football if a player was over-weight, and sucking air the coaches always had a pretty good answer for that, work their butts off until they were physically fit enough to do their job, and believe me it could not have been good for their self-esteem to be the only one running laps, doing drills, and being berated long after the rest of the team had showered and gone home!

It is my belief that all the complaints about GM are simply sour grapes, voiced by those who do not fully understand the dedication required to achieve the level of success he has achieved, and has helped many, many others to achieve, period.


I don't necessarily disagree with many of your points and you stated them extemely well. FYI...ALL comments about GM are not sour grapes. I think your absolutes need a little examining. You are right about fitness, and about the safety aspects of the sport for both rider and horse. Your points are really relevant and you are spot on regarding the high risk factor in horses. That being said - it doesn't negate the simple fact that GM's style of communicating isn't going to work for everyone. Obviously, he doesn't care if he offends people or how they interpret his style because he's remained constant with it throughout the years. I am quite certain he's had the opportunity to hear comments and responses and I dont think its presumptive to assume he doesnt care if he hasn't changed his presentation dramantically thru the years.

I only have my experience with him from over 30 years ago, so my opinion is certainly long out of date with regards to his current teaching methods. I happened to have lost 180 pounds just so I COULD ride again later in life and now am at a normal weight. I am fairly sure that GM would STILL think I was overweight - hence why I probably haven't rushed out to take a current clinic from him. Since I consume less than 800 calories a day and work out 6 days a week and ride 3 horses every day, I am quite certain Ive done everything possible to address the problem. Hence, I wouldnt be a person who would NOT tolerate somebody bitching about my weight.

I show in the High A/Os and GPs. I am not a novice. I dont hang on my horses mouths. I can get around a GP course and a jump off without passing out from exhaustion. I don't like people screaming at me and don't require it to insure my safety on a horse. It doesn't motivate me. I think that is the point you are missing. Few will argue GM's excellence, his dedication and track record and his effectiveness. I would love to have his riding ability, brain and experience shoved into my cranium for a while. However that does not mean his training style will work for everyone. Why be defensive about other people's comments that they dont care for his delivery? He certainly doesn't have to prove anything to anyone and is safely holding his position at the very top of the sport's icons in spite of our praises and critiques.

LSM1212
Apr. 24, 2009, 04:01 PM
MissIndependence...

Couldn't have said it better myself. :)

Different strokes for different folks. His record speaks for itself... and if his teaching style doesn't work for you? Don't ride w/ him.

Simple as that, IMO. :winkgrin:

SuperSTB
Apr. 24, 2009, 04:24 PM
Quartergirl, I'm confused. Ridden in one of his clinics? Audited? Or was that all based on hearsay? I have audited GM clinics forever. Not ridden in them (dressage horses), but I go because each time I will learn more from one of America's finest horsemen. There is no better teacher. He doesn't just bring his A Game, he IS the A Game.

:)
delicate flowers need not apply.
there is no room for coddling at the top.

BTW, this is how the real world works. When you are at the top of your game or heading there, whether it be horses, other sports, engineering, business executive, whatever... it's not all sunshine and roses. You HAVE to work hard, put up with the stress, and 'fight the fight' every day.

I've audited a many clinics and some riders just don't seem to take it seriously. Not only is that disrepectful but can be dangerous. Is GM too gruff? Maybe rightfully so but that's my 2 cents.

dmj
Apr. 24, 2009, 05:57 PM
On the other hand, I don't understand why people would be so concerned about the quality of their horse before attending one of his clinics. Last year I watched him teach a class full of stellar warmbloods, and a high headed, high stepping, half out of control pinto saddlebred. He continued to make a positive example out of the saddlebred's young rider, and constantly said she was the best student in the class...

Agreed - I really like this about GM. In the clinics I have audited he has not discriminated by breed, type, etc - a good horse is a good horse to him, regardless.

To the person waiting for "THE" horse with he criteria that it can jump 3' - seriously, most sound horses of average ability can walk a course of 3' fences - I am sure your current mount would be fine.

bumknees
Apr. 24, 2009, 07:04 PM
I think also that to many people are caught up in the PC stuff. and face it GM was around way before it was in the US. so instead of 'modifying' his language as to not offend is the black and white. Blunt and to the point.

I think it is wonderful that he has not gotten caught up inthe PC stuff that alone makes him one of the people I would search out to cliinic with in a heart beat. I would rather hear a truthful , to the point of what he thinks of my horse and I over a wishy washy review.

dghunter
Apr. 24, 2009, 07:21 PM
I think also that to many people are caught up in the PC stuff. and face it GM was around way before it was in the US. so instead of 'modifying' his language as to not offend is the black and white. Blunt and to the point.

I think it is wonderful that he has not gotten caught up inthe PC stuff that alone makes him one of the people I would search out to cliinic with in a heart beat. I would rather hear a truthful , to the point of what he thinks of my horse and I over a wishy washy review.

As someone who has recently started her education courses, it is refreshing to hear someone not be PC for once. It gets old having to watch every single word that comes out of your mouth. But that's a whole other topic :winkgrin:

He is refreshing for some people and not for others. If he's not your style, no one is forcing you to ride with him. But I don't see how ANYONE can deny that he is the best. :no:

Parker_Rider
Apr. 24, 2009, 08:45 PM
:)
delicate flowers need not apply.
there is no room for coddling at the top.

BTW, this is how the real world works. When you are at the top of your game or heading there, whether it be horses, other sports, engineering, business executive, whatever... it's not all sunshine and roses. You HAVE to work hard, put up with the stress, and 'fight the fight' every day.

I've audited a many clinics and some riders just don't seem to take it seriously. Not only is that disrepectful but can be dangerous. Is GM too gruff? Maybe rightfully so but that's my 2 cents.

Heck. Yes. Like Mr. Morris said yesterday: "This is not your mother's badminton league! This is a tough sport, it's not badminton, get tough!!!"
Still LOFF him!! :) I adore him!!!

Miss T
Apr. 24, 2009, 09:16 PM
The first time I saw him was a clinic in 1977 for teachers of riding. I found him absolutely hilarious and the most inspiring person. The girl he "singled out"? Well, GM called her a "local star". Beautiful girl, decent rider, lovely horse - but - she thought that's all it took.
On the other hand, my instructor at the time was a short, blonde, riding a pony. GM loved her. She was very attentive (but was a good rider to begin with). I learned a lot.

twobays
Apr. 24, 2009, 09:27 PM
as these trainers know all too well that one wrong fence could be the last fence a great horse takes or is willing to take, or could be the last fence a rider has the pleasure of jumping, and this idea should not be tempered by consideration of the riders feeling at that given point in time.

I agree with what you're saying generally, but if a horse quits because of ONE bad joke, he isn't a world-beater. He's a horse with a crappy work ethic.

twobays
Apr. 24, 2009, 09:28 PM
But I don't see how ANYONE can deny that he is the best. :no:

If "best" means getting the most out of a horse/rider, I think its pretty obvious how someone could deny he is "the best." His style works for many, many people, but he certainly isn't "the best" for everyone.

dghunter
Apr. 24, 2009, 10:03 PM
If "best" means getting the most out of a horse/rider, I think its pretty obvious how someone could deny he is "the best." His style works for many, many people, but he certainly isn't "the best" for everyone.

His style may not work for everyone but his opinion is the one that everyone I know listens to and takes to heart. He may not have the nicest way of saying it, but he always tells the truth. At least from my experience. Of course people on here are saying that he hates blondes and people who are bigger than a size two :rolleyes: From what I've seen, he treated those were blonde and those were bigger than a size two the same as everyone else. I for one think there is far too much hand holding in society today.

Stellar Moon Hunter Jumpers
Apr. 25, 2009, 12:29 AM
I took a GM clinic on a green horse as a catch ride and it was a long day! Still, I remember his words everytime I ride even 5 years later!:yes:

skint
Apr. 25, 2009, 08:32 AM
Precisely! If you try, if you listen to him and do as he asks, there aren't any issues.

He just doesn't suffer fools.

So you can be a fat blonde on a medicre pony, and if you try hard and listen, he'll be fine with you.

You can be super talented and skinny, on an amazing horse, but if you ignore him or don't try, he'll blast you.

This was our experience with a top 3DE rider who was kind enough to take the time and give my daughter and her horse a lesson. We'd been warned he was a bit "snippy" and leading up to the big day I was kind of worried.

He took one look at us, and though my daughter isn't at all fat, he knew we were the rankest of amateurs. We spoke about the horse's history with us and then and worked with them. I think he could see how hard she was trying he was really very kind and patient. He even reversed my trailer for me and said he'd like to see her again to see how she was getting on. Perhaps GM is a bit like this too?

twobays
Apr. 25, 2009, 10:30 AM
His style may not work for everyone but his opinion is the one that everyone I know listens to and takes to heart. He may not have the nicest way of saying it, but he always tells the truth. At least from my experience. Of course people on here are saying that he hates blondes and people who are bigger than a size two :rolleyes: From what I've seen, he treated those were blonde and those were bigger than a size two the same as everyone else. I for one think there is far too much hand holding in society today.

I think we fundamentally agree that GM is one of the most (if not the most) knowledgable and experienced trainers out there. My point was just that if his style doesn't work for someone (which, surely, it doesn't), it would be difficult for them to say "he's the absolute best out there." He is probably the best for many, many people, but there are certainly people who don't function well under his type of instruction.

I know when I was younger, I wouldn't have been able to deal with him. I'm always tough on myself about my riding and when I was a junior, I really internalized it when I was riding badly. I know that having someone (regardless of their reputation/experience/whatever) tell me that I sucked and should take up tennis wouldn't have helped me accomplish anything.

dghunter
Apr. 25, 2009, 01:50 PM
I think we fundamentally agree that GM is one of the most (if not the most) knowledgable and experienced trainers out there. My point was just that if his style doesn't work for someone (which, surely, it doesn't), it would be difficult for them to say "he's the absolute best out there." He is probably the best for many, many people, but there are certainly people who don't function well under his type of instruction.

I know when I was younger, I wouldn't have been able to deal with him. I'm always tough on myself about my riding and when I was a junior, I really internalized it when I was riding badly. I know that having someone (regardless of their reputation/experience/whatever) tell me that I sucked and should take up tennis wouldn't have helped me accomplish anything.

I think we disagree with what best means. I think of best as someone who is right and can tell you what's wrong in a short time. Not necessarily someone who is going to get results from every rider which I think is what you think of as best. Not saying either one is right or wrong just trying to clear up my definition of best ;) As I said earlier, me riding with him as a kid would have been a catastrophe but I still have always respected his opinion. I mean if GM says that I need to get my heel down more, I will put that heel down more, no questions asked lol. I suppose if he said something truly crazy I would be like :confused: no. But I read his column every month and think that he's always spot on about what he says.

Hauwse
Apr. 25, 2009, 02:24 PM
I don't necessarily disagree with many of your points and you stated them extemely well. FYI...ALL comments about GM are not sour grapes. I think your absolutes need a little examining. You are right about fitness, and about the safety aspects of the sport for both rider and horse. Your points are really relevant and you are spot on regarding the high risk factor in horses. That being said - it doesn't negate the simple fact that GM's style of communicating isn't going to work for everyone. Obviously, he doesn't care if he offends people or how they interpret his style because he's remained constant with it throughout the years. I am quite certain he's had the opportunity to hear comments and responses and I dont think its presumptive to assume he doesnt care if he hasn't changed his presentation dramantically thru the years.

I only have my experience with him from over 30 years ago, so my opinion is certainly long out of date with regards to his current teaching methods. I happened to have lost 180 pounds just so I COULD ride again later in life and now am at a normal weight. I am fairly sure that GM would STILL think I was overweight - hence why I probably haven't rushed out to take a current clinic from him. Since I consume less than 800 calories a day and work out 6 days a week and ride 3 horses every day, I am quite certain Ive done everything possible to address the problem. Hence, I wouldnt be a person who would NOT tolerate somebody bitching about my weight.

I show in the High A/Os and GPs. I am not a novice. I dont hang on my horses mouths. I can get around a GP course and a jump off without passing out from exhaustion. I don't like people screaming at me and don't require it to insure my safety on a horse. It doesn't motivate me. I think that is the point you are missing. Few will argue GM's excellence, his dedication and track record and his effectiveness. I would love to have his riding ability, brain and experience shoved into my cranium for a while. However that does not mean his training style will work for everyone. Why be defensive about other people's comments that they dont care for his delivery? He certainly doesn't have to prove anything to anyone and is safely holding his position at the very top of the sport's icons in spite of our praises and critiques.

I guess my defensive position is in response to the many offensive criticisms of him. I completely understand that his "style" is not going to be for everyone. I trained with a German trainer for a while who I loved as a person, but not so much as a trainer, however that had more to do with training methods than training style, but just the same I understand that everyone needs to find their water level, so to speak.

The problem I have with a lot of the criticism laid on GM is that you do not take GM on as a trainer, you get GM the clinician. You get a surface scan of what he is about through his clinic, his training methods, etc. Unfortunately for the individuals taking the clinic and GM, clinics last a relatively short time, and do not afford great opportunity to express ideas, and enact changes.

As with any clinician he has to get as many ideas across as possible, and get the results as quickly as possible, or he will feel like he has accomplished nothing, and the client will feel like they have learned nothing from him. Perhaps he should be less goal oriented and base his clinics on the expression of ideas, and hope that at the end of the day the riders get it and it helps them with their horses, but my experience with him states that he would never be satisfied with that. That is what I think people should understand about him in the clinic environment!

I am all about kinder, gentler but not the expense of all.

The issue with GM that seems to have the most bite are his comments about weight. I understand that can be a sensitive subject, but the fact is the rider knows, the other riders know, the horse knows and certainly if it affects ones riding ability GM will, and should comment on it, as would any trainer/coach etc. who’s focus is on improvement.

I cannot speak for everyone who rides, but my opinion is that nothing worth doing is ever easy, and if terse words and comments you rather would not hear from a trainer are parts of great results than it is well worth it.

At the end of the day I know GM to be a kind, generous man, and in no way mirroring some of the comments made regarding him, the fact that he expects that best from his riders on all levels of horsemanship is one of his greatest qualities and I do not believe that it is something that we should besmirch, period. When we start maligning his commitment to excellence we undermine that which we all should be striving for regardless of level of commitment.

feather river
Apr. 25, 2009, 02:28 PM
My son loves to ride with him. He does well, has never been ridiculed, and he works hard before the clinic to keep it that way. I no longer go to watch because I don't find demeaning people funny or instructive.

some people like abusive relationships. that is the answer. Others do not tolerate them, much less pay to be in one. we live in a free economic society that says GM can charge $ to people who want to pay him. let those who enjoy that relationship pay the $ to be in it. the rest of us will go a different route. Seems like the winners at the World Cup were those who take the different route. but to each his own, as they say.

feather river
Apr. 25, 2009, 02:32 PM
As someone who has recently started her education courses, it is refreshing to hear someone not be PC for once. It gets old having to watch every single word that comes out of your mouth. But that's a whole other topic :winkgrin:

He is refreshing for some people and not for others. If he's not your style, no one is forcing you to ride with him. But I don't see how ANYONE can deny that he is the best. :no:

GM is one of a kind, and you cannot argue with his horsemanship approach or the results of following the riding style he espouses. The style speaks for itself. successful jumper riders all over the world have incorporated it into their own individual programs.

However, GM also represents the extreme compulsive dictatorial style of teaching. Maybe a bit of a blend to modern times would be more effective and not so polarizing.

MHM
Apr. 25, 2009, 02:43 PM
However, GM also represents the extreme compulsive dictatorial style of teaching. Maybe a bit of a blend to modern times would be more effective and not so polarizing.

Why don't you walk up to him and tell him that? I'll give you a dollar.;)

Five dollars if I get to watch! :lol:

bumknees
Apr. 25, 2009, 02:53 PM
However, GM also represents the extreme compulsive dictatorial style of teaching. Maybe a bit of a blend to modern times would be more effective and not so polarizing.

Why should he? That is a huge problem today people expect that noone will ever say anything that 'might offend' someone. Perhaps the world should get their head screwed on straight and stop being offended but 'abusive' or blunt factual words.

MHM I would pay for front row tickets to see that...

Equilibrium
Apr. 25, 2009, 03:05 PM
I don't know the guy personally, but rode with a trainer who took lessons and clinics with him when she could afford to.

You know what I like about GM? The fact that he doesn't care who you are or where you came from. You are there for a reason and that reason is to be the best rider you can be. So it doesn't matter if your scrapping your pennies together to ride with the best or you can ride with him all the time, you are all on a level playing field.

He gets my vote for one of the best. And I grew up in riding lessons where you were yelled at if you weren't paying attention or weren't trying. And while I didn't stay with the H/J profession, I tried hard on every horse to make a difference and to do things right. I probably wouldn't have given a hoot if I hadn't learned from perfectionists. I find I don't learn anything from people telling me I'm wonderful when clearly I'm not. I am confident in my abilities but I find the odd humbling to work wonders on my riding!

Only now would I be able to take my horse for a lesson with GM which is something I always wanted to do, but I'm afraid the plane trip from Ireland for a couple of days with my horse wouldn't be a financially sound investment!

Terri

Hauwse
Apr. 25, 2009, 03:07 PM
I agree with what you're saying generally, but if a horse quits because of ONE bad joke, he isn't a world-beater. He's a horse with a crappy work ethic.

I understand what you are saying, and to great extent it is true, but any horse at any level can hit the wall. I unfortuantely have seen a few who did not take a bad joke well at all, and it is not always that they completely shut down, frequently you just take the heart out of them, and they never achieve the level they have the ability to, so instead of doing the GP they end up eq horses, or junior/ammy jumpers, and it takes a complete restart to work the heart bck in to them if at all.

This is a long story, from Elmar Pollmann-Schwevkhorst's book, but is just an example of how fragile horses can be, and based on a classic example of taking the heart out of a horse.

Some riders try to master their own insecurity by jumping very high fences in the warm-up area. A report on the dtrimental effects of this habit was given by Hermann Schride about his preparations for the olympic games in Tokyo:


"... after four or five jumps, I could not resist jumping a solid parallel of Olympic dimensions.
Ilona made an enormous jump, almost all too careful. Itold myself I had to jumpthis fence again in order to encourage her to stretch out, to "let go" and gain confidence. When horses jump too carefully and too meticulously, it may be a sign that a jumps dimension is too close to their limit, so they are frightened and jump too high. When those "careful" horses are injured when jumping, they get scared and may stop. This is what happened to Ilona. She refused the second jump ad I had to do whatever I had done before: I used the crop and forced her over the jump. We fell out over this. Up to that moment Ilona had been in super condition, but that incident made her too unreliable to continue to be on the team." "....The relationship with Ilona, until then so successfull, had been wrecked and not even a sensitive rider like Schridde was able to repair the damage done"


This is a trainers nightmare, taking the heart out of the horse or taking the heart of a rider, both equal utter failure to a trainer!

dghunter
Apr. 25, 2009, 11:17 PM
Why don't you walk up to him and tell him that? I'll give you a dollar.;)

Five dollars if I get to watch! :lol:

I'll throw in 10 as long as I get front row seats too! :lol:

SmileItLooksGoodOnYou
Apr. 26, 2009, 04:16 AM
I didn't even begin to read the whole thread... so bear with me.

I have a good friend who rode with GM, and had an excellent experience. She went, tried her hardest, and learned a great deal.


If I get the opportunity to ride with him I would. I took a wonderful opportunity last summer to ride with Greg Best. That might be the best thing I have done for my riding... ever? He poked fun at my blond-headedness, my horse's age (19 at the time, now 20, he was lovingly called "Grandpa" from day one) and each of the rider's (and horses) particular faults and quirks.

I don't see a joke or offhand comment as abuse. I have never known an effective teacher who doesn't demand 100% effort from their students. My trainer expects us to work hard. If one of us isn't giving a full effort or is keeping someone else from doing the same she won't be shy about getting on our case about it.

feather river
Apr. 26, 2009, 02:46 PM
Why should he? That is a huge problem today people expect that noone will ever say anything that 'might offend' someone. Perhaps the world should get their head screwed on straight and stop being offended but 'abusive' or blunt factual words.

MHM I would pay for front row tickets to see that...

I did not even suggest that he change. GM is like Donald Trump's hair. Donald won't change his hair style and GM won't change his teaching style. Neither should have to change. But I don't see either as the next "fad". As long as people like you are willing to pay GM, then go do it. Others don't feel that level of need.

lauriep
Apr. 26, 2009, 04:06 PM
[QUOTE=Others don't feel that level of need.[/QUOTE]

And the sport shows it, too. The level of riding in this country has seriously deteriorated at all but the most elite levels. Even there, while the riding is excellent,there aren't as many as there used to be.

Big Yellow Taxi
Apr. 26, 2009, 06:36 PM
And the sport shows it, too. The level of riding in this country has seriously deteriorated at all but the most elite levels. Even there, while the riding is excellent,there aren't as many as there used to be.

Drivel. The riders at every level are better than ever before and there are more of them. Human memory is highly fallible, but thats no excuse for perpetuating nonsense.

lauriep
Apr. 26, 2009, 08:41 PM
No,it is not drivel. Yes, the numbers have increased dramatically, but the riding and horsemanship has most certainly not kept pace. Hence, the "tiny jump" divisions at AA horse shows which previously did not have to dumb down to this level. And of the 70+ GP participants, only about 12 ever have clean rounds. And they tend to be the same people. There is a HUGE entitlement attitude in this sport which has not served it well. The idea of earning your right to ride at a certain level has gone by the wayside.

Think what you will, there is a reason we have only recently had international success, and that the spectators and competitors in the REAL hunter divisions are nearly non-existant.

Oh,wait, this is the same person who doesn't think getting a rub works, and seems to think I name drop. Never mind...

JMO.

Philosopher
Apr. 26, 2009, 08:48 PM
Well I can't speak to riding and horsemanship in general, but as far as grands prix are concerned, I think the course designers deliberately try to limit how many clears occur in a given class. I believe there's actually a percentage they aim for, although I can't remember what it is. Therefore if the horses and riders improve, grand prix designers will make trickier courses and if the horses and riders are of lower quality, the designers will make easier courses. Then if the same few people always go clear, it is probably because they are the best riders with the best horses. So have the grand prix courses in fact gotten easier?

CallMeGrace
Apr. 26, 2009, 08:50 PM
No,it is not drivel. Yes, the numbers have increased dramatically, but the riding and horsemanship has most certainly not kept pace. Hence, the "tiny jump" divisions at AA horse shows which previously did not have to dumb down to this level. And of the 70+ GP participants, only about 12 ever have clean rounds. And they tend to be the same people. There is a HUGE entitlement attitude in this sport which has not served it well. The idea of earning your right to ride at a certain level has gone by the wayside.

Think what you will, there is a reason we have only recently had international success, and that the spectators and competitors in the REAL hunter divisions are nearly non-existant.

JMO.


Agree.... :yes:

RugBug
Apr. 26, 2009, 09:04 PM
To the person waiting for "THE" horse with he criteria that it can jump 3' - seriously, most sound horses of average ability can walk a course of 3' fences - I am sure your current mount would be fine.

That was me. And BTW, thanks for telling me that. :rolleyes:

I think with my knowledge of the particular horse, I'd have a better idea what this horse can and can't do than someone sitting behind a computer a thousand miles away. Why don't you come on out to CA and see if this horse can hold up to a clinic at 3'? I find your comment myopic and more than a little arrogant.

Not all horses can jump 3'. Only recently having been able to afford my own horse, I've ridden MANY that couldn't. Usually, they are the kind souls teaching the kids to jump. Perhaps we should push these horses to jump 3' because you said they can? I prefer to be a better horseman than that. :rolleyes:

buschkn
Apr. 26, 2009, 09:29 PM
I attended a clinic to audit and was very much educated and inspired by it. There is no better teacher than GM and the only times I saw him be rude to anyone was when they were very obviously NOT paying attention, NOT listening to instructions, or consistently kept making the same mistakes over and over again. I never saw him dole out undeserved criticism, though some of it comes out harshly. Everyone knows this going in. But if you have a chance to audit or ride, I highly recommend it. You will undoubtedly come away with new knowledge and new inspiration for working your horses and achieving your goals. He is without peer in my opinion.

Coreene
Apr. 27, 2009, 12:38 AM
Donald won't change his hair style and GM won't change his teaching style. Neither should have to change. But I don't see either as the next "fad". George "the next 'fad'"??? :lol: :lol: :lol:

Transplant
Apr. 27, 2009, 08:48 AM
From what you all are saying, it seems that GM is best for riders who are planning to compete in the A circuit and who want a test for anything in their riding, their horse, or their turnout that could negatively impact their results. I imagine that if I spent a lot of time and money getting myself and my horse ready to compete at this level and still wasn't getting the results I expected, I'd be more frustrated at the lack of results and want to hear the real deal on what was holding me back no matter how rude the delivery was.

What may be confusing though is that George Morris writes a lot about beginners and I think I read where he once even offered a clinic in crossrails. Now I may be missing something, but I think a crossrail course by GM is a bit overkill. Would the riders in that clinic have enough skill and knowledge to take advantage of his expertise or are they just looking for a brand name and want the 'best' regardless of whether they can take advantage of having the best?

It just seems that at the lower levels of expertise, a GM clinic may not be necessary to get you to the next level.

Big Yellow Taxi
Apr. 27, 2009, 12:16 PM
No,it is not drivel. Yes, the numbers have increased dramatically, but the riding and horsemanship has most certainly not kept pace. Hence, the "tiny jump" divisions at AA horse shows which previously did not have to dumb down to this level. And of the 70+ GP participants, only about 12 ever have clean rounds. And they tend to be the same people. There is a HUGE entitlement attitude in this sport which has not served it well. The idea of earning your right to ride at a certain level has gone by the wayside.

Think what you will, there is a reason we have only recently had international success, and that the spectators and competitors in the REAL hunter divisions are nearly non-existant.

Oh,wait, this is the same person who doesn't think getting a rub works, and seems to think I name drop. Never mind...

JMO.

Lots of clean rounds (and probably not too many going for a rub) in the baby jump divisions. I guess that means you think they are the best riders.

RugBug
Apr. 27, 2009, 12:22 PM
From what you all are saying, it seems that GM is best for riders who are planning to compete in the A circuit and who want a test for anything in their riding, their horse, or their turnout that could negatively impact their results.

What may be confusing though is that George Morris writes a lot about beginners <snip>

It just seems that at the lower levels of expertise, a GM clinic may not be necessary to get you to the next level.

I haven't show at an A show for 20 years. I don't plan on showing at an A show in the near future...it's far too expensive and I can have similar levels of fun on the local circuit. I would love to ride with GM. Even though I don't show As, I aspire to ride well enough to put in decent rounds anywhere I go.

GM teaches everyone, no matter the background the basic system of riding that will help them succeed whatever their level. Sure, a backyard rider who like to piddle around on their horse may be wasting both time and money with GM, but anyone who wants to ride at their best (and can handle a no frills approach to training) will benefit.

Janet
Apr. 27, 2009, 12:45 PM
From what you all are saying, it seems that GM is best for riders who are planning to compete in the A circuit and who want a test for anything in their riding, their horse, or their turnout that could negatively impact their results. I imagine that if I spent a lot of time and money getting myself and my horse ready to compete at this level and still wasn't getting the results I expected, I'd be more frustrated at the lack of results and want to hear the real deal on what was holding me back no matter how rude the delivery was.

Nope. For riders who are SERIOUS about improving their riding.

In the session I rode in, there were only two riders who showed on the h/j A circuit. The rest of us were Fox Hunters and Eventers (turnout requirements are very different from the h/j A shows).

findeight
Apr. 27, 2009, 12:57 PM
And the sport shows it, too. The level of riding in this country has seriously deteriorated at all but the most elite levels. Even there, while the riding is excellent,there aren't as many as there used to be.


Amen sister.

If any have any doubt, go to a local show like I did recently and often work at.

Pathetic. And that is just some of the so called "professional trainers". Their clients are really lacking...but their attitude is one of having attained perfection and above reproach.

When that happened, no clue. Probably the everybody feels good, I'm OK you're OK, more important to try then actually do it correctly and, of course, it's always politics that keep you out of the ribbons. Or the photographer.

Summit Springs Farm
Apr. 27, 2009, 02:47 PM
Thank God for those itsy bitsy 2'6" classes, cause if they didn't have em I wouldn't be showing!:winkgrin:

Me and Popeye K's owner both show is the pre-adults!:eek: