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  1. #1
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    Default George Morris- ridiculous critiques of horses' form in Practical Horseman

    Does anyone else get annoyed/roll their eyes at some of George Morris' comments about horses form over tiny fences? This week, there is a cute appaloosa jumping a tiny (18 inches?) jump with a young rider. The horse is just stepping over it, it's not like he needs to put any effort into it. The critique says "... he is not a good jumper and his uneven front legs make him dangerous to ride over fences. Horses who have a loose and split front end (uneven knees) are at risk of hooking a leg on the top rail and causing a rotational fall..."

    Really? The horse is dangerous to ride over fences, because it has loose knees over a tiny fence? I don't even think it would would be possible for a horse to flip over an 18 inch fence, unless it was a ridiculously long distance or something. In other issues, he'll say the same thing about horses with one foot a few inches lower than the other.

    I would respect his critiques a lot more of he would just say "it's impossible to critique this horse's form over such a small fence". How can you possibly make such blanket statements about a horses jumping ability after seeing one picture over a tiny fence? I mean, my dads AO horse could jump the moon with his knees to his eyeballs, but he barely steps over 2ft. If you sent a picture to GM, he'd probably say the horse was no good for jumping.
    Quote Originally Posted by pinecone View Post
    I can't decide if I should saddle up the drama llama, dust off the clue bat, or get out my soapbox.


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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
    How can you possibly make such blanket statements about a horses jumping ability after seeing one picture over a tiny fence?
    The whole premise of the column is that GM has the experience and knowledge to form an opinion from one picture. People still send in pictures even though the pictures take YEARS to be published, so they must think his opinion has value.

    The few times over the years he critiqued pictures of people I actually knew, he completely hit the nail on the head in every way.

    If you don't think the premise is valid, no one is forcing you to read the column or send in a picture.


    10 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    I do think that Mr. Morris' critiques have gone downhill from years past. Perhaps it is due to his being extraordinarily busy, but the quality is just, IMHO, not as good. I used to read that part of the magazine first. Now, I might skim it, but I don't race to it.

    I kind of agree with big grey hunter. And frankly, I thought that the comments about the jump construction in a few of this month's pictures were unnecessary at best. It's not like the exhibitor goes out and builds the courses at a show.

    Flame suit on if necessary. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Mr. Morris, but he is not perfect either


    29 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by supershorty628 View Post
    I do think that Mr. Morris' critiques have gone downhill from years past. Perhaps it is due to his being extraordinarily busy, but the quality is just, IMHO, not as good. I used to read that part of the magazine first. Now, I might skim it, but I don't race to it.

    I kind of agree with big grey hunter. And frankly, I thought that the comments about the jump construction in a few of this month's pictures were unnecessary at best. It's not like the exhibitor goes out and builds the courses at a show.

    Flame suit on if necessary. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Mr. Morris, but he is not perfect either
    I totally agree with this. Also, with the first jump, I am not sure how he can even tell where the groundline is. It's not actually even in the picture, unless I'm missing something? I also thought his comment about the last horse having a "clean-but-not-glowing" coat was quite plainly incorrect. The horse is actually the shiniest horse in the column this month.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    The column is a virtual soapbox for him. Often his points aren't relevant to the picture posted or even useful for THAT rider (i.e. the ground lines - what is that rider going to do about it?), but nonetheless he makes them to educate more broadly than the scope of just that riders personal critique. Like....think of all his random rantings about the eventer pictures where he's like (*yawn*) "colorful clothes have no place in the show ring and distract from the overall beauty of the sport...." Even though it's a bit yadda yadda he says it anyway. Over and over month after month. I hope eventer nation is listening! ;-)


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  6. #6
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    Making popcorn and chilling the pop....choo chooo....again.
    The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.


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  7. #7

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    Don't even get me started.
    Live Free Or Die Hard



  8. #8
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    I did enjoy GM's critiques and the conformation clinic in P.H. (however I haven't renewed my subscription).

    I do enjoy this parody now,instead of the original. http://www4.ncsu.edu/~masupple/hillbilly/critique.html
    Last edited by skydy; Dec. 29, 2012 at 10:27 PM.


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  9. #9
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    Just an FYI...not commenting on his actual critiques...

    He does not write them word for word....he sees the photos, does a phone conference with the writer to give his critique, then it is written.
    "If you are nervous you arent focused-if you are focused, there is no room for nerves!"



    2 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
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    Default Something new to aspire to!

    Skydy -

    Thank you for that link!!! Good to know there are folks with great senses of humor and humility.

    I am still smiling. Thanks!



  11. #11
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    @skydy: awesome link! Thanks for posting.



  12. #12
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    You're welcome! I get a kick out of them. Especially "she needs to bring her elbows in....so she looks like she's riding a horse and not square dancing"



  13. #13
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    The XC colors I took my pony out in would have made GM have a heart attack. But that's part of the reason I'm an eventer now.


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by supershorty628 View Post
    And frankly, I thought that the comments about the jump construction in a few of this month's pictures were unnecessary at best. It's not like the exhibitor goes out and builds the courses at a show.
    That was my first thought. I know the critiques have a formula - one paragraph about the rider's release and upper body, one about about the horse, one about the turnout, etc. I found it hilarious that there was a paragraph added specifically for the ground line in each photo.
    Currently blogging for Chronicle of the Horse. Articles can be found here: http://www.chronofhorse.com/category...ryan-lefkowitz



  15. #15
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    I wish GM would write a "critique" of that French guy in the "costume" jumper class. lol.


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnicklefritzG View Post
    I wish GM would write a "critique" of that French guy in the "costume" jumper class. lol.
    Yes, it would be difficult to comment on HIS turnout!



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydy View Post
    Yes, it would be difficult to comment on HIS turnout!
    but he might get a comment on his "nice seat".


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  18. #18
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    I really dislike the whole concept of analyzing an action (the way a horse moves or a rider's equitation) with a still photo, especially when the critic is unfamiliar with the horse/rider pair. It's like handing a person a paper with a two sentence excerpt from a novel then asking that person to give an analysis of the book. Taken out of context, you can't reach any conclusion beyond what is happening at that split second. Of course you may infer what may be going on based on the horse's expression or subtle clues from details in the photo, but as a whole I think it's a pretty weak tool when compared to analyzing a video (or seeing a series of still frames captured within a video). So while you can draw some *general* conclusions, I don't think the photo critiques hold much weight.

    And to add, I think GM is full of great information and is one of the most knowledgeable, intuitive, and dedicated trainers out there. However, photo analysis is just not a great tool, even with a great teacher.


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  19. #19
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    Photo analysis might give people a couple of pointers on what to do differently. However, I'm guessing most of the time it's for things they already know they need to change. I've thought about sending some of my photos in for Heather Blitz' dressage column in one of the dressage magazines, but I have a feeling I know what she's going to say...

    Another thing is that there are things I do on an X-C course that might be considered not good if I were a junior doing the BigEq. Sometimes things just have to be taken into context as the previous post stated.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
    Does anyone else get annoyed/roll their eyes at some of George Morris' comments about horses form over tiny fences? The critique says "... he is not a good jumper and his uneven front legs make him dangerous to ride over fences. Horses who have a loose and split front end (uneven knees) are at risk of hooking a leg on the top rail and causing a rotational fall...".
    I am SOOOO glad you mentioned this, because it has been driving me crazy for AGES!! GM says this at least once virtually every month. Maybe I have not seen enough horse jumping in my life (probably a total of, I don't know, at least 2,000 hours) but I personally have never, not once, seen a horse hook a leg over a rail and fall. In fact, the only rotational falls I hear about are the ones on x-country, when I assume there is a much bigger problem than an uneven front end causing them. So why the heck is GM always threatening this dire consequence?? Especially when the horse in question is usually either a) stepping over a little fence, or b) somebody's not-six-figures-but-perfectly-useful hunter who *gasp* doesn't have knees like freakin' Rox Dene?

    George sure has his soapboxes and boy, oh boy, do we faithful PH readers ever know what they are. I still get value from the column but I have to mentally tune out the excess message...


    4 members found this post helpful.

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