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George Morris on the SS list

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  • I've thought a great deal since this all came out, because I remember growing up as a horse-crazy girl reading George Morris' Practical Horseman jumping clinic columns. I was a chubby, not very athletic horse lover at the time, and I remember simultaneously combing the columns for advice but also flinching every now and then about weight-related comments. Ditto in Morris' books, which often had disparaging comments about women riders as well as weight-related comments.

    I wasn't able to ride at a very high level as a child, and didn't ride again until I was in my late thirties. Like many adults learning to ride (and I don't even consider myself a rerider, given my earlier experiences were so inconsistent), I struggled, and my early instruction wasn't very good. I put up with a great deal of verbal abuse that I would never have accepted in other contexts, and I must admit that the widespread knowledge of Morris' very harsh coaching style was part of this. I wanted to ride, and just assumed that was part of the deal. I didn't progress until I found a coach who had a sense of humor about my mistakes, and could be critical without judging me as a human being.

    I did watch Morris' filmed clinics and admit I learned from them. But as others have commented, in those later incarnations of his training he was often much less harsh--I was assured by some people he'd mellowed, although in retrospect it may just have been the presence of a camera. I also read his autobiography, and between the interesting anecdotes about equestrian life in the past, there were all sorts of stories that sickened me (there was one about a girl in a sweater Morris thought she was too proud of, and forced her to roll in the dirt as punishment, as well as a thumbtacks-on-the-saddle incident that's actually on video). When I discussed them with other horse people, though (I remember specifically saying that I would walk out of any clinic of someone who told me to roll in dirt), I was always told that I was being a weenie and that was "just George."

    I'd heard comments about Morris liking younger men, but I'd always assumed (naively, perhaps in retrospect) that meant he liked twentysomething and thirtysomething men.

    Regardless, the fact that Morris has had such a revered place--even had his own action figure and countless memes circulating about, as well as clinics and various arenas and buildings with his name emblazoned upon him--despite all of these questionable behaviors says a great deal about the cult of personality that exists within our sport. And it isn't a very pretty picture.

    Horses have given so much to me as person, and I hope this isn't too dramatic to say, but they've saved my life many times over, and it's sickening that the industry has caused so many people such terrible physical and psychological damage when they were simply seeking the same kind of joy, or a decent profession doing what they've loved.

    I'm so grateful for the sanity of the discussion on these forums.
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    Comment


    • Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post
      I think the push back will cause details to come out and then those who are in support of GM are going to feel really stupid and awful when they see what the actual stories are. Careful what you wish for.
      Or not. Plenty of studies show that people will just reject dissonant evidence rather than change their minds/admit they were wrong. They'll just say "fake news" and continue on with their lives.
      ~Veronica
      "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
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      Comment


      • Originally posted by Alterforme View Post
        Eric Lamaze wrote a lengthy comment On Candice King’s fb post. He stated he is very upset about a 51 yr ago accusation & continues on to say he hopes people come to their senses, retract this band and apologize to George.
        Really? Apologize?
        maybe he isn't thinking the best since he has been sick....
        Boss Mare Eventing Blog

        Comment


        • Originally posted by vxf111 View Post

          You SAW GM molest an underage person at a clinic (with others present as well, I presume) and no one reported that molestation to the authorities?

          Assuming this is true... if there is a fact scenario that demonstrates why the USEF needs safe sport, here it is.
          Guessing “correcting” this young boys position at a clinic 40 years ago was seen by others as well and Danny Boy was a minor or at the very most older teen at the time following the example set by Adults. Society/culture at the time was guilty in preferring to ignore such things and not discussing such things with their children or teaching them what to do. Wouldn’t be so hard on DB. Who would they report it to back then? What would the consequences have been in DBs personal life even without social media? We didn’t ask our parents about such things let alone go public.

          As a young 20 something I was groped by my trainer, told a few people and was blown off, told I was exaggerating and even told to take it as a compliment. Nobody cared to know.

          Do agree this is very much why we need SS, to be better parents when it comes to unpleasant topics and not be afraid to involve SS.

          Something that has bothered me is GMs alleged statement if he gets taken down, he’s taking others with him. Is that really a quote? Is so, it’s a threat.

          Happened to notice on the AM news, on the headline crawl running on the bottom of the screen referenced the class action lawsuit against the Boy Scouts, accusations from every state over decades.



          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

          Comment


          • Does anyone remember back around 1980 when George still rode hunters? If he had a good round and thought he should win, he would jump the last fence and whip his head towards the judge, staring him/her down and trying to intimidate them. I’m sure he’s trying to do that now.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Parrotnutz View Post

              First hand experience, I lived with a very handsome, charming man in the 90s that everyone liked. Obviously, so did I. He turned out to be into child pornography! I found the most disgusting pictures on his computer totally by accident. For 2 years I asked a therapist, How did I not know??? I was told, because people like him a Very, Very good at hiding that part of themselves.
              Exactly, especially pedohphiles. It is literally their #2 goal, to hide in plain sight. They even have forums online based around how to do this and help each other fool the public and people they know.
              Boss Mare Eventing Blog

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Alterforme View Post
                Eric Lamaze wrote a lengthy comment On Candice King’s fb post. He stated he is very upset about a 51 yr ago accusation & continues on to say he hopes people come to their senses, retract this band and apologize to George.
                Really? Apologize?
                His rant would be more effective if he used punctuation.

                The GM (and RG) supporters are unable to separate George the person from George the "God of horsemanship". I rode with AK in the early 90s. I witnessed the name calling, etc that happened every day. George liked me. He was always very complementary of my horse and my riding. Every time I saw him at the horse shows he was friendly and pleasant. I was able to see his abusive bullying side as well as his supportive side. It is possible to accept someone for their talents yet not like them as a person. Another example is Tiger Woods; he is an exceptional golfer, personable, but also had multiple infidelities. People either supported him or despised him.

                I do believe the pushback is that people hate their idols/mentors to not be who they think they are. They hate that someone has a different opinion. The SS sport case I was involved in was identical to the GM and RG cases. They focused on "30 years ago, one time..." None of that was true but it helped them keep their opinion of the person untarnished. People will believe what they want. If 50 witnesses come forward some will take a step back but others will always see George as an equestrian god.

                Comment


                • vxf111
                  You SAW GM molest an underage person at a clinic (with others present as well, I presume) and no one reported that molestation to the authorities?
                  Yes. I saw it. It was a long time ago, maybe in the '70's. Remember, I said "essentially". As I said in an earlier post, he put his hands all over the boy to "correct his position" in what I considered to be a very inappropriate manner. Yes, I was appalled. Yes, It was in public - there were others in the stands. I had/have no idea who the boy was and if his parents were present. No, the boy himself didn't say anything. So, no, I didn't speak up. I doubt seriously if anyone else did either, but I have no idea. I will say that I have watched many GM clinics since and I have NEVER seen anyone speak up, no matter how verbally abusive he was to anyone - child or adult - even recently.

                  Exactly what was I supposed to say or do? Who was I supposed to take action with? No cell phones, no photographs, remember? No proof except in my memory. Any so-called authorities would have laughed at me. At worst, I would have been viciously attacked, like people are now who allege that GM is anything but a saint and the "Father of the sport" (gag) At best I would simply have been dismissed as a troublemaker, or perhaps as just jealous that it wasn't me.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by dannyboy View Post
                    vxf111

                    At best I would simply have been dismissed as a troublemaker, or perhaps as just jealous that it wasn't me.
                    This is so true...
                    Boss Mare Eventing Blog

                    Comment


                    • Wow.
                      Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                      EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                      Comment


                      • So I mentioned earlier in a comment that it seems the Safe Sport investigation into George was in excess of one year. Another poster justifiably pushes back, and wanted sources, and I acknowledged all I had was Facebook and social media comments, as well as comments from a NYT reporter about when her own reporting began (but apparently she wasn’t aware of the Safe Sport investigation).

                        I saw Kristin’s post last night, and someone else linked to it a few posts ago. It seems to indicate the investigation has been going on for 18 months. And that GM has been well aware for awhile that the walls were closing in, and that in recent months there has been a concerted effort of some sort to “take others down with him.”

                        I don’t know details... I’m sure others do. What I can say is that after seeing an earlier post on this thread about GM wanting to take people down with him, and Kristin’s comment, everyone should pause and consider carefully what the HECK is going on with the whole bizarre “I Stand With George” response.

                        Longtime contemporaries of GM surely knew what was up with him. So why are they standing with him? Uggh. They all deserve to have their names turned to mud. And businesses fail. No sympathy from me.

                        The ban is about a charge that this man sexually abused minors. It wasn’t just “young men.” The issue is teenaged boys. He made the insane claim in his own book that he has had 10,000 partners. So I feel pretty comfortable using boys... because this is NOT simply about one person from 1968 to 1972. People need to say it - don’t let the PR narrative get away with that crap. Furthermore, Homosexuality is not an excuse for an adult to have sex with a minor... it doesnt matter if it was a different time and everyone was in the closet, etc etc. It doesn’t matter if it was 1968, or 2019. The whole “An adult male used to do this and show a teenaged boy the ropes about a homosexual lifestyle” argument justifying any of this is utterly evil. An adult male having sex with a male or female minor is a PREDATOR. PERIOD. The girl didn’t ask for it, and she wasn’t “screwing for the blue” and there was nothing emotionally beneficial about a young teenaged boy who may, or may not, have had questions about his sexuality having their first sexual relationship be an abusive one, involving an imbalance of power and an adult predator.

                        Teenagers who are minors aren’t capable of informed consent. Period.

                        I have now seen multiple comments multiple places about a victim from within the last ten years, a victim from the 90’s, and a comment alluding to a victim who committed suicide. Yes... it’s Facebook. People say all sorts of crap. These comments were not idle chatter from folks nobody has heard of though. In addition, no one knows for sure what the nature of the relationship was with JS and GM... but obviously JS has had some troubles as an adult as well, and was caught with child porn in 2006. It’s a fact JS lost his father at s young age, and went to train with GM at age 13, and later was his assistant trainer. When I think about the d one of JS life, and the fact that he was once a teenaged boy without a father, and now has his name on the Safe Sport list and a criminal record... the word that comes to mind is TRAGIC.

                        So yes, GM can appeal the Safe Sport decision. But I don’t think there is a snowballs chance in hell it will be overturned. And I pray the reporter from the NYT who cracked the Jimmy Williams story wide open does the same for this one (although any victim who wishes to remain anonymous or keep their experiences private should be respected). There are multiple people who STILL support JW, who actively spoke up in defense of RG, who now stand with GM. They are very public. Take a look at Susie Hutchison’s page. My sympathy for her is just gone. Anyone who condones any of this crap or makes excuses? I hope their comments live on the internet forever, and their businesses and their “legacy” crumbles. This is not the sort of legacy any sport needs. I do not want these people to be my child’s heroes. This is not what we want handed down to another generation.

                        Comment


                        • Hey FiSk123 I know you were putting together a spreadsheet/list of all the permanent ineligibility sanctions from Safe Sport's website...have you completed that yet? I was trying to verify some of your earlier posts on the RG thread that were reposted here (namely, the 292 total bans vs. 32 non-criminal disposition, and the details of those 32) but I'm having a bit of trouble with the Safe Sport website, since you can't just browse through all sanctions. I'd be happy to buckle down and comb through each sport individually but I figured if you'd done the work already and had a list of names I could use that as a jumping off point for verification.

                          edit Virginia Horse Mom it was me that asked where you heard about the investigation timeline! I just want to clarify that I didn't ask because I don't believe it; I just like to be able to point to a good source to back up any claims I might make in a discussion. Can you tell I went to journalism school?

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by BigMama1 View Post

                            If these defenders don’t already look like complete asshats on the wrong side of history, they certainly will if and when criminal charges get filed.
                            That's the point many defenders are making. That the complaint should go through the judicial system.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
                              I would not ride with him or pay him for anything before all this. I don't respect him as a person. He deliberately humiliated riders and was abusive to many who paid for his help and that disqualifies him as being respectable. Those of us who have been around for decades, before the internet and the cellphones and videotaping comments and having them go viral, know how mean he could be when it didn't get put out in public.
                              I came to that conclusion decades ago after watching him teach a clinic. There were plenty of other clinicians out there who imparted wisdom without the humiliation and sarcasm. I know people who took it as a badge of courage that they had survived riding with George.
                              Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                              EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Virginia Horse Mom View Post

                                I have seen other comments today on Facebook alluding to the potential complainant/complainants in GMs case being promiscuous (more vulgar terms were used).
                                This is pretty rich considering GM claims to have had sex with 10,000 people

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by Virginia Horse Mom View Post
                                  So I mentioned earlier in a comment that it seems the Safe Sport investigation into George was in excess of one year. Another poster justifiably pushes back, and wanted sources, and I acknowledged all I had was Facebook and social media comments, as well as comments from a NYT reporter about when her own reporting began (but apparently she wasn’t aware of the Safe Sport investigation).

                                  I saw Kristin’s post last night, and someone else linked to it a few posts ago. It seems to indicate the investigation has been going on for 18 months. And that GM has been well aware for awhile that the walls were closing in, and that in recent months there has been a concerted effort of some sort to “take others down with him.”

                                  I don’t know details... I’m sure others do. What I can say is that after seeing an earlier post on this thread about GM wanting to take people down with him, and Kristin’s comment, everyone should pause and consider carefully what the HECK is going on with the whole bizarre “I Stand With George” response.

                                  Longtime contemporaries of GM surely knew what was up with him. So why are they standing with him? Uggh. They all deserve to have their names turned to mud. And businesses fail. No sympathy from me.

                                  The ban is about a charge that this man sexually abused minors. It wasn’t just “young men.” The issue is teenaged boys. He made the insane claim in his own book that he has had 10,000 partners. So I feel pretty comfortable using boys... because this is NOT simply about one person from 1968 to 1972. People need to say it - don’t let the PR narrative get away with that crap. Furthermore, Homosexuality is not an excuse for an adult to have sex with a minor... it doesnt matter if it was a different time and everyone was in the closet, etc etc. It doesn’t matter if it was 1968, or 2019. The whole “An adult male used to do this and show a teenaged boy the ropes about a homosexual lifestyle” argument justifying any of this is utterly evil. An adult male having sex with a male or female minor is a PREDATOR. PERIOD. The girl didn’t ask for it, and she wasn’t “screwing for the blue” and there was nothing emotionally beneficial about a young teenaged boy who may, or may not, have had questions about his sexuality having their first sexual relationship be an abusive one, involving an imbalance of power and an adult predator.

                                  Teenagers who are minors aren’t capable of informed consent. Period.

                                  I have now seen multiple comments multiple places about a victim from within the last ten years, a victim from the 90’s, and a comment alluding to a victim who committed suicide. Yes... it’s Facebook. People say all sorts of crap. These comments were not idle chatter from folks nobody has heard of though. In addition, no one knows for sure what the nature of the relationship was with JS and GM... but obviously JS has had some troubles as an adult as well, and was caught with child porn in 2006. It’s a fact JS lost his father at s young age, and went to train with GM at age 13, and later was his assistant trainer. When I think about the d one of JS life, and the fact that he was once a teenaged boy without a father, and now has his name on the Safe Sport list and a criminal record... the word that comes to mind is TRAGIC.

                                  So yes, GM can appeal the Safe Sport decision. But I don’t think there is a snowballs chance in hell it will be overturned. And I pray the reporter from the NYT who cracked the Jimmy Williams story wide open does the same for this one (although any victim who wishes to remain anonymous or keep their experiences private should be respected). There are multiple people who STILL support JW, who actively spoke up in defense of RG, who now stand with GM. They are very public. Take a look at Susie Hutchison’s page. My sympathy for her is just gone. Anyone who condones any of this crap or makes excuses? I hope their comments live on the internet forever, and their businesses and their “legacy” crumbles. This is not the sort of legacy any sport needs. I do not want these people to be my child’s heroes. This is not what we want handed down to another generation.
                                  Excellent post and could not agree more.

                                  Those who will be taken down with him are most likely those making some loud loud noise right now.

                                  Sexual predators thrive because evidence is so scare in this form of abuse/crime. It is almost always he said/she said unless its recent and DNA evidence can be used. Predators have long gotten by on the fact that victims will be feared or shamed into silence. The loud noises in the back are just trying their damnest to keep those victims quiet, and future vicitms complacent.

                                  They make loud noise because they are losing the battle. Things are about to get messy but I feel the outcome will mean a safer sport for us all to enjoy.
                                  Last edited by Jealoushe; Aug. 7, 2019, 12:21 PM.
                                  Boss Mare Eventing Blog

                                  Comment


                                  • Originally posted by 541hunter View Post
                                    Hey FiSk123 I know you were putting together a spreadsheet/list of all the permanent ineligibility sanctions from Safe Sport's website...have you completed that yet? I was trying to verify some of your earlier posts on the RG thread that were reposted here (namely, the 292 total bans vs. 32 non-criminal disposition, and the details of those 32) but I'm having a bit of trouble with the Safe Sport website, since you can't just browse through all sanctions. I'd be happy to buckle down and comb through each sport individually but I figured if you'd done the work already and had a list of names I could use that as a jumping off point for verification.

                                    edit Virginia Horse Mom it was me that asked where you heard about the investigation timeline! I just want to clarify that I didn't ask because I don't believe it; I just like to be able to point to a good source to back up any claims I might make in a discussion. Can you tell I went to journalism school?
                                    No worries - we are good :-) Take a look at Kristin’s public post referencing an 18 month investigation though. That’s a pretty solid source I think. That’s what got me started on my last rant - I wanted to make sure I passed that on to you. Then I just got pissed off at the whole “I Stand With George” crowd, and let it fly. These people... words fail.

                                    I hope you or someone else who went to journalism school and has a great platform shines a white hot light on the professionals in this industry who are actively shrugging off child abuse. It’s awful.

                                    Comment


                                    • Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post

                                      100% agree with you.

                                      Unfortunately, most of the rest of the HJ world does not agree with us.

                                      The question still stands, in a broader sense. If someone is accused and successfully appeals, are we ready to accept them back? If not, can we agree that a SS suspension is going to cause lifetime damage to someone's career, regardless of if the claims are justified or not?

                                      Before "anyone" comes at me guns blazing saying I'm a sympathizer, I'm not. I just think discussing all possibilities are important. Know thine enemy.
                                      There are multiple examples of people given temporary suspensions that were rescinded that seem to be doing fine.
                                      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by dannyboy View Post
                                        vxf111

                                        Yes. I saw it. It was a long time ago, maybe in the '70's. Remember, I said "essentially". As I said in an earlier post, he put his hands all over the boy to "correct his position" in what I considered to be a very inappropriate manner. Yes, I was appalled. Yes, It was in public - there were others in the stands. I had/have no idea who the boy was and if his parents were present. No, the boy himself didn't say anything. So, no, I didn't speak up. I doubt seriously if anyone else did either, but I have no idea. I will say that I have watched many GM clinics since and I have NEVER seen anyone speak up, no matter how verbally abusive he was to anyone - child or adult - even recently.
                                        It occurs to me that GM was not simply the “Father of the sport”, but likely the father of a lot of the worst aspects of our sport’s CULTURE. Hard to believe that others weren’t emboldened by observing his behaviors over the years...and knowing that people felt powerless and scared to speak up.

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by Darkwave View Post
                                          Friend who coaches cross country said that she was not required to be a member of USATF (the equivalent of USEF for running) in order to coach high school cross country, and Safesport hadn't really come up as a topic. This echoed what I've observed elsewhere in running - many who compete and coach in that sport are outside of USATF, as you don't really need to be a member of USATF in order to compete until you are at a certain level (and pretty much everyone at that level is over 18). I have seen far less announcements of Safesport actions from USATF then from USEF, but I think that's in part because USATF membership isn't as universal in running as USEF membership is in riding.

                                          I'm guessing that running is not the only sport where you can be very involved in the sport without being a member of the national governing body, and thus subject to Safesport. So that may be a reason behind not all sports having the same uproar about Safesport.
                                          So your friend who coaches high school cross country may not be impacted by SafeSport per se, but I guarantee that as a school district employee they are already following all the same policies and subject to significant supervision. Instead of accusations of misconduct going to Denver, they go to the school principal, then superintendent and school board. There would be a local investigation and finding, a report to law enforcement, and the coach could lose her job whether or not law enforcement chooses to act. Losing a job in this situation today generally makes you impossible to hire in education again.

                                          The MAAP policies are the same that I was trained in as a 4-H and school volunteer a decade ago.
                                          If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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