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George Morris on the SS list

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    Originally posted by kt-rose View Post
    I'd like to say something to those who who wonder why we didn't do anything back then, why we kept quiet and then blame some of us for the ongoing abuse that occurred. I was there. I spent most of my teenage years at Cedar Lodge Farm riding and working both while Victor and Holly Hugo-Vidal were there and after the Reserpine scandal and their move to California.

    It was a different time. Not in what was acceptable behavior but in what one might do about it and what people got away with. I was a kid and while I heard all the rumors, saw a lot of horrible treatment of horses and received plenty of warnings, I had no clue what I could or should do. In retrospect, as an adult my understanding of what I saw happening around me leaves me well and truly shaken and there are very few 'gods' in the hunter/jumper world I would allow within 100 yards of a horse I owned.

    But back to my point...we did do what we thought we could. We moved in packs. We warned each other. There were a variety of people we never left our friends alone with. Our mothers guarded us. I can think of a handful of the top equitation riders of that day whose mothers had eyes on at every moment. My mother could spot a predator a mile away and warned me quite specifically about Jimmy Williams. My mother taught me how to operate safely in the world as it was then as did the mothers of many of my friends. And if things even threatened to go south they stepped in. Not everyone was as fortunate in having a savvy parent watching. But it is how a lot of us got to ride at a fairly high level with those who were considered the best, but stay safe.

    We did the best we could to take care of the horses. I personally iced the face of a mare who was subjected to a Chambon made of baling twine. Was pretty sure it or something worse would happen to her again so I bought her and removed her from Cedar Lodge. The scars never went away. The abuse was pervasive. Doing our best was all we thought we could do. We knew enough to know the risks but never enough to report or who to even report to. Because of all I saw, I left that world in the very early 80s for eventing and have never gone back.

    So none of this surprises me, it's about time. And while I have long hoped that many of the 'great horseman' of that era learned and actually became great horseman in time, given what I saw back then, they would have to be very different people for it to be true.
    Thank you for being so honest. I'm glad you had a strong parent who kept you safe from physical abuse - I only wish all parents had been so careful, both then and now.


      I was a hero worshipper of GHM when I was a younger. I actually met him at a barn on LI where he was instructing and he was actually kind to me. That was 40 some years ago. As a teen, I rode with a very good instructor and mentioned the desire to go to a GM clinic. My instructor replied "you should be ok there - he only like little boys." I was absolutely shocked. No I didn't go. Fast forward 30 some years later and I brought a student on a young horse to a clinic in upstate NY. My student was picked on, but nothing compared to what happened to a young girl who hard a hearing disability and a person there to sign to her. GM screamed at the signer -"Are you doing your job and telling her what I said! She hasn't improved at all and really shouldn't be here if she can't understand me." Now some big wigs from USEF were there and you could hear a pin drop in the silence of the spectators.. Some years later I read his book "Unrelenting." So no, I am not surprised but I find myself very, very sad and disappointed at USEF for turning a blind eye. And the AHSA as well. I am glad there is Safe Sport. I'm sure a bunch of little storied like mine will come out. now.
      Living large in the Northeast Kingdom !


        Originally posted by oneequestrienne View Post

        Stay away from this stuff on FB. I unfriended every single horse show friend who supported RG, participated in victim shaming or blindly attacked Safesport. (Having questions or concerns about the process in an honest and sincere way is fine, that’s not what I’m talking about.) it was a hard thing to do because I grew up in the Cali h/j world and FB was my connection to a lot of that. I don’t regret it at all. AND, the benefit is that it gave me more time to do what I intended when I joined FB in the first place: enjoy catching up with my friends and see how they and their families are doing.
        I also turned my facebook off for now. I wanted to avoid all my friends who are doing the gut reaction of safesport is terrible, there is no due process, GM is the victim here, name the accuser. I posted my piece, said people should educate themselves before reacting, and then left. The amount of anger I felt towards it all was unhealthy.

        I may not even turn it back on. Its cowardly, i will admit it, but I dont really want to know which of my friends defend him.


          Not sure why Equestrians think we are immune to this!!

          Another coach on trial for abuse, swimming this time.


            Originally posted by gottagrey View Post

            please remember that of those members - that also includes other disciplines - many of how might not even know who the heck George Morris is.. i.e. QH, Arab, Gaited horses, etc.
            Sorry, but I'm not clear on what you're saying here. I'm pretty sure the members of the I stand with George FB group are, by and large, very aware of who he is.


              Originally posted by oneequestrienne View Post

              Just to clarify. In the case of RG, you are not accurate in your description of the process. There are multiple victims who came forward and reported him to Safesport, not one. The 5 women, including Hillary Ridland, who spoke at the Oaks are not even all those who spoke to Safesport and I personally know of others who did not go to Safesport. Yes, RG put something in writing, but that isn’t the sum total of the case against him. He was going to lose his appeal. He knew it.
              I was directly referring to the victim in which he put it in writing. for lack of a better description, that put the nail in the coffin for that case and the ultimate ruling SS put forth.


                Originally posted by CPL713 View Post

                Sorry, but I'm not clear on what you're saying here. I'm pretty sure the members of the I stand with George FB group are, by and large, very aware of who he is.
                She’s saying there are people who know who he is and respect him but are not from the H/J world. They are more familiar with the AQHA or breed world.


                  Originally posted by CPL713 View Post

                  Sorry, but I'm not clear on what you're saying here. I'm pretty sure the members of the I stand with George FB group are, by and large, very aware of who he is.
                  sorry - maybe I misread your post when you stated the membership of USEF - I was referring to the USEF membership and other disciplines not knowing (or caring) who George Morris is.

                  Will be interesting to see how this all pans out.


                    Originally posted by oldernewbie View Post
                    Just for some perspective, read what a survivor from another sport has to say about the whole mess. If, after you read this, you think SS is a crock, I submit you haven't got a brain OR a heart.

                    What a heartbreaking article.

                    First and foremost, USEF should be about protecting the welfare of horses and riders, NOT the trainers who currently rule the sport.
                    "Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?" Sun Tzu


                      It's not only Olympic sports...recall Jerry Sandusky at Penn State.


                        "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"

                        How many of us heard that growing up? One thing that strikes me reading this thread and following along is that in the decades since GHM arrived on the scene and began his ascent, the generally prevailing understanding of and attitudes towards things like abuse of animals (livestock) and bullying and emotional manipulation of people have undergone tidal shifts. Most people now understand that there is a line between tough love and abuse and can tell when it has been crossed. There is understanding that bullying and emotional abuse can cause as much irreparable damage as physical abuse. I say all this to the point that people who maybe attended clinics over the years and saw GHM act in ways that would now obviously be generally unacceptable... it might not have been that clear way back when... and by the time it was clear, he had begun to moderate a bit.

                        I still think a lot of the circling of the wagons is more about who is in the highest caste of the h/j social hierarchy.


                          Ya know this whole thing makes me sad because he really is talented at creating great horsemen and riders. He’s no slouch himself in the saddle. It makes me sad because NONE of what he did/does that is atrocious is necessary. He could have been great without all this.


                            Originally posted by oldernewbie View Post
                            Just for some perspective, read what a survivor from another sport has to say about the whole mess. If, after you read this, you think SS is a crock, I submit you haven't got a brain OR a heart.

                            This article linked from that one:

                            As the federation enters a phase that may lead to its demise, longtime gymnasts remain befuddled over the mismanaged hiring. For them, the choices, most emblematically the Tracy decision, illustrated a continuing dysfunction in an organization they see as incapable of understanding the drastic changes needed to create a healthy environment for gymnasts at every level.

                            A cursory search of the internet would have revealed Tracy defending Nassar and calling him “amazing” in a 2016 television interview — after the first wave of accusations against him, from more than 50 athletes, was made public. Diligent outreach to gymnasts who trained under Tracy, or those who knew her athletes, would most likely have uncovered allegations of a physically and emotionally abusive atmosphere at her gym.

                            A spokesman for U.S.A. Gymnastics declined to comment on the hiring process for Tracy.
                            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


                              The Saddlebred Morgan and Arabian peeps are circling the wagons as well. Led by one Mr Cates. Maybe not to the same extent but many are using the witch Hunt label and throwing around the same language about rights and innocence.


                                I managed to find a used copy of the book on Alibris for $14. Curiosity got me, but at least I can feel better that I didn't send the money directly to him.
                                It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.


                                  Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post
                                  ...NONE of what he did/does that is atrocious is necessary. He could have been great without all this.
                                  But he didn't do all this stuff in order to be great. He did it because it was obviously an emotional need on his part. And I'm not even talking about these latest findings, just about his obvious and known behaviors. He abused the weak, not the strong. Animals, children.


                                    Originally posted by prairiewind2 View Post

                                    But he didn't do all this stuff in order to be great. He did it because it was obviously an emotional need on his part. And I'm not even talking about these latest findings, just about his obvious and known behaviors. He abused the weak, not the strong. Animals, children.
                                    I get that but I was speaking to horse related things as well.


                                      So was I.


                                        Originally posted by prairiewind2 View Post
                                        So was I.
                                        And I still find it sad. Not trying to psychoanalyze. Just saying it’s sad.


                                          Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post

                                          I think that many of GM's close associates did indeed know exactly what was going on. I think most just put their own spin on it so that they could continue to associate with him without suffering mental pain. A lot of them probably convinced themselves that the relationships were consensual and just mentally shied away from any acknowledgement that a 12/13/14 year old can't give consent. Some I think probably simply refused to believe what was going on even when the evidence was in clear view.

                                          For many, I don't think it's shock and disbelief so much as it's a refusal to give up their own denial because if they are forced to do so, what does that say about them? That they knew about and condoned child molestation? No one wants to believe that about themselves.
                                          This could very well be. They also may believe that even if they saw some things, that was just George being George and harmless.
                                          But, if we have learned nothing else from these SS procedings, it should be that child predators are very good at what they do. Look at the Jimmy Williams story; how many adults knew what was going on but ignored it, because they liked Jimmy? It is a staple of these people to make those around them, people who would usually gag at the thought of what they are doing, stay quiet. How they do that is a very interesting psychology discussion that is out of my pay grade.
                                          If they weren’t persuasive people, they would have gotten caught a long time ago.