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George Morris on the SS list

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  • Originally posted by Dr. Doolittle View Post
    This has been a loooong thread and I finally got through it, wanting to add my $0.2 but wanting to read all the responses first.

    I did the hunters for awhile "back in the day" (started out in Pony Club, and then later returned to my roots and am now an eventer), and there were always whispers about some BNTs back then - but everyone "looked the other way."

    I was never in a program, did my own thing (still do!), so these were all just rumors without substantiation. It was a different time (the 70's), but does that make it okay to sweep abuse under the rug because "it happened years ago?" THANK GOD it is now being uncovered by an official organization tasked with revealing the predators and sanctioning them; it's been a long time coming, but better late than never.

    I was in Pony Club with Robert Dover and later boarded at the same barn, Gee, Robert. I have always thought better of you...I read his FB posts and am SMH

    I am particularly puzzled and rather disgusted by the defense of GM among SO many BNTs and BNRs; their protestations are all over my FB feed (I have well over 600 FB friends and 90% of them are horsepeople), really?? Is this actually about SS, or is it more about "there but for the grace of God go I"? Hmmmm.

    They are quite vocal in their attacks on SS, and like a few posters on this thread, seem to misunderstand the whole "guilt and innocence" thing; are confused about the "law" vs an "organization" formed to protect minors and "police" its MEMBERS; jump on the "but it happened 30 years ago!" bandwagon; insist that "without HARD EVIDENCE" he is clearly just being railroaded", etc.

    Good grief.

    I have my own GM story, which I have kept to myself for many years because he has SO many fans (and apologists) on this BB; the whole naked emperor thing (and his $hit doesn't stink because "he's the George."), so I didn't want to get flamed or pounced on by his minions.

    About 15 or 20 years ago I audited one of his clinics, it was held in an indoor at a fairly well-known hunter barn (which hosts shows), if I were to tell you the location its identity would be pretty clear, so I will withhold that as being irrelevant.

    I was sitting on hay bales with a small group of middle-aged women, giggling and whispering (I doubt they rode seriously based on their conversation), but they were all hero-worshipers of "The George". I just wished they would be quiet so I could hear the clinic!, hoping to glean a bit or learn a new exercise.

    The clinic had about 5 riders in each group, and there were two groups (IIRC), the second group had a bay mare ridden by a young woman; she was having some issues, so George hopped on.

    (Despite my disgust for him as a person, I have always given him props for getting on his students' horses; he has my admiration as a rider for doing that, and for pretty much NOTHING else.)

    One of the exercises was a line down the long side, followed by an oxer off a turn with a longish runup. The mare was a bit sticky to the oxer with her rider, so George got on to "tune her up", rode to the oxer with conviction, mare STOPPED suddenly and abruptly (a dirty stop), and he went flying over her head, landing somewhat inelegantly on the other side. Of course his "helmet" popped off, being "an item of apparel" with no chin strap.

    He got up, mad as a wet hen, shook himself off, picked up the bat, went over to the mare (who was standing quietly on the takeoff side, reins now in her owner's hands), and beat the crap out of her; screaming: "WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME SHE HAD A DIRTY STOP?!?!, THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT, YOU IDIOT!!!!" to the girl.

    Wow.

    It certainly shut everyone up (including the chattering auditors), and there was dead silence. The girl, now in tears, apologized repeatedly. The mare, now very tense with her head up in the air, was remounted - the oxer was lowered significantly, and she was beaten over it several times. Then the girl was put back on. She did the lowered oxer a few times and then called it a day.

    NO horseman, GM...A spoiled, egotistical narcissist who has gotten away with bad and abusive behavior for decades!, just because he is a very "BNT" who NO ONE has taken to task.

    It's about damn time.

    I like to think it possible that mare never had a dirty stop before or after. 😀

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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.

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      • 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 !

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        • 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.

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

            Another coach on trial for abuse, swimming this time.

            https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...omplaints.html
            Boss Mare Eventing Blog

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            • 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.

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              • 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.

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                • 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.

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                  • 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.

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                    • 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.

                      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/07/s...section=Sports
                      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
                      Semantics

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

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                        • "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.

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                          • 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.

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                            • 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.

                              https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/07/s...section=Sports
                              This article linked from that one: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/10/s...pgtype=Article

                              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

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                              • 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.

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                                • 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.

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                                  • 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.

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                                    • 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.

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                                      • So was I.

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

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