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George Morris- ridiculous critiques of horses' form in Practical Horseman

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  • #41
    Originally posted by lauriep View Post
    This is one of GM's pet peeves, too. Hunters today never jump a true vertical in the ring. Never. And that would really separate the truly good jumpers from the manufactured one. But they just don't do it.
    Not to hijack the thread, but why is this the case? If a vertical would help separate horses based on jumping style, wouldn't that be the point?

    Comment


    • #42
      While I agree with GM about verticals, there is little point in stating it in the column because when you enter a show ring, you are required to jump what is before you. I don't see anyone planning to boycott shows until true verticals are brought back.


      As for bad jumping style, with so many of the pics showing horses cantering over small fences (with the split knees that come with a big canter step rather than a true jump) it is a monthly occurance. Very few horses are asked to perform at a level that requires a true jumping effort and most of the pic in the clinic are of riders doing well under 3'.
      F O.B
      Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
      Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

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      • #43
        Originally posted by SnicklefritzG View Post
        Not to hijack the thread, but why is this the case? If a vertical would help separate horses based on jumping style, wouldn't that be the point?
        The trainers have made their wishes known to show managers and CDs. They know that spreads are easier to jump, and give a mediocre jumper a chance to be acceptable. Also easier for the rider. You have to be more precise to ride a vertical correctly. Goes right along with the whole dumbing down, drugging issues.
        Laurie

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        • #44
          @Laurie: Good grief!

          Along somewhat related lines, there are plenty of times I wish my trainer would warm up my horse before I go into the ring. I know not to bother asking because I know what the answer will be. lol.

          Have I had to deal with some theatrics at times? Absolutely. However, it has made me a better rider and I have the results to show for it. It's a longer road, but ultimately a better one. I wouldn't give my horse drugs for similar reasons. It's not going to make me a better rider if I rely on pharmaceuticals to solve my problems.

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          • #45
            Originally posted by Linny View Post
            While I agree with GM about verticals, there is little point in stating it in the column because when you enter a show ring, you are required to jump what is before you. I don't see anyone planning to boycott shows until true verticals are brought back.


            As for bad jumping style, with so many of the pics showing horses cantering over small fences (with the split knees that come with a big canter step rather than a true jump) it is a monthly occurance. Very few horses are asked to perform at a level that requires a true jumping effort and most of the pic in the clinic are of riders doing well under 3'.
            I can see it now - going in on a green horse and walking up to the judge:

            "Excuse me, miss/sir - I just don't agree with the construction of that single fence on the diagonal. I think the ground lines are just ridiculous and they aren't going to show how well my horse actually jumps. Therefore, I will be substituting that shadow* directly next to the offending jump. Don't worry, I can guarantee Dobbin will jump it; he knows about the monsters that lurk in shadows, and I feel that this will give you a better perspective on his ability to jump a vertical or, even more difficult, an invisible fence."

            And, for laughs, a canter step caught in action, performed by my 1.45m-1.50m horse

            *This situation also works for sunspots in indoor rings, as I know for a fact that they eat baby ponies.
            Last edited by supershorty628; Dec. 30, 2012, 08:14 PM.
            http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
            Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

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            • #46
              Is being direct when it addresses safety and learning/education = rude? The fact is he is correct, has seen more than most put together. Simply put, someone should be addressing these issues in the rider/horse's training.
              I.D.E.A. yoda

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              • #47
                I just laughed hysterically for a half hour straight. The relentless pursuit of imperfection. Teehee.

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                • #48
                  GM is a curmudgeon, a nice word for a cranky old man. After the great hue and cry that arose about his bitching about everyone's weight, he got off that soapbox. Dont take away all his fun, he has to bitch about something or he might implode.
                  "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin

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                  • #49
                    Originally posted by skydy View Post
                    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
                    LOVE!!!

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                    • #50
                      I have to say I have definitely had that thought too. But, he does make a valid point. Even if the fence is small and doesn't "require" that level of effort, it really doesn't make the way that horse is jumping any less dangerous.

                      I had a really lovely TB who did the Adult Am's with textbook form. He slipped in some bad footing and actually went through a 3' oxer, ending in a nasty rotational fall. I was seriously injured and now, a few years later, wouldn't ride something that jumped like that. It's not worth taking the chance. The problem isn't so much the probability of a rotational fall, it's the fact that rotational falls can be SO dangerous. My horse was never able to return to jumping on a regular basis, and it was heart breaking. The greenie I'm training now puts in a good (albeit not perfect) effort even over the smallest fences. There is no reason to be straight legged or terribly uneven in the air. Sometimes you really have to think about safety, ours AND theirs, even if it's not what you want to hear.

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                      • #51
                        Originally posted by MHM View Post
                        The whole premise of the column is that GM has the experience and knowledge to form an opinion from one picture.
                        Originally posted by MHM View Post
                        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.
                        .
                        I had a picture run a little over two years ago. It was creepy how accurate he was. C-R-E-E-P-Y. I also knew that he was going to comment on my fleece girth....he always does. But, I also knew that the horse did actually need the fleece girth, so it didn't bug me.

                        I've had a few other pictures that I wouldn't mind sending in, but 1)I waited years to see it run. I don't think I could do that again, and 2)there are things wrong with the pictures. Not my equitation, but maybe dirty boots, horse is a little uneven or it's a schooling picture or some such. Why would I send in a picture that wasn't a good representation of what my horse, my equitation and my turnout are really like? That's just begging for negative comments.

                        GM is also from the old school where you didn't compliment often. I do think he's a bit curmudgeon-y...but in a good way. I just took a clinic from another from that era (well, younger but same type of style) and I took great pride in his "I have no complaints for you...yet" comments. Hahaaa.


                        Originally posted by RiderWriter View Post
                        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.
                        I've seen it happen with an otherwise lovely pony (lovely jumper, lovely first pony...all of it..I Love him). Rotational fall over 2', maybe 2'3"(?) hunter fence...a gate to be exact. Rider lost consciousness for a bit...but ended up being fine. It was extremely scary and no one wants to watch a pony rider be taken away in an ambulance. I will never, ever forget it.
                        Last edited by RugBug; Dec. 31, 2012, 01:20 AM. Reason: corrected time. I can't believe it's been two years already. Eek!
                        Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                        Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

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                        • #52
                          Conformation Clinic can be even more ridiculous

                          No wish to hijack the thread, but Confo Clinic is just daft sometimes. I would love to see it pitched at a much higher level to actually help readers develop a better eye.

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            Originally posted by rockfordbuckeye View Post
                            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...."
                            Whenever he says that, I like to remember the scenes from "The Horse With the Flying Tail" where Young GM is training with the USET in an orange shirt and rust breeches.
                            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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                            • #54
                              Originally posted by RugBug View Post
                              I've seen it happen with an otherwise lovely (lovely jumper, lovely first pony...all of it..I Love him) pony. Rotational fall over 2', maybe 2'3"? Rider lost consciousness for a bit...but ended up being fine. It was extremely scary and no one wants to watch a pony rider be taken away in an ambulance. I will never, ever forget it.
                              I've seen in happen too, over a 2'3" wall element in a hunter ring. The horse was just being stupid and not paying attention. He was plenty capable of bigger fences and of lifting his front end ... he just had to bother to do it.
                              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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                              • #55
                                Originally posted by poltroon View Post
                                Whenever he says that, I like to remember the scenes from "The Horse With the Flying Tail" where Young GM is training with the USET in an orange shirt and rust breeches.
                                Don't diss the rust. Orange shirt is fair game.

                                (GM wears a terrible combination like that in one of his videos. It's the one bad thing about rust..there are really only a few colors you can wear with it without looking like a clown.)
                                Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                                Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  Originally posted by RugBug View Post
                                  I had a picture run a little over a year ago. It was creepy how accurate he was. C-R-E-E-P-Y.
                                  Freaky, right? When he critiqued the people I knew, it was as if he had watched them ride for years, though I'm sure he never saw them in person.

                                  I, too, remember a pony who flipped over a two foot jump. Squished the rider, who spent the whole summer on bedrest while she recovered.

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    Originally posted by MHM View Post
                                    Freaky, right? When he critiqued the people I knew, it was as if he had watched them ride for years, though I'm sure he never saw them in person.
                                    .
                                    He nailed me, my horse and both of our issues. People that know me and the horse were like and
                                    Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                                    Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      I just got my PH and went straight to his critique page after reading this thread.

                                      I have to say that I don't disagree with him. Someone said earlier that their upper level hunter also "stepped over" small fences, but there's a big difference between "stepping over" a jump (i.e. loose below the knee) and knees pointed downward in conjunction with being loose. And it's the knees (or really forearm really) that he objects to pointing downward.....which he points out on the last horse since that one is also giving minimal effort but correct at the knee.

                                      To the flipping point, I've had a horse flip with me as well. My really fabulous and sure-footed mare did it in a 1.20m class (small for her after several years in the 1.30m and 1.40m classes). Full rotational fall where she rolled over the top of her head and landed on her back (and slightly to one side). My old Grand Prix jumper did it once with my trainer as well early in his training. We always joked that he thought my trainer did it to him on purpose and it completely changed his outlook on listening to his rider My point being that I think it happens more than people realize. And from an educational perspective I'm not sure how GM could *not* mention it in a column.

                                      I don't totally disagree with the OP, though, and I've always been a bit put off by his comments about horses with slightly uneven knees. But along those lines, I wouldn't ever send a picture to him with a horse jumping crooked (which is typically the case with uneven knees....well, if the horse isn't just cantering over the jump). But to that point I can only think of a few pictures from 30 years of jumping that I *might* consider sending to him and then what's the point? They're from unusually good moments
                                      __________________________________
                                      Flying F Sport Horses
                                      Horses in the NW

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                                      • #59
                                        Let us all keep in mind that George is critiquing a moment in time and can only say what he sees in that photo. The very next fence could be prefect, just not caught on camera. I would think that if you were sending a photo for critique with anyone, you would send your very best one and if these bad ones are your very best, then you do need some work!
                                        Also keep in mind that George was raised in a time where things were perfect and you and your horse were always well turned out in clean and well fitting things. sloppy turnout=sloppy riding school of thought. He also started out in a time when the fences were verticles with little or no ground lines and everyone other than ponies started at 3'6" and horses that showed could jump some big fences and jump them well! In his day as well, people rode a lot, had more time to do so,not just on weekends and did a lot of their own schooling and hunted so they were used to going down to big fences at a good pace. Modern times where everyone has so much to do, not as much focus on one thing so the fences became lower and more user friendly so more people could do it. Look at all your shows from the biggest WEF down to the smallest schooling shows:your biggest entries are in the 3' and lower!
                                        George does use his column as a soapbox but a lot of what he says is good stuff under difficult circumstances to assess. Like it or hate it but your choice to read or not.

                                        Comment


                                        • #60
                                          I noted in George's "vintage" PH cover in the recent issue his horse has a big white square pad with a big ugly foam pad on top. Someone should have told him he had too much fleece showing and that a fitted pad is more "traditional" ;-) Oh and if he is so safety minded re: rotation falls, a chin strap on a helmet really helps them stay on.

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