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H-Jers: Am I being overly sensitive about GM's PH comment (eventer)?

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  • H-Jers: Am I being overly sensitive about GM's PH comment (eventer)?

    This month, GM criticized an event rider for not presenting a squeaky clean picture in the ring. It isn't that he dinged her--everyone knows it's a pet peeve of his, and justifiable under some circumstances. IMO, iti s how he put it that is offensive and illustrates, IMO, a combination of ignorance and insensitivity about a different sport. He said, "I have to say it--my first impression of our first rider is "dirty." I didn't notice her good leg position--or anything else--until I registered her dirty boots, the dirth girth, her horse's unpolished hooves and his flyaway mane."

    Now, to me, 1.) he should at least have enough knowledge to recognize the medical armband on the rider, signifying that she was eventing, not doing the subjectively judged sport of hunters, where judges notice turnout. And 2.) I think it's time old GM recognized that not everyone can have someone at the in-gate with a rub rag in hand, especially in the sport of eventing where so many intrepid riders go it alone. Chances are that horse just stepped from the warm up ring into the competition ring, hence his unpolished hooves. And, of course, you don't have to braid for stadium in eventing.

    GM has mentioned the value of cross training in some of his writing. Well, I think it's time he did some himself--at least enough to understand, if not excuse, the circumstances under which others compete. Even in hunters, not everyone has trainer, groom, mom, dad or friend to tidy things up before going into the ring. I assume that these folks accept the fact they are going to be dinged for their turnout, but compete anyway--maybe just because they enjoy being out there. That's yet another reason to point out, but remain respectful of, the circumstances under which others have to compete.

    I posted this on this BB because I'm wondering if you appreciate what I mean? Or do you think he should evaluate every rider as though they were competing at an A3 show in hunters? What would you say to PH and GM about the way he treats some riders' situations?
    Sportponies Unlimited
    Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

  • #2
    I do understand where you are coming from, but IMO if one submits a photo for critique...one becomes fair game for "blasting".

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    • #3
      Sometimes I get aggravated with George...for instance when he complains about the BOTTOM of someone's boots being dirty. Unless you have a groom, or can somehow teleport onto your horse, the bottom of your boots are going to be dirty.

      I absolutely think there is elitism in the remark. Most people I know DON'T have a groom or trainer that can stand at the in gate and polish hooves and boots right before you go in. And all the comments about elbow grease and a shiny horse....I wonder how many hours a day George spends grooming his horses?

      Having said all that, I DO think the horse, tack and rider looked grubby. If it was a one day (and I got the impression it was muddy) I understand it. You showjump after cross country and there is no time to braid between events AND there is little time to change clothes, hose off the horse, etc.

      So, yes, for an event rider in a one-day event that comment was unreasonable and uneducated.
      Ransomed from Suerteland.

      “Half the failures in life arise from pulling in one's horse as he is leaping.”
      August Hare

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      • #4
        comment

        I understand your position, but yes I think you are a little sensitive. People send GM their pictures to get his opinion. That is the point of his column. The thing about GM is he is consistent. Turn out is important to him, leg and foot position, stirrup length, not jumping up the neck, etc. Hopefully this rider submitted the picture with the understanding that they would probably get "dinged" on the turn out, but submitted anyway because they valued his opinion on the other aspects of their ride.

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        • #5
          You have valid points, but... GM is a hunter guru. Not an eventing guru. I believe that once someone submits a picture, or opens his column to read his remarks, you have to understand where he is coming from.

          Unless the rider had NEVER read the column before, she had to know that these would be opinions that GM would express - he does nearly every month and it's not just the eventers that he faults for being "dirty." I've never had the pleasure of riding with him, but I think people who have will tell you that you need to have impeccable turnout, even if you are just schooling - it shows a certain respect for your horse.

          When in Rome... If you are going to hold yourself out as an example to a H/J expert, expect to be judged by his (open & obvious) standards.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by 8perfectjumps View Post
            I understand your position, but yes I think you are a little sensitive. People send GM their pictures to get his opinion. That is the point of his column. The thing about GM is he is consistent. Turn out is important to him, leg and foot position, stirrup length, not jumping up the neck, etc. Hopefully this rider submitted the picture with the understanding that they would probably get "dinged" on the turn out, but submitted anyway because they valued his opinion on the other aspects of their ride.
            Exactly. And I agree with Mrs. Smith.

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            • #7
              I agree with the others who say if you are going to submit to GM's Jumping Clinic, you have to know at least that he is adament about turnout of both horse and rider. I find it hard to think that someone would submit a photo and not have read his previous clinics.

              Also, even in one day events, do they not have specific times for each phase, with a certain amount of time between each? How hard is it to take a cloth and wipe down your saddle, girth, and boots? My dtr can do this in less than 10 minutes after a ride. Not a thorough clean, but enough to wipe mud or dirt accumulated on a ride. On a muddy day, by yourself, I can see getting squeezed for time.

              I didn't see the picture, so I cannot comment directly. Unfortunately I let our subscription lapse. Can someone scan and post the photo in question?

              Comment


              • #8
                "Uncle" George is definitely of the "you don't get a second chance to make a first impression" school of thought.
                He judges these photos exactly the way he would judge in the show ring.
                On a Judges' card, you have a tiny little square where you can write down some little blurb to help you remember the horse and rider by something other than the number on their back. I think in this case his comment would have been "dirty".
                YES he is harsh in his comments, and he does seem to forget what the work-a-day rider has to go through to get to the show ring, but he does only have that ONE moment in time to judge.
                So..... he does.
                KD

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by dcm View Post
                  I agree with the others who say if you are going to submit to GM's Jumping Clinic, you have to know at least that he is adament about turnout of both horse and rider. I find it hard to think that someone would submit a photo and not have read his previous clinics.

                  Also, even in one day events, do they not have specific times for each phase, with a certain amount of time between each? How hard is it to take a cloth and wipe down your saddle, girth, and boots? My dtr can do this in less than 10 minutes after a ride. Not a thorough clean, but enough to wipe mud or dirt accumulated on a ride. On a muddy day, by yourself, I can see getting squeezed for time.

                  I didn't see the picture, so I cannot comment directly. Unfortunately I let our subscription lapse. Can someone scan and post the photo in question?
                  To clarify, yes and no. A lot of events, due to the overwhelming popularity of them is running phases back to back. Alot of the ones in Area II, or the Mid-Atlantic, are running so that you are going directly from Stadium to cross country or vice versa. There is little to no time to switch tack let alone clean up.

                  I did not see the picture but it also could have been that she came from a muddy warm up directly into the ring with no assistant on the ground. Eventers are a hardy bunch who do this alone or with other fellow competitors and there is little to no emphasis put on wiping the mud off before you go into the ring. There is no functional reason why it is needed so it isn't done.

                  Basically my thought with this is who cares? Really it is George Morris evaluating an eventer. I think he tends to have some opinions that are "interesting" appearance wise, so take that with a grain of salt. What matters are the positive comments on the riding. Push comes to shove that is what matters and that is where eventers are being praised more and more from Georgie boy.

                  But I agree, if one sends in a picture for him to critique then you have to be aware what the standard comments are, and clean tack is one of them.
                  Grab mane and kick on!

                  http://www.ashleykriegeleventing.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PiedPiper View Post
                    I did not see the picture but it also could have been that she came from a muddy warm up directly into the ring with no assistant on the ground. Eventers are a hardy bunch who do this alone or with other fellow competitors and there is little to no emphasis put on wiping the mud off before you go into the ring. There is no functional reason why it is needed so it isn't done.
                    But I believe there is a functional reason to clean up. For example, your foot is less secure in the stirrup if it is muddy. Mud is hard on tack and over time can weaken tack if not properly care for, creating a safety issue or added expense to replace. And mud is uncomfortable to our horses if it's underneath girths, wraps, boots, etc.

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                    • #11
                      I haven't seen this particular picture, but GM WILL compliment an event rider who is nicely turned out in his column ie. shiny horse in good weight, a neat pulled mane, well fitting clean tack. Good turnout shows respect for your animal and that you care about your horse's health. These concepts don't just apply to the hunter ring. You can bring a rag to the warm up ring, hang it on the fence, and clean your own boots before you go in. I do agree though that you can get away without hoof polish for the showjumping phase, but GM is always the traditionalist.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mrs. Smith View Post
                        But I believe there is a functional reason to clean up. For example, your foot is less secure in the stirrup if it is muddy. Mud is hard on tack and over time can weaken tack if not properly care for, creating a safety issue or added expense to replace. And mud is uncomfortable to our horses if it's underneath girths, wraps, boots, etc.
                        This is exactly were GM is coming from, along with the aesthetics. It isn't proper horsemanship to be untidy, dirty tack, equipment, horse, etc.

                        You do not have to show on the A circuit to be clean. You do NOT need a groom to be clean, it might make it easier, but you do NOT need one. Ask a friend, a fellow competitor.... It has been some time since I was at an event, but if I remember correctly, most folks are happy to help one another.

                        I do appreciate the OP comments, but GM didn't pick on her b/c she was an eventer, he expects everyone to put the horse first, and SHOW him/her to the best of their ability, starting with good care from the ground up, which includes grooming, braiding, cleaning your tack, yourself, etc.
                        www.brydellefarm.com ....developing riders, NOT passengers!
                        Member of LNHorsemanshipT & Proud of It Clique
                        "What gets me up every morning is realizing how much more there is still to learn." -GHM

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                        • #13
                          Does GM even do those critiques anymore? I was under the impression that it was someone emmulating his style, and not necessarily the man himself writing those columns.

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                          • #14
                            I agree with wynn...at so many of the horse trials you do your dressage, have maybe 30-40 minutes to change tack, change clothes, school a few fences, go into the box, do your xcountry, and its almost ALWAYS muddy or dusty or in some way DIRTY...then hope to god you have enough time to change clothes back and maybe have time to school a jump before going in for stadium. Hardly enough time to get a decent walk after xcountry, kind of do that as a warmup mixed with a cooldown, and just have someone toss you your jacket and shirt. Granted, I haven't seen the picture, so I don't know if it was a bigger recognized horse trial, or a little schooling one, but that can make all the difference!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Small Change View Post
                              Does GM even do those critiques anymore? I was under the impression that it was someone emmulating his style, and not necessarily the man himself writing those columns.
                              When I was working there, the photos were sent to him and there was one freelance editor he worked with. I think he called in his critiques, she transcribed them, then turned them into written work.

                              I think he still gets the photos.
                              Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. - Gandhi

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Eventer, dressage, rider, hunter maven, all should enter the ring with shining boots and a horse that looks like it has plenty of elbow grease put into it. I think shows respect to the judge, regardless of discipline, to put effort into my appearance. Even if you are running late, atleast reach down with your gloved had and try to wipe some crud off your boots.

                                It could be that Mr. Morris himself is nitpicking over things, but that's hard to tell with out seeing the picture his commenting on.
                                There's coffee in that nebula.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I've done back to back hunter rounds where I stayed in the muddy ring and not been able to wipe the spatters off.
                                  Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. - Gandhi

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                                  • #18
                                    I saw the picture, and I agreed with GM... I'm an eventer, and my own groom, and I've always gone into the ring with boots that have been wiped off, a shiny horse, and clean tack. It takes all of 30 seconds to rub a towel over dirty bits, and if you start the day off really clean, it makes it pretty easy to touch up the grubby bits. A healthy shiny coat will look just so even if it has a bit of dust on it... (http://www.hoofpix.com/Snow06_cha-da...080506-660.cfm)
                                    I don't think that as eventers we should get a "get out of jail free" card when it comes to turnout... I agree, if someone nailed me for having a muddy horse and muddy boots as I was coming in off of XC, I'd be peeved... but in showjumping? not so much.

                                    As far as a flyaway mane goes, There are 2 other horses in this month's forum that have unbraided manes...but they are pulled and look neat..the horse in question's mane is quite long. Granted, could be the rider's preference, but we all know it isn't GM's...
                                    -Jessica

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      There really is no excuse to be grubby- it looks like you rushed things....and rushing about is NOT a good way to be prepared to be competitive. If you can not get to the ring with clean horse, tack and self, you need to revaluate your prep work for a show. Yes, there are muddy days and dusty days, but you need to plan and learn techniques of getting to the ring that are as important as riding. At events, people run the gamut from very nice turn out in all phases to looking like complete crap. It takes 30 seconds to tuck a shirt in and use a hairnet. 30 seconds to wipe your boots before you get on. A minute to wipe a muddy girth. Maybe 2 minutes to dust your horse off with a towel. A minute to use a damp brush to tame a mane. If you really can't manage all of this, find a friend and get some help.

                                      A big hint, and something that GM always promotes is to always be well turned out to ride, then these things become second nature. If you practice putting your hair up for each ride, fully groom for each ride, clean tack after each use, you get more efficient.

                                      One thing I have noticed- people with poor turnout often look rushed and disorganized, whether in schooling or in the ring. I think it does reflect a lack of experience and forethought and not being prepared simply adds extra stress.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Rockfish View Post
                                        Eventer, dressage, rider, hunter maven, all should enter the ring with shining boots and a horse that looks like it has plenty of elbow grease put into it. I think shows respect to the judge, regardless of discipline, to put effort into my appearance. Even if you are running late, atleast reach down with your gloved had and try to wipe some crud off your boots.

                                        It could be that Mr. Morris himself is nitpicking over things, but that's hard to tell with out seeing the picture his commenting on.
                                        Ah but when you have a SPECIFIC...as in right NOW time to be in the ring, I'd rather have muddy boots then a muddy glove. If you were clean in dressage, everything fits well and is safe, then you obviously care After that, depends on the day, the mud, then waters and the clock! I think the point that wynn was trying to make is that G.M (and honestly a lot of non eventers) don't really realize that eventing is a fully timed sport. You have to be in dressage and X:XX time, and that doesn't mean a minute or two later, it means at X:XX time on the nose. Same of x-country and stadium. There isn't "oh hold on, my boot is dirty" or "I need to wait for my trainer", its you get there just before your time, go into the ring right at your time, then do your thing and move on. Its a whole different world. Sure we do our best to look tidy, but sometimes after xcountry especially if its muddy and/or wet, you just don't have the time to do nonessentials, like wiping mud off the boots or cleaning tack.

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