Thursday, November 16, 2017

What would George Morris say? Dream Big Blog Hop

Jan from Dream Big had a fun and clever blog hop idea to imagine a critique a la Practical Horseman's column Jumping Clinic with George Morrisusing one of our own pictures.

George Morris is one of the most legendary and well-known trainers in the English-riding world. He's been a popular columnist for Practical Horseman magazine for decades, offering his critiques of riders and their horses from jumping photos they've submitted.

So, I went ahead and submitted the following professional photograph from our final event of the season at Fair Hill in September. Let's see what good ol' George had to say about it, shall we??

behold: our majesty. i swear, the longer you look at it, the funnier it gets. we r so gud at eventing
Fair Hill BN Cross Country, September 2017
George Morris critiques an eventer:

In riding, at first everything is hard, then it becomes easier, then habitual, and only now does it have a chance to become beautiful. With this pair we see an example of riding during the "hard" phase. It's easy to tell they are eventers, and not just by turn out. This is not a compliment.

The horse is turned out well enough. His coat is glossy and he appears in good health and muscling for his level, tho perhaps a little ribby. As is not uncommon in thoroughbred event horses. As for his eye and expression, it is that of a martyr. More on that later.

His legs are protected and he's wearing a contoured saddle pad in keeping with current trends. The fuzzy girth lacks style, and the black half pad on a navy saddle pad would normally be distracting or even jarring. Normally. These are not normal circumstances, however.

Likewise, I'm not fond of all these "blingy" browbands and find them too distracting, tho I understand the motive in this case.

The horse's tack appears to fit. The leverage bit is appropriately fitted with a curb strap and separate reins for curb and snaffle. Among the various other straps are flash and neck straps. At some point the rider must stop layering straps onto the horse and consider actually schooling him. There are bigger fish to fry tho, and clearly this horse is made of solid gold.

close up detail: rider and horse expressions
I can't assess the horse's jumping style and technique from a photo of him landing, as it's impossible to judge his back or bascule, or how careful he is with his front end and knees. We can infer from his outstretched forelimbs, tightly tucked hind end, and squeezed-shut eyes that he has flung himself across this fence (which I'm told is a BN table with ramped face) with nothing but the grace of sweet baby Jesus to help him get to the other side in one piece. And he was decent enough to bring his wayward rider along with him.

Hold on, horse! She's right behind you!

The rider, for her purposes, also had the decency to execute an emergency "sweet baby Jesus take the wheel!" release method so as not to interfere any more than she already has with this horse's Herculean efforts. Someone should remind the rider to not skip her breakfast next time. You're not supposed to eat the fence.

My advice to riders everywhere: Go with the horse, not against him. It's not rocket science. The most important thing to me is that you're not hindering your horse's back.

Points in the rider's favor include that she appears to be in balance. She's not relying on the reins (having already sacrificed them to the laws of physics), and upon closer inspection isn't relying on the stirrups either.

the rider submitted this helmet cam video encouraging me to tune in at 0:45 to relive the moment. it's impossible to tell from the wide angle lens.... but while the pair did not wait for the distance, that distance most certainly would have waited for me.


The definition of a seat is to be able to stick to the horse no matter what the horse does. While I wouldn't call this rider's seat "good," it at least exists and they appear poised to land well enough to continue riding forward (hopefully utilizing a higher degree of .... literally anything approximating skill upon reaching the next fence).

Likewise, I can presume from the rider's expression (which can only be called a "shit eating grin") that perhaps they've been in this situation before. That maybe they're used to it - or worse - it's become habit.

We must hope that this is instead simply the result of a green mistake either by horse or rider, or both. And that we should not see much more of this in the future. Go with the horse, not against. Accuracy is better than speed. Leg to hand. The rider should practice more trot fences.

Rider's turnout is relatively conservative as far as eventing goes. I'd prefer to see her wearing gloves and carrying a stick (she might feel more brave if she did). Many eventers wear a white or tan breech, tho she has opted for a darker color. Probably to hide the dirt.

Ultimately, should this rider's coach not be at the finish line upon her completion of the course, she ought not go looking for him.

38 comments:

  1. OMG - this is fabulous ��

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    1. Lol gotta take advantage of all this source material we got over here haha

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  2. This is hilarious!!! Thanks for the end of the week laugh :)

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    1. Haha anything for the laughs! You should do one too!!

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    2. Lol I've wanted to do this blog hop for so long but had trouble choosing a picture haha. But. When this beauty finally arrived? I knew it was time :D

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  3. I'm dying. :D :D :D

    You totally nailed GM's tone and the format of the Practical Horseman column. You win the internet!!!

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    1. Lol I may not have done an obscene amount of research in terms of reading zillions of those articles plus googling like crazy for classic GM quotes (which perhaps you noticed are peppered throughout the above Lolol)

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  4. Hahaha what a great hop idea. While I am no GHM fan girl, it certainly shaped me growing up and how I criticize myself!!

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    1. Lol so true! Love him or hate him, he's got quite the way with words and, erm, *constructive* criticism haha

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  5. I just snorted at work. Again. Whoops.

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  6. this made me lol. the last bit about the breeches 'probably to hide the dirt'

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    1. I was torn between "dirt" and "blood stains" lol

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  7. This is too good. Totally made my day!

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  8. 'nothing but the grace of sweet baby Jesus' hahahaha! Oh, heehehee, (snort) :'D I can't even type, ya.

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    1. Sweet baby Jesus is our saving grace more than I'm willing to admit lol ;)

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  9. OMG this is pure gold! I didn't even notice until the close up that Charlie's eyes were closed LOL I think you nailed George Morris' tone perfectly even though I haven't read much of his stuff. I think my fav is "you can tell they are eventers, and not just by turnout. This is not a compliment". OMG this was GREAT! Thanks for the laughs!

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    1. Lol yea I've had knowledge of this picture for a couple weeks now but only just finally got the hi res version and it's even better than I could have ever imagined. Haha. Poor Charlie lol

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  10. how many jesus take the wheel do we all do?? LOL THIS made me crack up. Thank you I needed a giggle!! :) HEE HEE and you totally NAILED his tone!

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    1. Jesus takes my wheel alllllll the time lolol ;)

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  11. "upon closer inspection isn't relying on the stirrups either." LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

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  12. Replies
    1. haha had to have a little fun with ti, right???? ;)

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    1. i've been slowly biding my time to hop onto this bandwagon lol. thanks for doing the hop! ;)

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  14. Ummm this is amazing and so spot on!

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  15. I am making dinner and browsing blogs, and I gotta say, the emergency "sweet baby Jesus take the wheel!" release method made me snort laugh so hard I thought I was going to choke. This is gold. GOLD. :-D

    hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!

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    1. omg no choking tho haha!! that activity is reserved exclusively for when i make charlie jump big tables from no spot at all lol ;P

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  16. OMG- this is hilarious! I love your sense of humour.

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    1. lol i try, i try!!! can't take myself too seriously, right?

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  17. I'm basically in tears!!!! This is TOO GOOD

    <Kelly @ HunkyHanoverian

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