Bad Jumping Clinic with George Morris

After the first installation of “Bad Jumping Clinic” last week, our inbox has been flooded with photos of readers committing all manner of equitation sin.

Let’s hear what “George” has to say about this week’s batch of riders!

From George:

Rider #1

Session A 2010 087

This week we’re going to focus on one of the most common equitation errors I see in the show ring today: too much air between the rider’s seat and the saddle.

It has become fashionable for hunt seat riders to hoist their rear ends as far up as possible over the tops of fences, as if to check the direction of the wind with their butts. This is in direct contrast to the classical jumping position, in which the seat remains close to the saddle for optimal balance and harmony with the horse’s jumping effort.

Equitation is not a rap video. I am 98 years old; I have already seen all the butts in my life that I wish to see. Our first photo, although not taken directly over a jump, is an excellent example of this position flaw taken to the extreme–there is at least three feet between this rider’s rear end and the saddle, maybe more. My cataracts are acting up.

This pair’s turnout is neat and conservative for a schooling situation, so at least they have one thing going for them.


Rider #2


In our next photo we see yet another variation on today’s theme. This time, however, the rider’s butt is thankfully pointed at her horse’s face rather than my own.

On the bright side, if you rotate this photo 90 degrees to the right and reexamine it, her jumping position shows potential. I can’t tell whether her heels are down, but her back is flat and she appears to be folding nicely from the waist.

What confounds me the most about this photo is the fact that all this carnage appears to be occurring at a jump that is approximately six inches tall.

This horse and rider have much bigger problems on their hands than turnout, so I’ll abstain from commenting on that front.

I don’t know why I agreed to start writing this column.


Rider #3


What’s that noise? Oh, it’s just Bert de Némethy rolling over in his grave.

Truthfully, though, I would rank this rider’s position above the first two, because at least (1) the rider has their butt turned away from the camera, which makes me feel less personally offended, and (2) the rider is not straddling her horse’s face while simultaneously kicking it in the throat.

In stark contrast to the rider’s seat and the saddle, in this case there is not enough air between the horse’s feet and the jump. This might be improved with the use of an electric wire run across the top rail. (Just kidding, I’m against the use of gimmicks and quick fixes. But if I wasn’t…)

One time, someone showed up to one of my clinics in pink half chaps, a pink helmet and a purple saddle pad. That rider has never been seen or heard from since.

Until next week, Horse Nation. Unless I kick the can before then and don’t have to write this column anymore. One can always hope.


Do you have a bad jumping photo you’d like to submit for critique? Email it to

*Not actually written by George Morris, obvs. With inspiration from Practical Horseman’s “Jumping Clinic with George Morris” and Bad Riding Livejournal



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