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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28 thoughts on “Bad Jumping Clinic with George Morris

  1. Oh how I needed this. Hysterical.

  2. Amy Vodraska says:

    I just wet myself. This is great!

  3. 48north says:

    I’m a dressage rider, not a jumper, but even I laughed so hard that I snorted coffee through my nose. Where’s my napkin?

  4. Cat says:

    Thanks for the laugh today. After all the sadness from The tornadoes, it was needed. This is a hysterical series. Please keep it up.

  5. Andy J. Tuck says:

    attended clinics with you a “few” years ago, at Marsha Bryant’s in Indiana, loved every minute of them. Thank you.

  6. Dancer's Mom says:

    And folks wonder why, when I started riding again at age 50, that I decided to take Saddleseat lessons?

  7. Erin says:

    Please keep this column up! It really brightens my day!

  8. Diane says:

    Glad to see you haven’t lost your sense of humor.
    Wonderful photos and even better comments. Always trusted your opinions. Miss you guiding todays riders, and judges.

  9. I saw the raven launch some top riders before homer put me up on him…my brahma bull experience prior to riding the raven came in handy!

  10. Ceirin says:

    OMG ROFL and crying. Too funny.

  11. Jamie says:

    That last rider really needs work on her crest release… :)

  12. susan says:

    So, I have heard of jumping out of your tack before…this must be the poster for that position, right?

  13. Lisa says:

    OMG. Too, too funny.

  14. glenn becker says:

    George I certainly hope your age listed was a mispprint. You are 78…no?

  15. Keebler says:

    OMG, this is too hilarious. Keep them coming !

  16. Jenn says:

    Best reading ever :)

  17. Jamie Bertone says:

    OMG!!! Please continue these!!! I think I have read it five times today and shared it with everyone I know and I still crack up laughing and crying so hard every time I even look at it!!! This is one of the funniest columns I have ever seen!!!!

  18. Dianne says:

    Oh My, With the devastating personal tragedies our family has suffered through lately, I was convinced I had forgotten how to laugh. My sides hurt, my belly hurts, my throat hurts, my chest hurts! I never knew so much pain could feel so good. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.. May “George” Live long and Proper and keep these releases from the pain of life the light at the end of the tunnel.

  19. Joy Griffis says:

    Oh, dear Lord. If I stop screaming with laughter I may be able to “get on” with my day! This is beyond hilarious and I am so in love with George, always have been, always will be.

  20. JR says:

    LOL!! I don’t know whats more funny… the comments or the fact people actually think GM wrote the critiques 😉

  21. Susan says:

    Incredible wit! Gave a much appreciated ROFLOL…

  22. Robin says:

    Love it! It does sound like George. Keep it up!

  23. Jenny says:


  24. Felicia says:

    George’s actual columns made me laugh out loud and this send-up is terrific…the man is wonderful and I so hope he appreciates this. I agree with his insistence on form and on putting the horse first and whoa/woe
    to those who don’t! Keep it up; its hysterical!

  25. Bigmare says:

    Thank you for the side-splitting laughter!!!

  26. Cassandra says:

    Omg crying amazing

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