Bad Jumping Clinic with George Morris

Uncle George is cranky, he’s misplaced his reading glasses, and he’s dialing it in big-time. See how this week’s batch of riders stack up.

From George:


Horse-Fail-Photos Facebook page

This attractive pair shows potential but needs polish to advance in their training.

The rider is demonstrating the proper 90-degree knee angle and is doing a good job of bending from the waist to stay with her horse. A more correct leg position, however, would show the stirrup leather perpendicular (as opposed to parallel) to the ground.

Her hand position is typical of young riders these days–hovering above the neck rather than pressing into the neck for a crest release. Of course, I prefer the automatic release, with a straight line between the elbow and the bit, but I’ve been telling you people that for years and you’re still all doing it wrong so I’ll save my breath.

This horse has a very dramatic style and seems capable of jumping a much larger fence. His expression, however, is one of anger. Not that I blame him.

Their turnout is clean and workmanlike for a schooling situation, although everyone knows that colored saddle pads and ear bonnets make me want to stab my eyes out with a pen.



The number one equitation flaw I see in the show ring today is young people laying on their horses’ necks. Not only is it unattractive, it also makes the horse’s job more difficult, as this photo illustrates. This rider needs let go of her horse’s ears and put weight in the heels for a more stable base of support.

Ordinarily I’d recommend working without stirrups, but this rider appears to already have that skill down.

I like how this horse is really going to the base of the fence. It’s a refreshing change from all the hunters I see loping around and leaving long, which produces a flat, unattractive jump. He has a fairly pleasant look on his face, considering the fact that his rider is on the verge of strangling him to death.

I’m just going to pretend that this rider is wearing a conservatively colored polo shirt, and that the horse’s saddle pad is clean, white and properly fitted. Clearly, I am pretending a lot of things about this photo.


From reader Marjean McIntyre

Our third and hopefully final rider, on the other hand, is doing an excellent job of not succumbing to the trend of  jumping ahead of his horse–although he could stand to close his hip angle more to stay with his horse. His lower leg seems secure and his eyes are up, looking toward the next fence.

I’m going to decline comment on his release because I haven’t taken my blood pressure pills yet today.

The horse is demonstrating a fine bascule but is hanging his knees, which could become dangerous over a larger fence. Lots of work through gymnastic grids will improve his form. Maybe.

Why can’t anyone ever polish their horses’ hooves? Nobody listens to me. Nobody cares.

Do you have a bad jumping photo you’d like to submit for critique? Email it to [email protected].

*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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