Bad Jumping Clinic with George Morris

After taking a brief hiatus to slaughter some kittens, Uncle George is back this week to discuss one of his biggest pet peeves of all: the crest release.

Regular readers of this column may recall that George’s last critique concluded with a special “Equitation Tip of the Week!” It was as follows:


Pretty clear-cut, right? Well, George doesn’t think you took his message to heart. We’ll let him take that up with you himself.

From “George”:

Photo #1


Let me tell you, dear rider, a story about a kitten. It was a cute kitten, with fur as soft as cotton balls and innocent eyes that seemed to peer straight into your soul. Here’s a visual:


Adorable, I know. Well, do you know what happened to that precious little kitten?

Your lousy crest release is what happened to that kitten, who is now taking a “very long nap” with some other sleepy kitties in a hole in my backyard.

When using the crest release, the knuckles should be nestled lightly into the horse’s neck to provide a bit of support while giving the horse the freedom to use its head and neck. In contrast, your hands are hovering at least two feet above your horse’s mane–which is unbraided, I might add.

Good luck sleeping tonight, kitten-killer.

Photo #2


Now this, THIS is what I’m talking about. Look at those hands, pressing gently into the horse’s neck while the elbows and shoulders remain elastic. I appreciate the lovely straight line from the rider’s forearm through the rein to the bit.

Unfortunately, everything else about this photo makes me want to squeeze the life out of something furry.

I was going to save this part for later, but you leave me no choice: Every time your leg slips back over a jump, George Morris kills a…


Awww, look how scared that little bunny is.

My point is this: What is wrong with you people? I’ve spent my whole life publishing books that nobody reads, screaming insults at riders who don’t listen. Why won’t you just ride the way I’ve been telling you to for years? How many more tiny baby animals must die?!?

Photo #3


Maybe it’s the bottle of Valium I ingested after seeing Photo #2, or the bottle of Scotch I chased it with, but this rider’s position isn’t half bad.

Her left hand is demonstrating a semi-correct crest release, and her right hand is demonstrating a semi-correct automatic release–everybody knows I love a good automatic release, so brownie points there. As for the fact that her releases don’t match, hey! Six of one, half a dozen of the other–I don’t really care anymore.

As a result, I am happy to announce that no small animals were harmed in the making of this photo, only one large one and its rider. With those dangling knees, it’s likely that a rotational fall happened approximately 0.2 seconds after this picture was snapped. Bad day to be wearing a hunt cap, kid.

What a shame. Well, have a great day Horse Nation, and see you again next week!


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

All photos used with permission. Not actually written by George Morris. Seriously, he didn’t write it. With inspiration from Practical Horseman’s “Jumping Clinic with George Morris” and Bad Riding Livejournal.



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