I have to applaud George Morris for hanging in there, and attempting to uphold the best standards of equitation and horsemanship.
But just like that little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead, when George is good, he is very good and when he is bad, he is horrid.
I have to confess that I don’t know why I read his Jumping Clinic every month in Practical Horseman, since he says the same things over and over again. Perhaps it’s to experience the satisfaction of seeing him atone for the crest release he promoted for intermediate riders for so many years. Now, it seems that every month, he suggests the automatic release for the rider with a strong, stable leg. For more on the automatic vs. crest release, see this post.
If you live long enough, and you were good enough at what you do, and you also remain in the public eye, you get to be a legend. George qualifies. So people, in general, turn a blind eye or give him a free pass when he calls the riders in front of him “dumbbells.”
Well, I’m calling George a dumbbell now. Or maybe I should call him a “dummy.” Just like the “dummy spur” he recommends to Rider #1 in this month’s PH Jumping Clinic. Dummy spur? That’s a new one for me, but then I don’t travel in the same circles as George. When did this pathetic phrase and its related concept come into use? And why on earth did anyone let it — especially George?
If you don’t have this month’s PH, George begins his critique of Rider #1 by complimenting her leg and says that it would be “enhanced with the use of a dummy spur to dress it up and announce that she is an advanced rider.”
So, basically, we’re talking about a McSpur. Like the 20′ deep McMansions with the impressive 100′ facades. I understand that a rider might want to use a McSpur, in this day and age of shortcuts, gadgets, and horses that “can do three feet,” but I’m appalled that George would promote wearing a spur for decoration and to enlighten the clueless observer.
A spur is not a fashion accessory to dress up your outfit. It is a tool to refine the horse’s response to your leg aid (not a tool to increase activity, as some employ it). It’s also not an advertising gimmick to tell the world that you are an “advanced rider.”
Anyone who thinks otherwise, is a dumbbell. Or I think that’s what George would say if it were anyone else but him.