Who are the new standard-bearers?

GM dominated the scene for so long. Who is/are the new GM(s) Do they stray from his methods? For instance, is automatic release making a comeback, or will it be crest forever?

When I rode way back when, I must admit I questioned why we had a godfather invested w all that power. In my two show barns, if you didn’t understand the approach, the answer was, “Well, George teaches this and…” I wasn’t criticizing the man, but I was skeptical of why so many saw GM’s way as the ONLY way.

A lot of coaches and trainers became very accomplished because of GM, for sure. What’s next? Who’s next? Does the sport annoint another single guiding light, or split into camps?

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Sports will always evolve. I think GM came along at a moment some techniques were filtering through, and crest release made it easier for beginner riders to start jumping.


Who is GH ?
GM I know.

Sorry! GM

And to reiterate, I’m not bashing GM. Just: One person had so much sway in this sport. So with GM sidelined, does another single person emerge with that kind of broad and long-term influence again, or does the sport have room for, say, two or three or even more new personalities with their own styles, or at least variations of the standard?

I don’t think so. We have so much more access and information available. GM hit the scene and made himself a name in a time that was ripe for someone like him. The US didn’t really have a system or style, at least not one that was identifiable and accessible to the general population. He helped us to find our “system”, for better or worse. I think we have moved beyond the time when one person would hold so much power and sway. We have so many wonderful professionals out there who can speak to the many and varied aspects of horses. I just don’t see one person monopolizing the spotlight like that again.


Personally, I think if it’s anyone, it’s Missy. She just needs to write a book.


@Pokerface, excellent point. The Europeans had their military horse traditions that shaped so much. The US was ripe for someone homegrown.

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I would love it if Missy wrote a book.

I think it’s too recent for anything to have changed yet.

GM would still be publicly teaching and writing if it weren’t for his transgressions. Anyone competing is a student of his methods, be it directly or indirectly.

Now in 10 years, we will probably see more of an evolution.


I think this is true of lots of sports–there’s no longer going to be a single guru everyone looks up to. With the Internet, there are so many sources of information, websites, and it’s not a single book that’s going to dominate how people approach riding. People can even be exposed to disciplines outside of their own and learn from them.

Maybe in terms of the actual industry on a personal level, things are getting more consolidated, but I don’t think there is ever going to be a single branded person who is “the one.”

A lot of the reason GM got such press was he marketed his hard-ass persona really well, and people were terrified about getting flayed for showing up with a sheepskin girth or having thumbtacks put on their saddles. That just wouldn’t fly today. I don’t ride h/j but many of my friends who do who are excellent riders and fairly deep in the industry also said that they could get just as much riding technique-wise with Joe Fargis or Anne Kursinski (also notable clinicians) without all the attitude. It was just saying you survived a GM clinic that spoke to your emotional fortitude to survive or avoid abuse.


Americans largely developed and were amongst the the first to take up the forward jumping seat and certainly made it a thing of beauty - possibly until GM and the all too popular crest release. Vladimir Littauer and two fellow Russian émigrés founded the Boots and Saddles riding School in NY and in the 1930s they began to combine the dressage learnt in the cavalry schools of Europe with the radical ideas of the Italian officer Frederico Caprilli which emphasized forward riding. It resulted in a style both practical and accessible. It is worth reading some Littauer as what he wrote in the 1930s and 40s still makes total sense today. There are books still available online as reprints.

By the 1950s horse shows were booming as civilians took over from the military. The USET coach was de Nemethy with people like Bill Steinkraus, Frank Chapot and indeed George Morris under his eye. The American teams were notable stylists and won a lot of international medals.


I think the US military along with other cavalrymen around the world were the preeminent horsemen in the 1930s and 40s. This General seems to have certainly developed and influenced American riding. Most of the advances in riding and horsemanship at that time and preceding were militarily based–it is only once horses were no longer used in warfare/armed forces that civilian riding and competition became popular. That is the era of GM. But the original masters were the military men.


Back when I started taking riding lessons GM meant a make of car, not some “godfather.”
I never even heard of him until I started reading COTH posts, sometime this millennium. Even now, all these years later, I know just the name. I don’t know quite who GM is or what he does/did; I certainly don’t know what hold, or influence, or power, he seems to have over the hunter-jumper riders of recent decades.

I had some good instructors back when I started riding forward seat (as it was called then): both real-life on-the-ground instructors and instructors who had ridden books on horsemanship and riding, Two of my favorites were Margaret Cabell Self and Jane Marshall Dillon.

I never did take GM seriously, as most of what I have heard about him has to do with “hunters” who never saw hounds in their lives, let alone followed them across country jumping the sort of fences I used to see on outside courses at real hunter shows.


GM and other top trainers have always taught the use of both.

I agree with the poster who said we’re likely past the time of one person monopolizing.


It will be whoever is best at social media.

I’m only half joking! But social media and the internet have had a huge impact on this. Because when you take a step back and look at the sport as a whole, recognizing that the majority of the sport are not in the insular circle of people with the money and access to a Missy or Andre or McLain, and you realize that in ten years the TikTok generation will be in theirs 30s, it makes sense. And it is already happening. There are a few ammy tiktokers who are popular enough that if other people post videos on a topic, people will tag the same 2 or 3 accounts as a reliable source to come fact check them. There is probably a big group of equestrians who know the names of their favorite rider tiktokers but not the names of people this forum would consider to be BNT or BNRs.

The way information is dispersed, and its ease of access, is just so vastly different now, that I don’t see any one person ever being seen again as such the be-all end-all the way GM was.


I think too he came along when the discipline was emerging and solidifying itself so he had an impact on its direction and development.


What George Morris did was capitalize on horse sport as an emerging WASP-y pursuit of the post war era, and he gave it an aesthetic. I won’t dismiss his contributions to the sports aspect, but we could’ve had a very different idea of what “equitation” means had someone else captured the moment on the same level. Balanchine had the exact same effect on ballet. Individuality and expression stamped out. Who knows what kind of ideal body/silhouette would be the standard if someone had championed another set of practices and values.


I think the “one person at the top of the pyramid” system was exemplified by Bert DeNemethy being in charge at the USET, and (single-handedly?) deciding who was going to ride on the teams, for years and years and years.

So of course his disciples were positioned to move to the top of the pyramid when he was slowing up and getting ready to step down.

The sport has moved so far away from that approach by now that I don’t think we will see another person in that role, mostly because we don’t really have that same pyramid shape anymore.

Now it’s maybe more of a trapezoid. Wider at the base, narrower towards the top, but not one person above the rest. There are multiple top people in the different disciplines, including some who cross over between rings.

Side note. How many people who show in the DeNemethy ring in Wellington these days know that it is named for an actual person? Probably not many. Ditto for the Mogavero ring there. And the Rost as well.


Just out of curiosity, what kind of release is most commonly seen/taught/rewarded in the upper level hunter ring now?

I ask because I literally have no idea. Grew up riding hunters on a local level a million years ago but completely lost touch a long time ago. I happened to be trained to use an auto release. Crest release was introduced to me as a tool. I was aware at the time that the crest release was the upper level trend and I also saw it being taught and used almost exclusively before I lost complete touch with that world.

Just curious! TYI

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