Hi folks – wow. Now I know what kind of post to write when I’m feeling lonely and want to hear from people. Not only did I get more comments to the ‘Shame’ blog than any other since bringing Straight Up to Horse Sport, but I also got some emails from people who agreed with me and wanted to know where the video is. Unfortunately, in order to see the video you have to join an internet video service and give them your first born. Or at least some money. It’s another kind of shame to think that the company with the video is going to profit from the abusive behaviour of a 24 year old show jumper, but for those of you who (like I) need to come to your own eyewitness conclusions before passing judgement, you will find the video at www.shownet.biz. You will have to register, which is free, then buy at least $8 credit to see a streaming version of the video. To get to the video select WEF VII, February 27th 2010, Internationale Arena. It’s the $75k CSI2* class at the bottom. Click on results, then find Michael Morrissey at 35th place and click on the movie reel. It shows just fine on the streaming video, though once you exit I don’t think you can go back in and look again without paying. If anyone succeeds in getting that video onto youtube, please leave a comment to that effect at the bottom of this post.
More shameful tidbits. Here is what one reader emailed to me the other day after a bit of digging about Young Mr. Morrissey’s connections:
Gene Mische is his uncle and owns a bunch of his horses, Michael Morrissey Sr. who is now pres of Stadium Jumping is his dad, still checking if MM Sr was on the OC for this particular show, he is listed as event director for one a couple weeks prior. Jr. trains with McLain Ward.” So not exactly a nobody with no political clout.
That same individual who shared Michael’s genealogy with me is one of two astute (and more careful than I) individuals who found the excessive whip rule – in the saddlery section of the FEI jumping rules – more evidence that I just don’t think like a European or an FEI rule writer, since that is not the first, second or even twelfth place I would have gone looking for it. And no, dear commenter from the other day, I do not cross my sevens with a slash. Except when I am mailing an envelope to Europe, that is.
Here is the rule:
2.2.1 Excessive use of the whip
• The whip cannot be used to vent a rider’s temper. Such use is always excessive;
• The whip is not to be used after elimination or after a horse has jumped the last fence on a course;
• The whip is never to be used overhand, (for example a whip in the right hand being used on the left flank. The use of a whip on a horse’s head is always excessive use;
• A horse should never be hit more than three times for any one incident. If a horse’s skin is broken, it is considered excessive use of the whip.
• An Athlete identified as misusing or excessively using the whip will be disqualified and may be fined at the discretion of the Ground Jury
I don’t know which of the FEI’s crimes is worse – their policy of looking the other way when certain people break rules, or their persistence in using ‘loop hole’ expressions like ‘should’ instead of something unequivocal like ‘must’.