Punching a horse in the head gets a contestant removed from a show in a reality TV first

A contestant was removed from a reality TV competition for punching a horse in the head last night, and while many people have been removed from reality shows for fighting other cast members, this is the first time in reality TV history the recipient of a punch was a horse.

That happened on History’s Full Metal Jousting, a surprisingly fun show that features men in armor thrusting sticks into one another while riding horses. It’s produced by Pilgrim Films & Television, which also produces History’s Top Shot, so it’s well-made and engaging even to those who don’t care about men sticking each other. (Full episodes are online.)

Before practice began, Landon Morris, a 27-year-old whose bio says he “learned to ride horses in private school, picking up several riding disciplines and playing polo,” punched his horse full on in the face. “He stepped on my foot,” Landon explained, and his coach, Rod Walker, said, “And you punched him in the head?” “Had to get him off quickly.” Rod said, “I see you punch a horse in the head again–no, seriously! Don’t fucking punch a horse in the head. What is wrong with you?’

Rod later called it “amazingly arrogant” and “one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen,” and although he didn’t say “and you did it in front of cameras, you stupid moron,” that seemed to be implied. Landon was later confronted by Shane Adams, who’s the host and person who explains jousting to those of us who only know it from Medieval Times.

He explained that there was a “zero-tolerance policy when it comes to people not just mistreating my horses, but any horse,” and said, “They’re here to be your teammate, not to be mistreated. I can’t believe that you did what you did, and your actions have shown me you’re not a professional by any means. You have a lot of growing up to do in life and especially with horses.”

Then Landon proved he was mature and said, “I’m not upset that I did that. I did it for the right reason.” And then when Shane questioned his professionalism, Landon looked like he was considering punching him in the head, too.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.