Lexington, KY - The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) provided 12 of the best up-and-coming jumping riders in the U.S. a chance to ride with the biggest legend in the game as the George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Session took center stage at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center from January 4-8, 2011 in Wellington, FL.
This Training Session isn't just about riding, it is about every aspect of being a complete horseperson. From stable management to course design, no topic was left unexplored.
Morris, the U.S. Jumping Chef d'Equipe demands diligence, determination and execution. The 12 riders under his tutelage for five days exhibited all of these traits. The session began with flatwork, and Morris emphasized how jumping riders, generally speaking, don't do enough dressage in their schooling. He rode a number of the horses throughout the week and stressed the importance of good flatwork basics to make the jumping better. Thursday's mounted session included more flatwork and gymnastic exercises (including schooling the always influential water jump), Friday brought flatwork without stirrups and Saturday the riders put all the pieces together and rode over a course.
Participants were: Taylor Ann Adams, Hayley Barnhill, Victoria Birdsall, Chase Boggio, Molly Braswell, Anna Hallene, Kate Haley, Brittany Hurst, Lillie Keenan, Karen Polle, Kelsey Thatcher and Ali Wolff.
"Having ridden with George many years back, this was a great refresher of the basic principles of correct riding," said Wolff. "And like always, I learned new things that I hope incorporate back into my program. I just feel lucky to have gotten the opportunity to train with him again."
The unmounted components included a veterinary tutorial with Dr. Tim Ober, the U.S. Team veterinarian, sports psychology with Jane Savoie, further insight on flatwork for jumpers with Olympian Anne Kursinski and a nutrition session with Dr. Mary Beth Gordon. A panel discussion with some of the Senior Team riders (McLain Ward, Laura Kraut and Beezie Madden) provided insight on how to make a career in show jumping, a horse welfare symposium with ASPCA ambassadors Georgina Bloomberg and Brianne Goutal and a course design clinic with world-class designer Anthony D'Ambrosio all explored aspects of the equestrian world outside the competition arena.
The mounted sessions and lectures are all available on www.usefnetwork.com along with photos from the five days. Relive and relearn with the master of horsemanship.
Photo Credit: George Morris Walks the Course with Training Session Participants. Photo from USEF Archives