‘Tis the season of the George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Session. Five days of the Equestrian God himself teaching a clinic to hand-picked, outstanding riders on their gorgeous horses. It almost makes you wish you were one of them…that is, until he starts breaking out his infamously sharp tongue. It is no secret that good ‘ol George isn’t shy about telling his riders exactly how he feels.
Thanks to the USEF Network‘s live stream and on demand coverage of the clinic, you too can feel like you are right there in Wellington watching George chew up the twelve lucky riders and spit them back out as effective, disciplined equestrians.
Day four was the dreaded no stirrup lesson à la George. Riders entered the ring with their stirrup irons removed from their saddles and ready to go. Each session lasted about an hour and included lateral schooling, adjusting the horses stride, and George riding one horse from the group.
8:00AM Mounted No Stirrup Flat Work Session – Group 1:
“Connecting the horse back to front. That is called ‘on the bit’.”
“You push the horse to the hands that resist a little. The horse yields, flexes a little bit, and drops his head.”
“This is physically very difficult. Posting is very physically difficult so you don’t have to ask students to post too long.”
“Spencer the horse is too dead. Leg!”
“That’s why this sport is easy. Because the rules don’t change.”
“Active but slow.”
“You should have enough flexion that you see the back of his right eye.” (Performing shoulder-in while tracking right).
“Perfect Wilton! I cant tell if it is Edward Gall or Steffen Peters…You sort of remind me of Steffen Peters in that flying change!”
“Active paces. That’s is the first criteria of this walk. The second criteria is the horse stretching.” (free walk)
“Don’t send me to war without a gun.” (referring to the crop)
“Don’t be afraid to take contact.”
If the horse shakes that head, keep that contact and very tactfully push him.”
10:00AM Mounted Flat Work and Grid Work Session – Group 2:
“Working without stirrups is a totally seat based position.”
“You have to supplement riding instruction with lectures.”
“Don’t get discouraged. If you’re discouraged, read books, work harder.”
“Impulsion is the horses desire to go forward.”
“If I want the horse a little rounder, I don’t do it with my hands. I ask with my inside leg.”
“The whole world teaches the leg yield wrong.”
“This country always was allergic to contact.”
“You get up off that fence! Don’t, when I sit on a horse here, lean on that fence! You learn manners, respect, and manners!”
“That’s how you work a horse. Play, not drill.”
“This country in hunter jumper, they don’t like to hear ‘dressage’.”
“In teaching there is one chief…that is also a problem in this country. There are lots of chiefs and very few indians.”