George Morris Training Session January 15-20

The George Morris Horsemastership Training Session in Wellington, Fla., January 15-20, 2007, will offer a select group of young riders the chance to train with top U.S. professionals.
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The George Morris Horsemastership Training Session in Wellington, Fla., January 15-20, 2007, will offer a select group of young riders the chance to train with top U.S. professionals.

January 9, 2007 -- The George Morris Horsemastership Training Session, a unique clinic featuring eight top equitation riders and several Olympic riders as mentor grooms, will be held at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club, Wellington, Fla., January 15-20.

Presented by Bates Saddles and Stadium Jumping and supported by the U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF), this innovative weeklong clinic offers a select group of the country's top young riders invaluable instruction by Morris, legendary hunter/jumper trainer and coach of the U.S. show jumping team, as well as hands-on tutelage by some of the U.S.'s top riders as "mentor grooms."

The Training Session will feature instruction each day by Morris, and will cover all aspects of horsemastership, an important step in becoming an international team rider. Other experts participating include Dr. Danny Marks, who will provide instruction on conformation, Dr. Tim Ober, who will discuss veterinary care, and Steve Stephens, who will present principles in basic course design.

Mentor grooms for the session include Beezie Madden, silver medalist in the 2006 World Equestrian Games; Frank Madden; Margie Engle; Lauren Hough; Laura Kraut; McLain Ward; Todd Minikus; and Viv Munden. Laurie Pitts, who has managed stables for many top owners and riders including Rodney Jenkins, Joe Fargis and Conrad Homfeld, will serve as barn manager and provide instruction to riders on topics including grooming, bandaging and tack. (Click here for mentors' biographies.)

The eight riders selected to participate are:

(Bates Equitation Computer Ranking as of November 3, 2006)

Sloane Coles: No. 1 on the Bates Equitation Ranking, winner of the Monarch International Equitation Championship and Best Equitation Rider at Capitol Challenge

Nick Haness: Winner of the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals West and top West Coast rider on the Bates Equitation Ranking

Zazou Hoffman: No. 2 West Coast rider on the Bates Equitation Ranking

Alex Maida: No. 3 West Coast rider on the Bates Equitation Ranking

Maggie McAlary: No. 2 on the Bates Equitation Ranking, winner of the USEF/Pessoa Hunter Seat Equitation Championship at Pennsylvania National Horse Show and the ASPCA Maclay at Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament

Maria Schaub: No. 3 on the Bates Equitation Ranking

Jack Hardin Towell Jr.: No. 5 on the Bates Equitation Ranking, winner of the 2006 Washington International Horse Show Equitation Classic Final

Julie Welles: Winner of 2005 USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals East and the 2005 Washington International Horse Show Equitation Classic Final (selection based on performance).

Perhaps the most unique aspect of the session is that riders, who will bring one horse each, must care for their mounts themselves, guided by their mentor grooms.

"I believe a lot of young people in the business will be surprised at what a wealth of knowledge the top international riders serving as mentor grooms will share with them," says John Madden, one of the clinic's organizers. "To be competitive at the highest levels is not limited to riding. This clinic will be a very interesting way of demonstrating that."

"I am so excited," says rider Maria Schaub, who will be sharing her experience at the training session via her EquiSearch.com blog. "There has never been a time when I've had the benefit of so many top grand prix riders in one place to help me and offer suggestions and advice. I can't wait!"

Several sessions of the George Morris Horsemastership Training Session are open to auditors at no charge, although a donation to the USET Foundation, earmarked "Show Jumping High Performance," is appreciated. While the event is on schedule at this date, organizers reserve the right to reschedule pending announcement of any new cases of Equine Herpesvirus (EHV) in the area in order to protect the safety of the horses involved.

The benefits of this unique clinic will be available to those who are interested but unable to audit sessions in person. Media partner Practical Horseman will be providing coverage of the session on PracticalHorsemanMag.com, as well as basing some future articles in the magazine on the individual sessions offered.

Schedule of Events

(The following events are open to auditors.)

Tuesday, January 16

  • 9 a.m. George Morris longeing demonstration (Main Hunter Ring)
  • 10 a.m. Mounted session with George Morris--flat work, Group I (Main Hunter Ring)
  • 11 a.m. Mounted session with George Morris--flat work, Group II (Main Hunter Ring)
  • 2 p.m. Conformation clinic--Dr. Danny Marks (Blue Ribbon Club)

Wednesday, January 17

  • 9 a.m. Mounted session with George Morris--flat work and gymnastics, Group II (Main Hunter Ring)
  • 10 a.m. Mounted session with George Morris--flat work and gymnastics, Group I (Main Hunter Ring)
  • 1:30 p.m. Basic course design principles--Steve Stephens (Main Hunter Ring)

Thursday, January 18

  • 9 a.m. Mounted session with George Morris--flat work and gymnastics, Group I (Main Hunter Ring)
  • 10 a.m. Mounted session with George Morris--flat work and gymnastics, Group II (Main Hunter Ring)
  • 2 p.m. Veterinary session--Dr. Tim Ober (Main Hunter Ring)

Friday, January 19

  • 9 a.m. Mounted session with George Morris--flat work, no stirrups, Group II (Main Hunter Ring)
  • 10 a.m. Mounted session with George Morris--flat work, no stirrups, Group I (Main Hunter Ring)
  • 1:30 p.m. Build course for final day 6 (Main Hunter Ring)

Saturday, January 20

  • 9 a.m. Mounted session with George Morris--jumping (course), Group I (Main Hunter Ring)
  • 10 a.m. Mounted session with George Morris--jumping (course), Group II (Main Hunter Ring)

Schedule of events and locations subject to change without notice. For the latest information, go to PracticalHorsemanMag.com.