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George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Session Participants Reflect on a Great Week

Jane Clark, George Morris, Frank Chapot and Participants Reflect on a Great Week

Wellington, FL – January 23, 2007 – The George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Sessions took place at the Palm Beach Polo and Equestrian Club in Wellington, FL, on January 15 – 20, 2007. Eight talented participants were chosen based on their high ranking on the 2006 Bates Equitation List. The curriculum for the five-day training sessions consisted of work on and off of their horses, including barn management, nutrition, grooming, conformation, veterinary science, course design and riding.

The eight participants in the training session were Maria Schaub, Alex Maida, Sloane Coles, Maggie McAlary, Zazou Hoffman, Nick Haness, Julie Welles and Hardin Towell. The professional mentors included Margie Engle, Laura Kraut, McLain Ward, Todd Minikus, John and Beezie Madden, Lauren Hough, Frank Madden and Viv Munden and barn managers Laurie Pitts and Karen Golding. Guest lecturers included USET team veterinarian, Dr. Tim Ober, Dr. Dan Marks, course designer Steve Stephens and Technical Equine Nutritionist, Katie Young, Ph.D.

Mentor grooms worked with the riders on feeding, mucking, watering and grooming their horses on day one of the Horsemastership sessions, followed by Morris giving a lesson in longeing. Dr. Dan Marks ended the day with an informative slide show about conformation.

Day two consisted of mounted flat work and gymnastics with Morris and

a demonstration of course design by Steve Stephens. Dr. Tim Ober discussed evaluating horses for condition and soundness on day three, after Morris worked with the students on more flat work and gymnastics.

It was a physically exhausting day four, as students had a no-stirrups lesson with Morris, then set the course of fences for jumping. On the final day of the Horsemastership clinic, the USET Foundation sponsored a luncheon where the pool of talented participants and mentors met to reflect on the informative week.

Morris spoke in front of a group of parents, sponsors and participants. “This was an exemplary group of young people. You do not get a better group then this one,” he explained. “They are seasoned athletes. They are good riders with a good background. What I like the best about them is that they were soft brained. Like a good horse, they were receptive to information. Their attitudes were great. I never had the feeling that something was too simple, and they did not want to learn it. That, of course, is what this is all about; a review of fundamentals in horsemanship,” he said.

“I would like to see this format in different parts of the country with other clinicians,” Morris continued. “We have to incorporate the stable management, veterinary science and conformation if this is to be what we used to call Horsemastership.”

“I want to thank the USET Foundation. It is an organization that is very dear to my heart,” Morris said. “I want you all to recognize the importance of the USET Foundation. It is different from the Federation. They are both very important in my life with the high performance athletes. The USET Foundation pays for it! I have said many times, it is vital that you support the USET Foundation that supports you in your careers. Get your family and friends to be involved. We have a great tradition of success in this country, and we need to keep the ball rolling. That is the way that we stay competitive at the championship level and while competing abroad,” he ended.

Jane Forbes Clark, President of the USET Foundation,, explained a little about the history of the United States Equestrian Team. She thanked the many sponsors of the week including Bates Australia, Stadium Jumping Inc., USHJA, USEF, Primedia, Purina and Practical Horseman. “George Morris has exemplified excellence his entire career,” Clark remarked. “Those of you who were chosen to participate were chosen because of your excellence as developing riders. We hope that you build on the knowledge that you gathered this week and build on the legacy of the USET and its spectacular winning record,” she concluded. Clark gave each rider a USET Foundation saddle pad with their names monogrammed on it.

Former USET chef d’equipe and Olympic rider Frank Chapot spoke next, “You do not know how lucky you are to have this week with George,” he said. “I had this position before him, and I know what it is like. Now George has taken it over with a vengeance. With everything that is going on today, it is a 24 hour a day job. He has done a better job than anyone has ever done it before, and we hope he continues to do so in the future.”

In a surprise ending to the luncheon, Maggie McAlary and the entire group of clinic participants approached the microphone to give thanks to everyone who helped them this past week. “On behalf of all of the riders, I want to thank everyone who has been a part of this week. It has truly been amazing experience for us,” she said. The riders handed out framed photographs and chocolates to the team of people who helped them. The photos were signed, “Thank you for being involved in this extraordinary event. We hope someday to make you proud!”

Photo Credit: Jane Forbes Clark recognizes Julie Welles, Zazou Hoffman, Sloane Coles, Nick Haness, Alex Maida, Maggie McAlary, Maria Schaub and Hardin Towell. Photo © 2007 Jennifer Kappler/PMG Pictures .


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