For over 25 years, the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center (BTRC) has hosted the popular and insightful George H. Morris Educational Seminar. This past weekend, world-renowned trainer, rider and Chef d’Equipe of the United States Show Jumping Team, George H. Morris, returned to the BTRC to continue the tradition.
Morris has provided an invaluable wealth of knowledge to students and auditors attending his clinics for years, working to further each rider’s skills both in the aspects of horsemanship and riding. The Educational Seminar not only acted as a learning experience for riders, but it also raised funds to continue the progressive work of the BTRC.
“I am very happy to be helping the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center,” Morris remarked. “I am not involved in the program directly, but I hope very much that I can indirectly help that program. It makes me very happy to teach a clinic that helps the program, very happy.”
A celebrated horseman, Morris has played a vital role, not only in the growth of countless notorious horses and riders, but also in the development of the current equestrian sport. He has often been referred to as the “founding father” of hunt seat equitation. Second to none, his teachings, technique, and style are admired around the world. His clinics are a rare and exceptional opportunity for riders of all levels and ages to learn from the finest.
“I have taken riding very, very seriously my whole life. It is not about the money, it is about the passion,” Morris explained. “I am very passionate about riding, the horses, and horse training. I hope the students will take some of these principles, principles that I have learned and been taught over the years, and become successful using them.”
Morris continued, “My training has been successful using these principles. I am very confident in the principles and the philosophies of this system. People in North America have to some degree interpreted this philosophy because it is very, very sound-it comes from centuries of men much brighter than me putting this together. You have to think of the reasons behind the teachings and the positions, why it is so important to have positioning such as the heel lower than the toe or the rider near the pommel-over the centuries, they put these principles in place as the geniuses they were. I just take credit for studying those principles, believing them and passing them on.”
SBS Executive Director Susan B. Schoellkopf organized the George H. Morris Educational Seminar. The purpose behind the clinic was for riders to gain firsthand knowledge for success in the sport. The clinic, held November 9-11, 2012, included eight riders from three varying groups of experience (Intermediate, Advanced, Jumper) as well as auditors who gathered to experience Morris’ teaching and guidance.
Throughout the duration of the clinic, Morris focused on teaching riders and auditors alike about proper horsemanship, correct riding, and the foundation of equitation. “The clinic was very comfortable because I have been going there for many years,” Morris stated. “I stay with Susie Schoellkopf, she is a very old friend, and so it is very comfortable. These clinics have become so comfortable. She does a great job; she is a very executive person. She organizes it fabulously; it is one of my best clinics.”
Based out of Buffalo, NY, SBS Farms’ Susie Schoellkopf and Jennifer Alfano run one of the foremost show hunter training operations in the country, and travel nationwide to compete in the nation’s most prestigious horse shows. SBS Farms, Inc. continues the proud tradition of the Saddle and Bridle Club as one of the top show stables in the northeast. Schoellkopf is also the Executive Director of the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, which houses both The Buffalo Equestrian Center as well as SBS Farms. Built in 1922, the 160-stall facility is a historical landmark, with its unique English Tudor and gothic style architecture. For more information on SBS Farms and the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, please visit www.thebtrc.org.