Antioch, Ill.—June 28
The George H. Morris Gladstone Program Training Session at the beautiful Annali-Brookwood Farm, organized by Diane Carney, concluded on June 28.
The 10 riders in the session were divided into two groups and team leaders were appointed. Throughout the week, the teams helped each other out and today they had a friendly competition for what they all fondly called The Grand Prix of Brookwood.
Team 1 was Caitie Hope (team leader), Stephen Foran, Lisa Goldman, Hunter Holloway and Courtney Fredrick. Team 2 was Ashley Stannard (team leader), Adrienne Dixon, Lindsey Lamb, K.C. Van Aarem and Caroline McLeese.
The final session was standing-room-only for auditors as Morris demonstrated correct flatwork and basic dressage on Hunter Holloway's mount in the first session and Ashley Stannard's horse in the second session.
“Calm, forward and straight is what we need to work a horse. If we are missing one we can't have the other,” explained Morris as he rode.
Morris discussed five qualities of a team rider: ambition, emotion, management, selection and, lastly, talent. Ambition is the desire inside the person to go somewhere. Emotion is the maturity and ability to control emotion.
Morris used Olympian Beezie Madden as an example for emotion saying she has ice water in her veins, which is why Morris had her as the anchor on the team. Management is the ability to manage the care of the horse and the program of the horse and rider. Selection is the ability to choose good horses. Talent is the skill and ability of a rider, which is the fifth factor. Riders must have the other factors to make it work.
When the groups moved to the jumping, Morris stated the course would tell the tale of the rider’s ability.
“These riders are green at this level,” said Morris. “They haven’t jumped at [Spruce Meadows] Calgary in the 1.60 meters, and they haven't been on the [Longines Global Champions Tour]. These riders want to go on to do that. Riders must be realistic about their goals and the ability of their horses.”
Morris had the riders warm up, jumping out of the ring into the grass and back into the sand ring. Next it was back and forth over a 5'6" wide oxer; then riders were ready to take on the track.
The course asked many questions of horse and rider such as: are they bold as they jump out of the ring? Do they have impulsion, which is what the riders have been working on all week, as they galloped uphill to a 5' wide triple bar? Do they have control as they galloped downhill to a vertical and then had to make a turn to jump back into the ring?
Then the technical questions of the course were next with the rollback to the liverpool oxer away from the in-gate, a very specific six strides to an imposing wall, which the beginning of the wall, oxer, oxer combination uphill.
Continuing on course, the riders worked on the time allowed, making an efficient turn to the 5'6" wide Swedish USET oxer with a liverpool, making their way to the hardest line of the course.
The last line proved to be the most difficult with the horses having to canter parallel to the auditors to get the correct line to a tall natural vertical with a specific five strides to the water and seven strides to last narrow swoop wall, with straightness critical to jump it clean.
Morris was the perfect example of calm as the riders took to the track, only re-riding a few jumps that proved difficult for the horse and rider combinations. For some it was the impulsion in the triple combination, for some it was the straightness in the line to the water, for others it was jumping back into the ring and for some it was the jumps in the grass.
For the friendly, team competition, after calculating the faults with one score dropped for each team, the riders were pleased to announce it was Hope’s Team 1 with the win. Posting clear rounds today, which was the goal of the program, were Hope, Holloway and McLeese.
The riders all agreed that the opportunity to listen and learn from the various professionals who joined Morris in instructing and lecturing the riderswas priceless. The week provided the opportunity to ask questions and apply what they were learning to the daily activities. Riders took away something from every presentation and could apply the information to their programs. All the riders said they learned the importance of flatwork and will be going home and signing up for dressage lessons.
“Real riding takes real effort,” said training session organizer, Diane Carney. “George's endless support of correct riding as it relates to quality performance, is the goal of every horse person in the saddle. Organizing the training session for Gladstone and George was a privilege.
"It was my responsibility to co-ordinate a week with top industry professionals on every level from barn management and world class veterinarians and farriers to Olympic riders and equine business experts, in pursuit of a standard of excellence. Horsemanship 24/7 makes the Gladstone Program different than a normal clinic. This week was team building and I will add, inspiring. It was my pleasure to support the GHM Gladstone Program along with the help of the many sponsors. I had the right facility and the right support people to do my part in bringing the GHM Gladstone Program to the Midwest," Carney said.
During the farewell luncheon, riders were awarded silver plates from the USET Foundation for their participation in the training session along with a commemorative group photo signed by Morris and Carney. The 10 riders thanked Morris and Carney for making the session possible then said their goodbyes to their new friends and future teammates before heading home.