Antioch, IL - June 25, 2014 - Riders in the George H. Morris Gladstone Training Session at Annali-Brookwood Farm are getting an education like no other both in the tack and in the classroom. The clinic, organized by Diane Carney, is fully staffed with Carney and Laurie Pitts as barn managers, farrier Bill Liggett of Woodstock, IL, and Dr. Mark Cassells of Homestead Veterinary Clinic in Pacific, MO as the on site veterinarian to assist riders with the care of their horses during the intense training sessions. Add to the mix Morris, Anne Kursinski and guest veterinarian Dr. G. Marvin Beeman with daily media coverage by Chicago Equestrian and Phelps Media Group, and you have the makings of one top notch training session for riders to learn something from everyone.
After Monday's flatwork, Tuesday's riding sessions with Morris emphasized straightness of the horse through lateral work. Gymnastics worked on rider's releases over the jump, teaching the horse to jump clean, shaping turns and the ability to ride forward and collect with impulsion. The heat and high humidity proved to be a learning experience for riders as well, as they learned how to carefully cool down horses and care for them after the session.
"These are excellent riders and excellent horses but they must get inspired by reading books about riding," stated Morris. "I read books about dressage every day. You must always work on being a better rider."
After the morning sessions, riders enjoyed an extremely interesting and entertaining presentation on conformation by Dr. G. Marvin Beeman of Littleton Equine Medical Center in Denver, CO.
Dr. Beeman was the veterinarian behind the scenes in one of the most decorated show jumping horses of all time, Calypso. In 1984, Smith Taylor's famous mount, Calypso, had just arrived at the Los Angeles Olympic Games. While Dr. Beeman was on a mountain trail ride in Steamboat Springs, CO, a man came up the trail to tell him that he needed to be in Los Angeles as soon as possible. There was a small plane waiting for him to fly him to Denver so he could catch a plane to LA. Once he arrived, he applied his medical expertise and Calypso was able to win a team gold medal for the United States. Dr. Beeman was there to witness it in person, a reward for his years of work and care with Calypso.
When you listen to him speak, you can tell he is a true lover of horses and ever appreciative of their beauty. Dr. Beeman speaks from the heart when he says he truly enjoys watching horses.
"I might even be a better rider tomorrow after watching George (Morris) teach today," joked Dr. Beeman. "I really enjoyed watching the horses today."
Dr. Beeman's presentation was about the relationship of form to function of the horse. He covered the history of studying conformation in horses, external factors affecting performance, the importance of the skeleton and muscles, and causes of lameness.
"Most lamenesses are the direct effect of stress, strain and concussion on the musculoskeletal system of the horse," explained Dr. Beeman.
He related his presentation to the remarks and rides of the group from Morris' morning lessons, which helped riders understand what Dr. Beeman was explaining.
Riders then fed their horses and were back out in the outdoor arena to set jumps for Wednesday's session. As they set, Morris explained some of the exercises.
"Although there are not a lot of jumps, there is a variety of jumps and they are very difficult," explained Morris. "They require impulsion to ride them correctly. Impulsion is always number one with a horse," said Morris.
Riders will tackle the oxer, oxer, oxer triple combination and a triple bar over a 10-foot water on day three of the session, and Dr. Beeman will continue his talk with the group on Form and Function of the Horse.