Antioch, IL - June 27, 2014 - A foggy Chicago morning did not slow down the activities at the George H. Morris Gladstone Program at Annali-Brookwood Farm, organized by Diane Carney. Thursday, day four of the six-day program, was packed with more learning opportunities for the ten selected riders presented by top professionals in the industry. Today alone, the professionals on hand included two Chef d'Equipes - Morris and Diane Langer, veterinarian Mark Cassells, (Wednesday included Dr. Marvin Beeman), farrier Bill Liggett and top professional Diane Carney. Each professional added valuable information to the training session.
The day started at 7:25 am with an FEI jog. Chef d'Equipe Langer explained to the group what is expected at the team jog including turnout of the horse, turnout of the rider, passports and how to jog correctly and in what pattern. They discussed possible problems that can arise and solutions. Dr. Cassells and Morris were on hand and helped field questions from the riders.
Riders then put their saddles on and got a leg up for their no stirrup session with Morris today in the indoor arena. Morris stressed you can never stop working on your seat. The base of the rider is the most important. The four parts of the rider's position are leg, base, upper body and independent hands and arms. The work without irons was all about improving leg, base and contact.
"You are always working on your seat," said Morris. "I ride at least once a week, even in Wellington, without stirrups."
Morris summarized the flatwork today by saying, "You must get curious about dressage - you must read books."
The afternoon session was with world-class farrier Bill Liggett from Woodstock, IL. The first part of discussion was about the types of caulks used for various footing conditions. After looking at all the options for caulks, the group walked out to the field where they will be jumping on Saturday to see first hand what the conditions were. Back at the barn, Liggett demonstrated how to properly caulk a horse and options of two versus three caulks were discussed. Liggett also talked about the power of the inside hind leg in relation to caulking, the same message the group has heard from Morris, Anne Kursinski, Dr. Beeman, Dr. Cassells, Langer and Carney.
Liggett also showed riders different types of shoes and what was best for grand prix horses. Next, the team leaders (a leader for each group of five riders) had a friendly competition to see who could pull a shoe the most efficiently. This presented another hands on opportunity for the riders. Plenty of questions were asked on the topic of shoes and caulks of which every professional participated in the answers, so riders got a point of view from a farrier, a vet, a grand prix rider and the Chef d'Equipes.
"We are extremely grateful to have a room full of such talented professionals to assist these young riders in the learning process," said Carney. "It's beneficial to have any one of them, but to get them all in one place all talking about the same topic is really special."
The riders then were off to Ann K Hubbard's tack trailer located right on the premises, to pick up any caulks and tools they needed for the training session on Saturday. Ann K Hubbard's is a sponsor of the Gladstone Program at Annali-Brookwood and gave each rider a book on caulks to keep. The mobile unit has been available to the riders throughout the program.
With still more work to be done, riders then were back in the field and the outdoor arena setting the course for Saturday's "Grand Prix of Brookwood." The course will be a test and finale to the week of learning.
Friday's session will be a review of the week's work with Morris and the afternoon presentation will be Transforming Your Passion to Your Practice and Understanding Equine Activity Liability Law by Yvonne C. Ocrant, ESQ.