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October 31, 2011

Throwback Thursday: American Excellence—George Morris Rides Winyamaro

Catherine Haddad Staller made riding Winyamaro look like so much fun that George Morris decided he'd like to try. Photo by Anna Jaffe.

Dear Rita,

Just before we left the good ole USA for Germany last week, one of the highlights of our American tour took place at the USET. George Morris, U.S. show jumping chef d’equipe, rode Winyamaro! Now, how cool is that?

I kept my horses stabled at the team headquarters in Gladstone for the entire three months I was in the USA. For the last week of that time, the U.S. show jumping team was also stabled at the USET as they prepared to fly to Guadalajara for the Pan American Games, and I had the great pleasure of riding alongside some of our country’s best horses and riders for a few days.

Brief tangent: CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR MOST EXCELLENT RIDERS FOR YOUR SUCCESS AT THE PAN AMERICAN GAMES!!! No less than THREE team gold medals, a sweep of the dressage individual medals, two of the three jumping individual medals and two of the eventing individual medals made it back to America on the wings of our fabulous horses and riders. Love it, love it, love it!

Which brings me back to George and W. Now Mr. Morris looks 65 years old, but when I asked, his riders insisted that he is in his mid-70s. So I thought that if I offered him a ride on my horse, he would hop up there for 10 minutes, canter a little bit, try a few flying changes (all jumping riders can do flying changes) and then call it a day.

But to my surprise and immense pleasure, Mr. Morris rode W for a full 45 minutes and tried everything from the Grand Prix. He rode one- and two-tempis, half-pass zigzags, canter pirouettes, and piaffe and passage! I was not only impressed by the fact that Mr. Morris is so fit, but I was also very flattered that he so obviously enjoyed his time in the saddle on my horse.

FYI, Mr. Morris says that I ride in a “wonderful” saddle. Kudos to the Stuebben Genesis Special. Hee, hee.

Rita, you are probably wondering how this inter-discipline foray came about….

There I was in the crisp fall mornings, schooling W with a passel of jumping horses in the main arena at Gladstone. The sun was shining, leaves were blowing across the arena, and W was DELIGHTED to frolic with a bunch of jumpers who get airborne on a regular basis, as getting airborne (without the help of a jump) is a favorite pastime of his. Needless to say, he was way beyond his normal exuberant self!

Mr. Morris watched me ride W every morning, and if I might brag just a little bit, W was SMOKIN’ during those training sessions, which would make any good rider itch at the palms. I could tell by the comments of our U.S. jumping coach that he was fascinated by the power and expression my horse was offering with such obvious enthusiasm every day. So just before our show jumping team departed for Mexico, I offered Mr. Morris a ride on W. And he accepted! With delight!

I was a little hesitant when he asked me to explain some things to actually help him with my horse, because I thought: “Dude, you are the one who should be teaching me.”

But it just goes to show you that a true horseman never misses the chance to learn from a great horse when given the opportunity. And if that means sharing the owner’s manual with a test rider, then so be it! W, I might add, took very good care of our jumping coach.  I was proud of him.

I can’t tell you how much this meant to me. The equestrian disciplines are so different from each other, and yet we have so much in common. Suppleness, elasticity, fitness and rideability are vital to any successful horse in any sport. A good horse, a well-trained horse, a talented horse, should be appreciated by any and all riders. Mr. Morris is a true horseman, and it was an honor for me to hand over the reins.

Here a few clips from George Riding W. Enjoy!! 

I’m Catherine Haddad Staller, and I’m sayin it like it is from Hooge Mierde, The Netherlands. (Yes, The Global Dressage Forum: More On That Coming Soon.)

Training Tip of the Day: A good training job is universal amongst the disciplines. A well-trained jumper speaks the same language as a well-trained dressage horse.

InternationalDressage.com

heanferain
1 year 31 weeks ago
Skateboards
Thanks for letting us know about George Morris Rides Winyamaro and his riding history very perfectly. Okay Read More
fenwickefarm
3 years 16 weeks ago
You Go George
All I can say is that "George is the best". I hope I can still do all that he does at his age! That was so good to see. Thanks. Read More

Comments

jleegriffith
3 years 17 weeks ago

Fantastic!

I loved watching George up on your big boy. He really seemed to be enjoying your tips on how to ride the movements.

chisamba
3 years 17 weeks ago

Cool to watch

I often read your blog but usually only comment when i have something to disagree about, but this time i want to say how much i enjoyed the video.  Not only watching it, but because you were kind enough to let someone ride your horse, and that he looked good with George on him.

 

thank you

Marion

IndyRider
3 years 17 weeks ago

Fantastic!

Thanks for sharing the story & video! It's always great to see camaraderie between the disciplines.
cburbs
3 years 17 weeks ago

LOVE THIS... It really put a

LOVE THIS... It really put a smile on my face this morning. I only hope that at his age that the thought of even GETTING on a horse still sounds attractive!
fenwickefarm
3 years 16 weeks ago

You Go George

All I can say is that "George is the best". I hope I can still do all that he does at his age! That was so good to see. Thanks.
heanferain
1 year 31 weeks ago

Skateboards

Thanks for letting us know about George Morris Rides Winyamaro and his riding history very perfectly. Okay