Wellington, Florida – January 11, 2010 – As the George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Clinic drew to a close, the USET Foundation honored participating riders during a luncheon at the White Horse Tavern on Saturday January 9. Speakers John Madden, George H. Morris, and Bonnie Jenkins explained the importance of the George H Morris Horsemastership Training Clinic in developing not only the careers of the participating riders, but also the future of the equestrian sport in the United States of America.
Addressing the luncheon’s horsemen, Morris announced his “biggest, and most alarming challenge” to be “what happens to these riders in the next ten years?” USET Foundation Executive Director Bonnie Jenkins described the talent seen throughout the clinic as “indicative of a bright future for show jumping.” However, Morris explained that it is not only the responsibility of the riders, but also of the parents, the professionals, and the supporters, to bring the future to fruition – transforming the Olympic dreams of those who sat before him, into reality – into Gold Medals.
For riders, the journey to greatness is not short, nor is it easy – sacrifices must be made, but those willing to sacrifice “their life because they have passion,” as Morris has, may someday find that they too, will be “personally, very happy to have done so.”
Recounting his experience as Chef de’Equipe of the US Show Jumping Team, Morris regarded himself as “very lucky, to have been able to work with such phenomenally talented riders as those who participated this week.” To exhibit under his tutelage, riders had to qualify for an invitation to attend based on a combination of the USA Equitation Computer Rankings List and past performances.
Topping the USA Equitation Computer Rankings list to qualify was Jacqueline Lubrano, followed by Jessica Springsteen, Zazou Hoffman, Christy DiStefano, and Victoria Birdsall, respectively. Matthew Mettell (East) and Theodore Boris (West) were invited after winning the USEF Talent Search Finals this fall. North American Young Riders Individual Champion, Jennifer Waxman, and USEF National Junior Jumper Individual Champion, Reed Kessler, were also in attendance. Filling the only wild card slot, Chase Boggio received the opportunity to participate based on performances such as his second place finish to Zazou Hoffman in the 2009 ASPCA Maclay Finals at the Syracuse International Horse Show.
From Day One, Morris made it very clear that “aptitude is nothing without attitude,” telling riders “we all know you have aptitude, but to truly succeed you will need attitude, which is why this week focuses as much on horsemastership, as it does on riding.”
The week progressed much as one’s riding career would, from flatwork, to gymnastics, to work without stirrups, to finally a full course of jumps. In addition to mounted sessions, riders also engaged in educational sessions with a variety of industry leaders. Regarded highly for their respective specialties, speakers for the aforementioned sessions included Olympian Anne Kursinski, USET veterinarian Dr. Tim Ober, Purina Mills Nutritionist Dr. Mary Beth Gordon, Ph.D., Lutipold Pharmaceuticals Joint Specialist Ally Mann, and ASPCA President Ed Sayres.
Horsemastership was developed not only in the classroom, but also in the field, as riders were required to take full care of their horses throughout the event – trainers and grooms were banned from the stabling area, allowing riders the hands-on experience of complete horse care.
Participating riders were not the only ones to benefit from the week’s mounted and educational sessions – observing auditors also attended free of charge to watch and learn from equestrian legends. However, Morris made the point to let it be known just how much the success of the high performance teams in this country relied upon donations to the USET Foundation. Taking center stage with the microphone, Morris told the crowd “I don’t care if you give $1, $10, $100,000, or $1,000,000, but you need to give something – this is how we get these riders to the Olympics.”
Within the equestrian industry, the USET Foundation is responsible for supporting athletes, promoting international excellence, and building for the future. After developing an understanding of the USET Foundation’s significance, and of course, receiving a good old fashion lecture from George, auditors were flocking to Bonnie Jenkins, Executive Director of the USET Foundation to volunteer their donations.
The clinic was made possible thanks to the USET Foundation, United States Equestrian Federation, United States Hunter Jumper Association, Eqqus Foundation, Equestrian Sport Productions, Adequan, ASPCA, The Practical Horseman, Purina Mills, and the Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament.
The United States Equestrian Team Foundation (www.uset.org) is the non-profit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international, high-performance horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation. For more information on the USET Foundation, please call (908) 234 -1251, or visit USET ONLINE at www.uset.org.