No Hands, Great Thoroughbreds And So Much George: Our Best Of Throwback Thursday In 2015

Dec 30, 2015 - 5:03 PM

The Chronicle has been in print for more than 75 years, and we love bringing the history of the sport to light. In Throwback Thursday posts, we get the memories behind a great photo or video.

These are the top 10 most-read Throwback Thursday posts of 2015, with three entries penned by George H. Morris, some spectacular horses from the past, and nostalgia to spare…

#1 No Hands, No Problem For Richard Spooner

It’s an absolutely amazing video—Richard Spooner loses his reins when Incento leaves a stride out jumping into a triple combination and it doesn’t faze him a bit. He jumps through the combination with his hands out to the side and calmly picks the reins up on landing from the C element.

Watch the video and hear Spooner’s recollection of the moment in this most-read Throwback Thursday post of 2015.

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#2 Watch Susie Hutchison Survive The Ultimate Interference On Course

Interference on course made news this summer when a member of the jump crew ran in front of Irish rider Cian O’Connor at the FEI European Championships. But did you know that something similarly dramatic happened to a U.S. rider in the past?

We tracked down video of the time Susie Hutchison had a close call with the jump crew at the FEI World Cup Final and asked Hutchison for her memories of the incident.

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#3 Bionic Woman Had No Canter But A Big Jump

Susie Hutchison stars again in this Throwback Thursday post about an unusual but talented mare. As a Standardbred, the canter didn’t come naturally for Bionic Woman, but Hutchison fondly remembered her athletic talent.

“She was one that was competitive but difficult to ride in that she was so unorthodox. [She was] a crowd pleaser.”

You can see video of Bionic Woman’s strange way of going in the article as well.

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#4  How Far Courses Have Come!

Yawning, huge ditches. A water jump that required swimming. A steep slide on a hunter derby course.

Riders from a few decades ago thought nothing of pointing their horses at challenges we’d never imagine trying today. We tracked down the story behind three phenomenally striking photos of obstacles of yore.

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#5 When Strapless Galloped

Just a decade ago, a plain bare mare with a huge jump and a galloping pace ruled the hunter ring. We talked to rider Emily Williams about a video of she and Strapless winning one of their three AHJF Palm Beach Hunter Spectaculars together and about the mare’s talent and pace.

““She gave you an incredible feeling. She’d almost prop a little bit at the base of the jump and then I literally would hold onto the braids, she’d come up through the withers so much,” Williams said. “It was just explosive. And she’d jump the last jump higher than the first jump. She was a special horse, just a freak of nature.”

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#6  Be Like Betty

When George H. Morris saw this photo run with a Living Legends article about Betty Oare in the Chronicle, he called us to rave about the image.

“This picture of Betty Oare on Navy Commander—it’s like it’s from another planet from the pictures we see today. This is what the sport is all about,” he said, and went on to explain why.

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#7  Where Did We Come From? Where Are We Going?

George H. Morris wrote a Between Rounds column for the Chronicle for decades, and his words of wisdom are timeless. Every now and then we post one of the columns of his that have run in the magazine in the past, and his words of wisdom echo with readers of today as well.

This is one of George’s classic rants about the loss of horsemanship and classic values. “Time and space and competition have encroached on our wonderful sport of riding and jumping horses. Everyone is rushing. One cannot rush with horses. It’s literally the ‘kiss of death.'”

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#8  The Medal, The Maclay, Grief And A Thoroughbred

In 1989, Ray Texel rode a quirky Thoroughbred to win the AHSA Medal and ASPCA Maclay finals, and we asked him to remember that fall—a time in his life full of grief and maturing.

“I learned something that I still work toward, the real art of what we do, which is riding this really fine line between making a horse do something and allowing the horse to do something,” he recalled.

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#9  Five Factors Make A Good Rider A Great Rider

More of George H. Morris’ indispensable wisdom. How do you become a truly great rider? He tells you. (Hint, it’s not all talent.)

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#10  Fleet Apple Was The One Right Horse For DiAnn Langer

An off-the-track Thoroughbred took a young DiAnn Langer to the big leagues. We got the story behind this amazing photo of him from Langer.

“I remember meeting Jimmy Lee at the time and him saying to me, ‘You only need one horse when it’s the right horse,’ ” recalled Langer, who is now the U.S. young rider show jumping chef d’equipe. “That was a very impressionable moment. He was the first truly quality horse that I rode.”

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Also check out…

The Chronicle’s top 10 most-read stories of 2015

The Chronicle staff’s favorite moments from 2015

The most popular Behind The Barn Door posts

The most-read Amateurs Like Us stories of 2015

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