George Morris will be at Bridle Creek Farm in Bridle Creek Equestrian community on February 24 and 25 to offer a clinic to upper level riders. Morris, who will be 76 on February 26, just a day after the Aiken clinic ends, is a living legend in the hunter/jumper world. He first attracted national attention when he won the AHSA Medal and the ASPCA Maclay Finals at Madison Square Garden in 1952 at the age of 14 – he was the youngest rider ever to win these titles. He competed on the U.S. Olympic showjumping team under the famous Hungarian-born coach, Bertalan de Nemethy, winning the silver medal in Rome in 1960. He was on the team that won the gold medal at the Pan Am Games in 1959 and he rode on eight winning Nations Cup teams between 1958 and 1960.
Morris went on to run Hunterdon Stables in Pittsdown, New Jersey. His first book, Hunter Seat Equitation, originally published in 1971 and available now in its third edition, may be the most long-lived and influential book on horsemanship in this country. He became a household name for his regular column in Practical Horseman, in which he examined photographs of riders sent to him and analyzed each rider’s position in colorful and occasionally devastating terms. He was inducted into the United States Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 2000.
As a teacher and coach, Morris is tough, insightful and successful. His students have gone on to win innumerable national and international competitions including many Olympic medals. From 2005 until 2013, he served as the chef d’equipe of the United States Showjumping Team. Under Morris, the U.S. team had unprecedented success, winning the Samsung Super League Championship, team and individual silver at the 2006 World Equestrian Games, team gold and individual bronze at the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong, team gold and individual gold and silver at the 2009 Pan Am Games and a whole slew Nations Cup championships.
Boyd Martin, a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic eventing team, is organizing the Aiken clinic. Boyd says he first met Morris when he took a clinic with him back in his native Australia. Last summer, he organized a similar clinic with George at his Windurra Farm in Cochranville, Penn.
“I’ve rounded up some of the top event riders in Aiken for three group lessons,” he says. “There will be six or seven riders in each group, including three riders from the 2012 U.S. Olympic team: Phillip Dutton, Will Coleman and myself.”
Although you must be one of the upper-level elite to be invited to ride in the George Morris clinic, it will be open to auditors at a fee of $60 per day – you can pay when you arrive.
“George is arguably the greatest coach in the history of the United States. He is a great rider and a brilliant teacher and he is very particular about correctness and horsemanship,” says Boyd. “I think it will be a treat for people in Aiken to come watch the greatest coach of all time teaching some of the best event riders in the world.”
Fernanda Kellog will be holding an afternoon reception for George at her farm, Fox Frolic, on Monday afternoon after the first day of the clinic is completed, and all riders and auditors are welcome. The clinic sessions are planned for 9-11, 11-1 and 2-3 on each day. More details will be available on Boyd and Silva Martin’s website: www.boydandsilvamartin.com.