Touch n GO Farm

Whitesburg Georgia

George Morris PDF Print E-mail
G Morris 1.jpgHunterdon Farm was about fifty minutes from my home. At eighteen, I wanted to continue the formal training begun with Carl Bessette. George had won the Medal and Maclay finals, a gold medal at the 1959 Pan Am Games and silver at the1960 Olympics. Riders traveled in from all over the country to work with him.

My first lesson was an eye-opening experience. Due to demand, the majority of George's lessons were conducted in groups of eight. When he walked in the arena it was as if a general had arrived to inspect the troops. Not a word was spoken and no one shifted their attention from George for a moment lest they be dismissed.

We set off around the course and it quickly became apparent that he expected you to do everything correctly the first time. As the lesson concluded he approached me and announced "you have an eye to die for but you ride by the seat of your pants!" It was certainly not intended as a compliment.

For the next three years I would resume lessons with George as soon as he returned from the winter circuit in Florida. When he headed south I continued training with Frank Chapot. George introduced me to the 1/2 seat, classical jump position and developed my poise in the hunter ring. He contributed to my understanding of correct riding in many ways but several concepts stand out. He insisted that I ride perfectly straight lines, use invisible aids and properly count strides. George always demanded perfection. He also helped my competitive career by improving my ability to perform well in the tough situations. This was never the topic of a specific lesson. Quite simply, if you could ride well for George Morris, you could ride well under pressure!

G Morris 2.jpgAside from the wealth of information George passed along, he also changed my life with a simple suggestion. After a lesson he told me that a trainer named Gunnar Ostergaard would be conducting a joint clinic at Hunterdon and he said I should ride in it. The rides with Gunnar were my first formal dressage lessons and the beginning of another career path.

My regular lessons with George slowed around 1976. I went to his clinics with my students and rode with him whenever I could. I served, at his invitation, as a demonstration rider aboard Vergilius in his 1993 Instructor Development seminar.

When I married and moved to Georgia in late 1994, George was kind enough to write a letter of recommendation. Referencing students of mine that he had worked with he wrote "she creates riders, not passengers." It is a compliment I treasure to this day.

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