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News from Vicki

24 January 2011

Well once again George Morris has come and won a whole more new fans, and inspired riders and spectators with his amazing knowledge, passion and articulate teaching.  Also the fact that at 72 years of age (73 next week, as he kept reminding us) he is still fit and well, and able to ride in a classic, polished way that all he rode appreciated.  It was super to see him on Todd Hinde's black horse, converting it from a hot, buzzy, stiff backed thing, to a soft, tractable, actually quite nice moving horse in the space of 20 minutes.  For those that had not had the 'Morris experience' before, it was like a second coming.  Jamie Kermond in particular made a point of saying that while he had trained with most of our best people out here, he had never been given such clear directions and inspiration in that he felt he was so enthusiastic to go home and work with all his horses with renewed enthusiasm and purpose.  Proof was in the pudding in that Kermo and the horse he rode at the SIEC Clinic, Lincoln, took out the Grand Prix at Dapto Show last weekend, worth $1200 to the winner, with an immaculate clear round in the jump off, which was not only the fastest round, but the only clear round. 

For me, it was great again to hear the words of wisdom, and every year I pick up on something new.  This year his emphasis was more on the rideability of horses in order for them to cope with the way more technical nature of jumping courses nowadays.  Mark Atkins, one of our super younger brigade of Course Designers, was an avid and enthusiastic assistant at the SIEC Clinic, and we better watch out for his courses soon, because George was very much of the opinion that horses and riders had to be educated early about riding the more tricky, optical lines, and the emphasis on time in courses.  For sure it makes perfect sense that horses (and riders) need to learn how to ride more difficult distances and times, within reason, while the fences are not so big.  It becomes more difficult when fences are bigger and less forgiving, if mistakes are made, because riders never trained or practiced at a lower level.

Many thanks for the support of NSWIS for the Clinic conducted indoors at SIEC, and to Wayne and Frances Roycroft for the use, and immaculate condition, of the field at Mount White, which George describes as one of his favourite jumping fields "like Hickstead or Dublin" he said to his audience.  The weather was also very kind in that it didn't get too hot (or wet!) for the duration of the Clinics.

Casino Royale at the George Morris Clinic 2011

CASINO ROYALE whom George Morris frequently referred to as a "super horse", as well as " a super jumper".  He also said that CASINO's sire, CASALL LA SILLA is "one of the best horses in the world today".

Benny on Brad at the George Morris Clinic 2011

Benny showing perfect form on Brad (Sir Joindre) which had George M referring to him as a "tall McLain Ward"!  benny was pretty chuffed by that compliment...  thanks to Chrissie Johnson for the photos.

So last weekend we headed to Dapto, Benny's idea, I was less than enthusiastic being pretty tired after the Clinics, but it was a great decision.  All horses jumped well, I was sad not to be able to take Casino, as he had jumped fabulously at the Mount White Clinic, and George described him often as a "super" jumper, but he wasn't so fit; we had just stepped in at the last minute, as Colleen Brook was worried that her new German mare was not sufficiently fit or acclimitized for the full on 3 days.  But Kenny and Willy were great.  I have got back on Willy Welsom, as Kurt has to have time off due to an injured anular ligament from running around too much in the paddock.  These closeted German horses take a while to get used to the Aussie horses' freer lifestyle!  Kenny was 5th both days in the A and B and the Grand Prix, still working on the braking issues, and Willy survived quite well around the tougher tracks.  Benny 'McLain' Blay had a good show with his two, Brad 3rd on the first day in the D Grade, and Ryles 4th on the second day in C Grade Ch'ship. Most classes were either won by Kermo (GP, D Grade Ch'ship) Andrew Inglis (A and B AM5, C Grade Ch'ship) or Amanda Madigan ( a bunch of others!).


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