Monday, November 07, 2005

 

George Morris' Speech

The thing about the draw of numbers for the Maclay that I enjoyed the most was the talk that George Morris and Susie Humes gave about what they were expecting in this final. I found this talk very insightful and inspiring.

In the beginning, Mr. Morris emphasized the importance of events such as this. He said that the equitation is really only a part of American riding and that it is a shame because it really teaches you the basics and necessities of riding well and position. I found him personally inspiring in this part of his speech because he said that style and execution were the most important. Also, that while the equitation is a "beauty contest" and a rider's body structure matters, he has known amazing riders who do not fit the typical equitation body types and some of these riders were the best the division has ever known. The main example he used was Katie Prudent. Since I am one of those who were not blessed with the perfect equitation body, those comments meant a lot to me and gave me confidence going into the next day.

Next he made it clear that horsemanship would be a major part in judging this finals. Not only your presentation with your horse, but that soundness was the most important thing. He praised the ASPCA for their efforts and thanked them for supporting the event. He also said that without a horse being sound, it is very hard for the horse to compete to the best of its ability and, therefore, it is unfair to the horse and also puts the horse in rider in danger. He said that the judges could tell from any gate if the horses were sound and that they would really be looking for this.

George then moved to the specifics of the competition, saying that both Susie Humes and he were more traditional in their views of proper equitation and that is what they would be looking for. They did not want any gaudy clothing--they wanted boots polished and well turned-out horses and riders. It was the riders' and trainers' jobs to make sure that the rider's appearance or the equipment did not take away from the horse.

The comments that spurred curiosity and murmurs from the audience were his references to the course that he and Susie had designed. He said that the first jump was not commonly used today. Also, there would be many options throughout the course and they were expecting people to not always take the easy route. They wanted the riders to show off and also pointed out that brilliance would be what the judges were looking for. Mr. Morris ended his speech with an attempt to reach out at the audience and said that he had been in this position as a rider and trainer and that he wished everyone the best of luck.

I hope that I have given a good summary of his speech and I know that I definitely thought it was something important to hear before the final. Mr. Morris has a reputation as one of the most important figures in the equitation world, and I think everyone was curious as to what he was specifically looking for in this competition. If anyone else was there for the speech and I miss something really important, please let me know!

Comments:
Natalie,

I've really enjoyed your blog -- it's incredibly well written and it's nice to see such an intelligent commentary on equitation. As an equestrian artist new to blogging, I'm having a lot of fun finding out what other horse blogs are out there.

Maggie (smilinghorseart.blogspot.com)
 
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