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George H. Morris Focuses on All Aspects of Horsemanship in Michigan with Trainer Certification Program and Riding Clinic

Scott Alder and Stoney Ridge Farm Support Education

George Morris demonstrates proper flat work without stirrups during the 2015 Michigan clinic.

Temperance, MI – September 8, 2015 – Stoney Ridge Farm hosted the George H. Morris riding clinic and USHJA Trainer Certification Program (TCP) at Hunters Run Stables in Temperance, MI. The three-day clinic organized by Scott Alder with Diane Carney, Antioch, IL, as the barn manager, stressed flatwork, discipline and all aspects of horsemanship.
Day two was no-stirrup day focusing on balance and position. Morris’ flat work included serpentines and voltes and stressed suppleness and straightness of the horse through use of the leg and hand aids. Morris also spoke to the teachers in the Trainer Certification Program encouraging them to know the basics inside and out.
“I read books,” said Morris. “I read books five times. Trainers have to be interested in reading books. If you don’t understand what I’m saying read books.”
“Two percent (of riders) get it a lot. Five percent get nothing. Only ten to fifteen percent want to be serious, the rest are recreational. And there are few boys coming up the ranks and that is bad for our sport,” said Morris.

Morris demonstrated straightness of the horse.

Jumping exercises focused on gymnastics and the rider’s release.
Morris talks to the teachers, explaining theory and skills they should learn and continue. Morris explained that students need to see how it should look, so trainers have to be able to do it or have an assistant who can show them so riders can copy. He also emphasized attention to the whole program in the barn.
“John and Beezie (Madden) run a top class stable. They use only the top grooms and managers, the best vets and farriers in the country. She’s a great rider but that’s just part of it,” Morris pointed out.
Rachel Kotowicz of Waverly Farm in Leonard, MI, is one of the trainer’s participating in the Trainer’s Certification Program.

Trainer, Rachel Kotowicz, participated in the riding clinic and TCP.

“I was riding in the clinic so combining it with the TCP was a no brainer,” said Kotowicz. “I wish he (Morris) was here when I was younger so I could have taken advantage of it then. I think I will pay more attention to detail at home.  It’s a little intense for the kids when I come home after these clinics,” added Kotowicz.

Morris showed riders and teachers various training exercises to improve suppleness of the horse.

Melissa Hirt is a professional from Traverse City, MI, who is already certified and was renewing her certification. She has ridden in Morris' clinics in the past and had three students from her Northern Pines Farm riding in the clinic. 
“I love George being in Michigan because it’s close to home so all my other students can come to watch,” said Hirt.  “It’s great timing before the Maclay Regionals and I thought the pressure and the review would be good for them before the finals.”
“Sitting for three days and watching my own students has been really enlightening,” added Hirt. “I’m picking up some things that I never noticed they did and things they know and don’t know, so we have a lot of things to go back to the drawing board on. We’ve gone through books and reviewed beforehand so they could get the most out of their clinic.”
Several of them will be doing the Zone 5 Horsemanship class in Kentucky prior to the Maclay Regionals. The class consists of a written test, a flat phase, a jumping phase and usually an additional work off. The test is created from the Hunter Seat Equitation book by Morris. There’s no better preparation for them than Morris’ clinic.
One of the riders competing in the Zone 5 Horsemanship class is Paige Matthies, 14, who is qualified for the USEF/Pessoa Medal Finals and the ASPCA Maclay Regional Finals. She has been preparing for the clinic and the finals for weeks already.

Paige Matthies reviews the basics before medal finals.

“I think it’s been really educational and fun to participate in the clinic,” said Matthies. “I think it will really help me at regionals because of the courses and striding he (Morris) sets up. To prepare for the clinic, I read his book and practiced almost all of the subjects in his book.”
MacKenzie Snider, 14, of Traverse City, is also qualified for the equitation finals and will be in the Zone 5 Horsemanship class with her barn mate, Matthies.

McKenzie Snider works on skills she can use in he Zone 5 Horsemanship class.

“I did a lot of flat work and no stirrups work getting ready for the clinic,” said Snider. “I hope to get to the Olympics someday.”
Scott Alder, USEF R HU/EQ/JP judge, commented on the clinic, “I really try to provide a great educational opportunity for trainers and riders in the area to take advantage of. Those who want the knowledge and want to improve will get a lot out the clinic to take back to their barns. The experience will upgrade their showing and training skills as well. Having a legend come to teach is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most riders. We’re lucky to have George.”

Riders listened to Morris explain the basics.

Carney, also a USEF R HU/EQ/JP judge, has learned during the 30 plus years of organizing the George Morris clinics, that Morris emphasizes being prepared. She arrives at the clinic with a tack trunk filled with Morris’ basic ‘must haves’, such as bit keepers, double wire bits, rein stops, hole punches, snaffles, spurs, crops and the ability to pull a shoe when needed.

The trunk containing Morris' basic 'must haves'.

“George’s clinics are always progressive. Day two is generally without stirrups and every rider today improved their seat because of it,” said Carney. "It prepares them for what's coming on day three, which is typically the toughest day."

The clinic continues on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 with groups at:
9:00am – 11:00am  2’9”-3’
11:00am – 1:00pm  3’-3’3”
2:30pm – 4:30pm  3’6” and up
Alder organizes a fantastic three-day opportunity for trainers and riders in the Michigan and surrounding areas to easily commute to and participate in. Alder has made a great effort to provide accessible and affordable education to the area in hopes of increasing the level of horsemanship for the benefit of all, especially the horses.
Auditors are welcome for $75 per day. 
Hunter’s Run Stable is located at 9241 Secor Road Temperance, MI, 48182.
For more information on the clinic, contact Scott Alder at 734-395-9086 or
For a list of more GHM clinics visit

Stoney Ridge Farm George H. Morris USHJA/TCP Clinic Sponsors
Grand Championship Sponsors
Rochester Hills Tack Shop                  Lee Ann Hake and Family
Martin Insurance Agency                    Andrea & Mark Obrzut
Dragon Fly Farm                                 Michelle Friedman
Dragonfly’s Ride                                  Fred Friedman & Dennis Turton
Wyldwood Tack Shop                         Jennifer Hudson
Championship Sponsors
Willowbrooke Farm                            Jennifer Blades
Friends of Stoney Ridge Farm
Monica Celizic
Rob, Ruth and Lydia Carrigan
Fox Trot Farm                                     Edward, Kathy and Monica Silver

Cedarwood Farm                                    Monique Molnar-Brian Bates

 Photos by Chicago Equestrian and may only be used in relation to this release.