Equestrian apparel company Animo USA has been releasing a new series of interviews with former Chef d’Equipe, Olympic Silver Medalist, and childhood hero of anyone who grew up reading the Practical Horseman Conformation Clinic, George Morris. The new and final chapter of the interview is out, and we’ve got the full scoop!
We’re bringing you all the interviews here, and they’re full of compelling moments with a man who is universally admired and revered in the horse world.
Part 1: What is the most beautiful memory of your career?
As you will see, he lists several incredible moments that include coaching, teaching, and moments of personal success as an adult (like winning the Aachen Grand Prix) but it’s also moving to hear him include his childhood memories, such as winning the equitation class as a boy in Madison Square Garden.
Part 2: In your opinion, what should a relationship be between a teacher and a rider?
GM “The teacher is the general, and the students are the lieutenants . . . Nowadays, there’s too much discussion among the teacher, the parent, the student, the sister; it’s teaching by committee, and that’s not the most efficient way to progress.”
Part 3: Today we often ask horses to make a continuous effort for the whole season. What do you think about that? Is that the right approach?
GM: “I think because of business, there are too many horse shows. The riders in Europe don’t have clients so much but they go to too many horse shows, even the top riders, because the prize money is so huge. In this country the riders take their clients to more shows because they can charge more for it, and it’s business before sport. With the exception of a few horsemen, most horses are shown too much.”
Part 4: How important is the support of a team and their belief in a rider?
GM “Well riders, even the top ones, because of the stress of competition, are all insecure. Top actors, top actresses, President Putin, President Obama, Hitler, whoever, they’re all insecure. And top riders, even if they don’t act it or show it, they’re all insecure. So when they have a team, be it a sponsor, a horse owner, a groom, a vet, that relieves the stress and gives them some confidence. So that’s very important.”
Part 5: In your opinion, who is the best horseman?
GM “Possibly one of the greatest horseman in history is Federico Caprilli because he totally revolutionized the sport for fast riding. He was not interested in dressage. He was interested in fast sport, racing in particular, and then of course it carried over into jumping and eventing and foxhunting. He revolutionized the sport. He shortened people’s stirrups, he got them to lean forward and relieve the horse’s back and follow the horse’s mouth. He made it easier for the horse and the rider. We must not forget Federico Caprilli.”
Thanks to Animo USA for sharing this engaging series with George Morris! If you’d like to learn more about our hero Uncle George, consider checking out his new autobiography which is full of sensational moments riding, coaching, and training over six decades.
Go George Morris, and Go Jumping!