Monday, December 28, 2015

George Morris

When I was ten and a half, I started taking riding lessons at a neighborhood barn. I loved everything about Eaton Canyon Riding Club, including my trainer, but honestly, the quality of instruction wasn't very high. After three years, I knew my leads and diagonals and could steer around a basic hunter course. Beyond that, I had no clue. There wasn't any subtlety or sophistication to my riding. 
I spent the next few years riding problem horses, mostly without adult supervision. What I lacked in technique, I made up for with bravery and persistence. This worked for a while, but eventually I got frustrated with my own limitations.
Looking for help, I headed back to Eaton Canyon Riding Club, where a new trainer was in residence. When she offered me a position as a working student, I couldn't accept fast enough.
After my first lesson, Roxanne told me that I needed to buy George Morris' book, Hunter Seat Equitation, and read it in its entirety. 
I knew who George Morris was, mainly because I liked reading his column in Practical Horseman
Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that Hunter Seat Equitation was not an expanded version of Jumping Clinic. The book was almost entirely text, with only a few line drawings...
and black and white photos to break up the monotony.
It wasn't the sort of book I usually gravitated to, but I was serious about wanting to be a better rider. I read the entire thing cover to cover, and with Roxanne's help, I was able to start putting some of George's theories into practice. 

Years later, I took a job on the A show hunter/jumper circuit.
I met a lot of the people whose photos I'd studied in Hunter Seat Equitation...
but I never met George Morris himself. 

This is probably just as well, since I'm sure I would have been much too intimidated to actually talk to him. Also, I strongly suspect he would not have been very impressed with my un-tucked, un-hairnetted self. Still, I owe the man a debt of gratitude for the part he played in my riding education. 

Now, thanks to Breyer and the Chronicle of the Horse, I can finally pay tribute in the way I do best: 1:9 scale.
Oh, I'm going to have so much fun with this!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, yes you are! :) I've seen him from afar but even if I'd seen him on foot I would *never* have had the nerve to approach him. No sirree... as you say, I would be totally petrified and intimidated. I am chuckling at his doll depiction, though - it's George Minus 30 Years, at least. I'm SURE he just loves that!!