The George Morris “Gladstone Program,” held this year
at Hamilton Farm, in Gladstone, NJ, and Annali-Brookwood Farm in Antioch, IL, is led by the legendary horseman for which the intensive five-day clinic is named. The program is designed for adults who are currently competing successfully at 1.45 meters or above, and each clinic is limited to 10 riders who are hand-selected by George Morris.
Zone 9 member Kelly Mariner Smith of Portland, OR, was one of the lucky few chosen to attend, and with the support of the Zone 9 Jumper Committee’s Continuing Education Grant, she and her horse Caprice Vh Leliehof Z (otherwise known as “Lelie”) enjoyed the the Annali-Brookwood Farm session with George Morris and several other top professionals.
Encouraged to apply for the program after working with George Morris in local clinics, Kelly enjoyed the opportunity to work within a smaller group of riders where George was truly able to focus his attention on each horse and rider and their specific issue. Focusing on Kelly, George insisted that she be “more persistent” with her horse â€“ working her “through” issues as opposed to working “around” them.
In addition to the valuable experience of riding with George’s instruction, Kelly and her fellow participants were also exposed to barn management lessons, business advice, and the opportunity to work with Dr. Gerhard Heuschmann, a renowned expert in the field of the biomechanics of the horse. Dr. Heuschmann explained how equine biomechanics relate to the training and overall wellbeing of their equine partners. Riders spent 2 to 4 hours each day in educational lectures about varying topics outside of riding, and were required to manage all the care for their horses, meaning long but informative days.
“It was wonderful…It could’ve been longer,” Kelly said about the clinic, noting they were tired at the end of the session, but reinvigorated and ready to learn more the following day.
USHJA Zone 5 was a major sponsor of the clinic, providing a significant cut to costs for participants. At the same time, Kelly was awarded the USHJA Zone 9 Jumper Committee’s Continuing Education Grant that covered a portion of the program expenses.
Kelly was very appreciative of the funding provided to her by the Zone 9 Jumper Committee. She plans to reapply next year and encourages her fellow riders to do the same. She hopes that in the future there may be more opportunities like this closer to home as well.
“Those who are reaching to learn and better themselves in the industry should be rewarded and supported and promoted,” Kelly said.
Information about Zone 9 grants and scholarships are updated annually on the USHJA Zone 9 Scholarships and Grants page.
All grants are currently closed for the 2015 competition year, but check back in 2016 for the new opportunities!