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The Rock-itt : February 2011
century. Morris, now the US show jumping team's chef d'equipe, was named one of the 50 Most Influential Horsemen of the 20th Century by magazine The Chronicle of the Horse. No-one in the world has coached more Olympic riders and international stars than George. Morris became an equestrian star at age 14 by winning the US's two most prestigious equitation championships in the same year, the AHSA Medal Final and the ASPCA Maclay Final. He then earned the team silver medal at the 1960 Olympics before turning his attention to teaching and training, although he returned to international competition in the late '80s, winning the world's richest grand prix. Alan Balch, former president of the U.S. Equestrian Federation, is quoted saying "Since the 1950s, George Morris has been the single most influential teacher of jumper riders in the nation." The line up of students at the two riding clinics has included some of Australia's leading riders including Vicki Roycroft, Stuart Tinney and Tom McDermott. The clinics were well supported by spectators, eager to learn from George's deep well of knowledge. The lessons were a running narrative on the philosophies of riding and training. George uses the students to demonstrate his theories to the crowd. Stories and examples from Jumping champions throughout time support his points. It is a riding/coaching/discipline and history lesson all rolled into one. He was always entertaining, in part due to his tendency to berate a student at any moment (although he admits to having mellowed considerably) but mostly due to his attention to detail. At 70 years-of-age, George climbs aboard horse after horse to show how it should be done. Northside Riding Club also hosted a cross country clinic on 23 January inviting two of the coaches from the Sydney Clinic, Annabel Armstrong and Hamish Cargil to the Princess Anne Arena at the St Ives Show ground. Both these coaches are currently competing on the Australian Eventing circuit and were able to impart a great deal of knowledge to the NRC riders before the Australia Day Hunter Trials Competition. Again the key points were rider position, rhythm and line were the focus of the lessons. Northside Riding Club is committed to providing a variety of learning opportunities to its members and is currently organising clinics with elite coaches such as Wayne Roycroft and Chris Burton. More details will be available soon on the website. Spectators are always welcome. www.northsideridingclub.org.au Gail Swadling has help from Annabel as she and Medley jump the brush fence Katrina Parbery and The Flying Patriarch enjoyed the help Annabel gave them with the difficult arrowhead fence Organiser Anwen Keeling provides a human wall to help one of the riders successfully navigate the NRC brush fence George Morris, at the age of 70 (and then some) still rides with precision and finesse Nicky Simmonds and Chance improve their position into a fence