Monday, January 28, 2008


Hi, everyone!

The last day of the clinic proved to be a challenging one for me, with a course that asked many questions of the horse and rider. The horse I was riding in the clinic, Caruso, a green, six year old who was recently imported, was rather fresh and was switched to a pelham bit for the final day of the clinic. Unfortunately, just as the horse seemed to be getting quiet after several repetitions of the some of the lines in the course, he became green in the mouth, and we crashed the second jump and down I went. So, I got up with the resolve to fix the problem - of course the fixing was directed by Mr. Morris himself - and we finished the line in good form. Mr. Morris was quite complementary and the crowd gave me a round of applause after my last attempt to conquer the horse's difficulties.

When I reflect on the experiences of the final day and the week as a whole, my thoughts and conclusions are as follows. When you put in one hundred and fifty percent effort both mentally and physically, you can get the maximum benefit of whatever you are doing. When you feel privileged that you have gotten to know a talented, young horse and appreciative of the great riders and informative clinicians involved, the time spent is even more worthwhile. I am thankful for the sponsors, organizations and innovators of the clinic's development and recognize that without their time and effort, the program would not have been such a success .

Catch up with me later this week for an answer to one of your recent questions.
Thank you for your continued support!
Maria Schaub

Friday, January 25, 2008


Hi, everyone!

Today (Day 4), the two groups of four riders participated in a flat lesson without stirrups. Mr. Morris' lesson began with exercises that were directed at improving the rider, i.e.; regulating your walk, trot and canter, with one hand; turning your toe clockwise and counter clockwise while keeping you leg in position; keeping your seat in the saddle while you open and close your leg, and; placing your leg in front of the saddle while you canter. He has continuously and repeatedly stressed throughout the four days of the workshop that riding with your thumb on top of the reins is vital.

When the group's lesson switched to exercises that focused more on the horse, the riders rode a line of cavaletti in the walk, trot, and canter while placing their hands on their head, chest, hip and, back (he cautioned that this exercise needed to be introduced to riders gradually). In addition, the participants rode in serpentine and figure eight patterns, executed the half halt in circles and demonstrated haunches in and haunches out. One of the highlights of the day was watching Mr. Morris ride, Streetwise, a horse belonging to Beezie Madden and ridden in the clinic by Karl Cook. In a very short period of time, Mr. Morris had the horse looking very flexible and elastic!

The lecture today on course designing was presented by Steve Stephens. Initially, Mr. Stephens spoke about his approach to designing courses for the young jumper and children's divisions with an emphasis on the course elements being geared toward the horse and rider's developmental level. The lecture addressed how course elements present different questions to the horse/rider combination such as the placement of the triple combinations, rollback turns and Swedish Oxers. Mr. Stephens believes that a "course designer's responsibility is to make your horse go better, with a nice track and competition."

After the lecture on course designing, the riders set up the course for the jumping clinic scheduled for day five.

Catch up with me tomorrow with some thoughts about the final day.
Talk to you later.
Maria Schaub

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Hi, everyone!

Today on day 3, the riders participated in a gymnastics lesson and listened to a two-part lecture on horse and rider bio mechanics.

The horse I am privileged to ride in the clinic is coming seven in 2008, and the tough part of the course required some finessing and reworking but, eventually, we managed to execute it. As usual, the lessons and presentations are full of information - even my mother is in the audience taking notes every day! Again, I thought I would share a quote from the day so you could get a sense of what the clinic is like.

George H. Morris - "There is nothing more important than soft arms."

Catch up with me tomorrow for more on day four of the training session.
Talk to you later!
Maria Schaub

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Hi everyone!

Today was very busy, starting with a gymnastics lesson, followed by three lectures and the usual care and feeding of the horses. Since there was a vast amount of information conveyed to the riders and clinic auditors during each segment , and it would be virtually impossible to communicate all of the information to you, I decided to share some of the significant quotes of the day, so you can get an idea about my clinic experience.

George H. Morris "The crest release - you need to outgrow it. Old habits die hard. You retard the horses movement with the crest release."

Dr. Timothy Ober "Try to keep your horse from limping. You as the rider are responsible for your horse's soundness."

Dr. Katie Young "Maturity at time of harvest is the most important factor influencing the quality of hay. As the plant gets older, the fiber becomes less digestible."

Catch up with me tomorrow with another update on the clinic!
Talk to you then,
Maria Schaub

More Horsemastership Coverage

More related stuff you might like...

Go to for daily postcards from the George Morris Horsemastership Training Session and online diary entries by Katie Faraone who won John and Beezie's 2007 Week with the Maddens contest and is in FL spending her week with them. You'll also find links for entering the 2008 Horsemastership Sweeps and Week with the Maddens Contest.

Kate Lindon Content Manager

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Hi, everyone!

Today, on the first day of the clinic, after an introduction to the mentor grooms, and feeding, watering, bedding and tacking up the horses, the eight clinic participants were divided into two groups of four and rode in a flat work session with Mr. Morris at 9:00am and 11:15am, respectively. I was assigned Margie Engle as my mentor groom.

Mr. Morris' lesson began with a discussion and demonstration of working your horse on the flat using the four gaits; the walk, the trot, the canter and the gallop with an emphasis on the horse's gait being regular with rhythmic impulsion and pace. While the riders demonstrated the various gaits, he spoke of how flat work with repetition helped to condition the three areas of the horse's body in a very specific order: the hind quarters, then, the shoulders, and finally, the head and the neck. Mr. Morris asked the riders to demonstrate a half turn on the haunches, circles and figure eights while collecting and lengthening their horse's strides to allow the horse to become active from behind and soft in the front.

In the afternoon, the participants and spectators attended a presentation by Melanie Smith-Taylor about the importance of being a thinking rider. Ms. Smith-Taylor stressed the significance of educating oneself about riding by reading some of the classic riding books (one of my favorites was written by William Steinkraus) and by asking questions of your trainers and mentors. She stressed how trust, acceptance and awareness of your own judgement and thinking were key elements of success.

Catch up with me tomorrow for another snapshot of this very special clinic.
Thanks for your continued support!
Talk to you tomorrow,
Maria Schaub

Monday, January 21, 2008


Hi, everyone!

The Wellington circuit started last week and my days have been filled with working, riding and trying to absorb everything I can about horse care and the horse industry.
Recently, someone asked whether I would be taking lessons from other professionals.
My answer is unequivocally, yes - as much as possible! I want to learn as much as I can and when the opportunity presents itself, I would be eager and excited to learn by taking a lesson.

Speaking of lessons, this week marks the beginning of a special and wonderful opportunity for myself and seven of my peers, the participation in the George Morris Horsemastership Training Session. Today, all of the riders set up their horse's stalls, brought in the necessary supplies and essentials, as well as transported their horses to the special designated tent at the South grounds, (formerly Littlewood Farm) in Wellington. Frank Madden, who will be one of the mentor grooms during the week long program, was kind enough to secure an opportunity for me to ride a seven year old, named Caruso, in the clinic this week.

Tonight, all the riders, trainers, their parents as well as the administrators, supporters and sponsors of the clinic, were invited to a reception in honor of this week's special program. John Madden, equestrian coach, organizer of the Syracuse Invitational Sport horse Tournament, and the innovator of the week long program, spoke initially about his vision for the clinic and, then, he introduced the Olympic Coach, George Morris. Mr. Morris spoke to the crowd about the importance of horsemanship while acknowledging it's historical significance and foundation in several of the grassroots equestrian organizations in the United States. His speech was clearly an inspiration for those who were privileged to be in attendance.

If you can travel to Wellington, Florida, this week, be sure to audit the program, for free!
Catch up with me tomorrow for some thoughts about the first full day of the clinic.
Thanks for your continued support.
Talk to you later.
Maria Schaub

Thursday, January 10, 2008

George H Morris Horsemastership Program- Who was selected

As I explained when I last posted, I have been working as a rider in Wellington, Florida for the winter circuit. Since the last blog, I have managed to secure several more assignments with different barns and professionals. I am acquiring some new and valuable skills riding young horses and the experience thus far has been awesome.

Today, I wanted to let you know who was selected for the Horsemastership program scheduled for January 22-26 at the South Grounds (formerly Littlewood Farm), in Wellington, Florida. But, before I give you the names of the eight riders who will be participating in the program this year, I wanted to thank and acknowledge all of the sponsors and organizations who are supporting and contributing to this unique and special experience for young riders - Bates Saddles, Stadium Jumping, the US Equestrian Federation, Purina Mills, the US Equestrian Team Foundation, the US Hunter Jumper Association, the Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament and Practical Horseman Magazine. Additionally, I wanted to thank all of the volunteers, mentor grooms, clinic instructors and the Olympic coach, George Morris for their contributions to this unique and innovative program.

Eight young riders will be attending the week long program this year. They have been selected based on their 2007 standing on the Bates Equitation Ranking and/or their performance during some of the 2007 major fall championships, such as the United States Equestrian Federation Talent Search Finals - East and West, and the USEF Junior Jumper Championship. The riders included in addition to myself are Kimberly McCormack, Jennifer Waxman, Carolyn Curcio, Tina Dilandri, Nikko Ritter, Aurora Griffin, Karl Cook.

I am appreciative and thankful for the opportunity to participate in the Horsemastership program!
Catch up with me next week when I attempt to answer another one of your recent questions.
Talk to you later!
Maria Schaub

Monday, January 07, 2008

2008 Horsemastership Schedule

Maria is one of eight riders slated to ride in the 2008 George Morris Horsemastership Training Session, January 22-26, 2008, in Wellington, Fla. There is no fee for auditors.

View the schedule of events that are open to the public: Horsemastership Training Session Schedule