Buffalo, NY – November 18, 2011 – The Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center (BTRC) hosted a popular and insightful clinic this past weekend, conducted by the world renowned trainer, rider and Chef d’Equipe of the United States Show Jumping Team, George H. Morris. His experience and knowledge have been invaluable to students attending the clinic for years, working to further each rider’s skills both in the aspects of horsemanship and riding. The clinic not only acted as a learning experience for riders, but it also raised funds to continue the progressive work of the BTRC.
A renowned horseman, Morris has played a crucial role, not only in the growth of countless notorious horses and riders, but also in the development of the current equestrian sport. He has often been referred to as the “founding father” of hunt seat equitation. Second to none, his teachings, technique, and style are admired around the world. His clinics are a rare and exceptional opportunity for riders of all levels and ages to learn from the finest.
Morris has family ties to Buffalo, and looks forward to the clinic each year. “It is always very nostalgic for me when I go back to Buffalo because my mother lived here for a while,” Morris explained. “My mother rode in that very ring, so it is very nostalgic going to Buffalo as I heard a lot about Buffalo growing up.”
SBS Executive Director Susan B. Schoellkopf organized the George H. Morris Educational Seminar. The purpose behind the clinic was for riders to gain firsthand knowledge for success in the sport. “Susie is a very very old friend; she’s a very experienced horse lady and is great as a trainer. She runs that clinic like a tight ship,” Morris continued. “It is a very spacious ring, has great footing and great fences. She organizes it and makes sure that everything goes properly. This year was great, but I always think that Susie and I are a great team, and that her professionalism and that of the organization help truly make the clinic a success.”
The clinic, held November 11-13, 2011, marked 25 years of Morris teaching at BTRC. Eight riders from three varying groups of experience (Intermediate, Advanced, Jumper) as well as auditors, gathered to experience Morris’ teaching and guidance. Joining the riders for this year’s clinic was also professional rider and trainer Jennifer Alfano who participated in both the Advance and Jumper phases of the program.
“I was just planning on the Advance portion, but participating in the Jumper section was so much fun, it was a different experience. George’s clinics focus on back-to-basics horsemanship, no matter what level the rider may be at. I think that he does an amazing job and everybody benefits from their time with him,” Alfano explained.
Throughout the duration of the clinic, Morris focused on teaching riders and auditors alike about proper horsemanship, correct riding, and the foundation of equitation. “George is the best teacher in the world, there is no teaching style, he created the system, he is the style,” Schoellkopf said. “He does an amazing job; I’ve had him here for 25 years. He starts at the basics with everybody and works through the problems from there.”
Based out of Buffalo, NY, SBS Farms’ Susie Schoellkopf and Jennifer Alfano run one of the foremost show hunter training operations in the country, and travel nationwide to compete in the nation’s most prestigious horse shows. Adding to their numerous accolades, Schoellkopf and Alfano both recently received prestigious awards; Schoellkopf was presented with the USHJA Presidents Distinguished Service Award, while Alfano was the highest grossing Hunter Rider in the country, as she earned over $400,000 last year.
SBS Farms, Inc. continues the proud tradition of the Saddle and Bridle Club as one of the top show stables in the northeast. Schoellkopf is also the Executive Director of the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, which houses both The Buffalo Equestrian Center as well as SBS Farms. Built in 1922, the 160-stall facility is a historical landmark, with its unique English Tudor and gothic style architecture. For more information on SBS Farms and the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center, please visit www.thebtrc.org.
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