The Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center (BTRC) welcomed exhibitors and auditors to its upstate New York facility on Nov. 6-8 for the 26th annual George H. Morris clinic.
This year, Morris taught in a personal setting with three groups of eight riders at varying levels-- intermediate, advanced and jumper. The intermediate group was first to go each day and included riders who were comfortable jumping at the 3' level. The advanced group followed with riders jumping at the 3'3" level. The final group were the jumper riders, who Morris schooled over 3'6" to 4' fences.
The clinic is custom to the BTRC's yearly schedule and is an event that many people ride in and audit each year.
"The clinic has become a tradition," said BTRC Executive Director Susie Schoellkopf. "We've done it for 26 years now. It raises the standard of riding for the area for sure; my barn included. And we get to see a lot of new and old friends that come from all over. It's a great way of getting people together and sharing George's knowledge.
"George gives such a great review of the basics," continued Schoellkopf. "This year we had a lot of area professionals participate, and I think that made it a really good clinic. George is amazing, and it's such a positive event. He has such a great system of teaching for three days."
The former United States chef d'équipe and "founding father of equitation" has taught many clinics over the years including the yearly BTRC clinic, but still aims to teach at the highest standard possible in every clinic he gives. He was especially pleased with this years' BTRC clinic and participating group of riders.
"Susie is an expert at organizing things, and this clinic she's done for years," said Morris. "The clinic was totally full with lots of auditors. Every clinic I give, I don't lower my game. I don't change. Every clinic I give, I give it my all. It was a great clinic and the standard of each level between all of the riders was excellent."
The clinic is also distinguished as part of the USHJA Trainer Certification Program. The program was developed to preserve the American Hunter/Jumper Forward Riding System through comprehensive education programs that will increase levels of certification for professional horse trainers. In order to receive and maintain certification, trainers are tested on a broad spectrum of relevant professional information including training techniques, safety of horse and rider, horsemanship skills and business ethics.
The George Morris clinic at the BTRC, as an addition to the program, offers professional trainers the chance to learn from the best in the business.
"It's a clinic that people who are applying for their trainer certification have to attend all three days of and it's a good stepping stone for their certification," said Schoellkopf. "George is one of the few that can cover all aspects of everything in one clinic."
In addition, all of the BTRC's clinics and events serve as fundraisers for its programs aimed at providing children with special needs the chance to ride and care for horses. Other previous clinicians include: Rodney Jenkins, Melanie Smith Taylor, Beezie Madden and Buck Brannaman.
Schoellkopf and the rest of the BTRC team thanks everyone for their continued support each year of the George Morris clinic and is thrilled to have another successful clinic in the books.
Based out of Buffalo, New York, SBS Farms, Inc.'s Susie Schoellkopf and Jennifer Alfano run one of the foremost show hunter training operations in the country, and travel nationwide to compete in the most prestigious horse shows.
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, Inc. Built in 1922, the 160-stall facility is a historical landmark, with its unique English Tudor and Gothic-style architecture.