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Karen Robertson on Carlos at the Rose City Opener National Hunter Derby, Bend, Oregon (photo courtesy of Barbara Dudley).

TSB author Karen Robertson mulls over her upcoming date with The One and Only.

I started considered riding in a George Morris clinic in recent years. I know, I know… most of you are probably wondering why on earth I’d throw myself into the fire like that. And you’re right – I’m kind of freaking out about it. I’ve been freaking out for months! I haven’t ridden without stirrups enough and I’m not someone who rides five horses a day with a perfect position. George is sure to tell me my stirrup isn’t the correct angle on the ball of my foot, my leg isn’t strong enough, my hand isn’t educated enough, and that I sit “like a soup sandwich.” If I’m really lucky, he might even run behind me with a longe whip while I struggle to jump the water.

All that makes my heart race. Over the past five months I haven’t gone a day without thinking about the clinic. It truly scares me to put myself on a horse in front of George. He has laid eyes on every great hunter or jumper rider in the world for over six decades…and now he’s going to lay eyes on me.

Gulp.

I’m doing this for two reasons: My riding has in the last decade or so (I’m 39) begun resembling correct fundamentals to the extent that I think I can hold my own in this particular clinic that has a 1.00 meter group. And secondly, I helped George pen UNRELENTING, his no-holds-barred autobiography published last year. Working on UNRELENTING with George was like getting a whole new education on my best-loved sport. Just by being in George’s orbit, my ambition caught fire to work harder, be bolder, and take more risks. I’ve watched a dozen clinics first-hand over the past five years, and I know what he expects from riders. Now it’s my turn. And in one week, my friend and I will drive seven hours north with our horses to Potcreek Meadow Farm in Washington to ride with George.

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Karen and George working on UNRELENTING in September 2015 (photo courtesy of Barbara Dudley).

Hang on, I had to put my head between my knees and breath deeply for a second there. Whew. Okay. I’m back.

What will it be like for me to ride with George? To feel those eyes that have an unmatched ability to instantly size up a rider and horse and then, in every pair’s case, fit a specific but well-worn key of wisdom into the right lock to help them reach their potential? What will it feel like to hear his deep, satisfied cry of “Thaaaaat’s it!” if I deliver what he commands?

I can only imagine how it will feel, but I hope that I have enough calm in my mind that I can absorb and enjoy the experience. No matter how well I ride each clinic day or what mistakes I ride through, the bottom line is that I will be riding with him: the timid boy too afraid to be off the lead line who became The Godfather of Hunt Seat Equitation and Chef d’Equipe of the Olympic Show Jumping Team; the reproach-impervious master who walks the fiery line between motivator and intimidator; the same coach who fifty years ago inspired a wily crew of American women to reach beyond their wildest dreams on the international show jumping stage and end the decades-long reign of European men.

George is also my dear friend. When I first met him in 2013, it took only hours for us to form a kinship that transcended the book and the horse world. With a kind of glee, we recognized in each other the same kind of professional ambition flanked by a sometimes reckless need for letting ourselves go and being wild. We grew close over the three years, and he listened kindly and gave me advice when I had hardship in my life. George shared his thoughts and feelings with me unreservedly, and I had the honor to hear hundreds of hours of stories from his life…only some of which made the book but which all fit together to help me understand how he wanted to tell his story. I was struck with awe and amusement in the moments I looked in at myself – sitting across from him at lunch or next to him as he drove the car or by his bedside interviewing him – when I wondered, “How did I get here? How is this my life? This is absolutely unbelievable that I get to be here.” It made me want to cry and laugh and collapse in wonder.

Riding with George will be a whole new relationship paradigm for us, and I will ride onto that grass field with no expectations for special treatment. I know he will measure me in a new way: as a rider and horsewoman rather than a writer and a friend. I’m a little afraid that he might lose respect for me if I’m not a sharp enough rider, but I hope so completely that this experience will bring us even closer.

This is scary, to take this risk. But sometimes you say yes to scary and the rewards are better than any ordinary day ever could be.

When I asked my childhood show jumping heroes during interviews for UNRELENTING what it was like to have George take them to the ring when the stakes were high, they all said that their trust in George and his belief that they could win made them feel like they could jump anything – A house! The moon! Besides the incredible learning opportunities, and taking to heart the critical comments (of which there are bound to be many), what I really want to feel in the clinic is just one moment where his voice lifts me up and I feel invincible.

 

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Karen and Carlos at HITS Coachella Desert Circuit, January 2016 (photo by Jose Ruiz).

Read Karen Robertson’s follow-up post, written after her clinic with George Morris, here.

 

UNRELENTING by George Morris with Karen Robertson, is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information.

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont. 

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newwebsite

For over 30 years, a small group of horse people based on a farm in rural Vermont has produced books and DVDs on all things horse. An enterprise that began with Sally Swift’s now classic CENTERED RIDING—one of the bestselling equestrian books of all time—soon included titles spanning all breeds and disciplines. Today, Trafalgar Square Books is proud to continue to strive to publish quality instructional books and DVDs, for every horse person, and always “for the good of the horse.”

With the launch of our new website and online bookstore at www.horseandriderbooks.com, TSB aims to not only share our newest titles with the public, but also provide news and information related to our stable of talented authors: the top riders, trainers, and equine bodywork and horse care professionals in the industry. Visitors will find:

20off

CLICK TO SAVE 20% WHEN YOU ORDER TODAY!

• Tips, exercises, and interviews on our blog (this one!)

Video trailers that provide engaging tours of our newest books and DVDs

• Sales, contests, and special giveaways

• A calendar announcing upcoming author events

• Easy, mobile-friendly access to our bookstore, where you receive free shipping in the United States

In addition, TSB offers free downloads of sample chapters from our newest titles and great deals on money-saving sets from your favorite authors or your chosen discipline! Resellers can scan our inventory of over 600 books and DVDs, get updates on important upcoming release dates, and download press releases for reference and promotion.

Come visit TSB at www.horseandriderbooks.com. We’re excited to share our books, DVDs, and incredible equestrian authors with you!

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HorseandRiderBooks

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TSBbooks

Hang with us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/horseandriderbooks/

 

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Every year as we turn the page on one year and look forward to the next, we glance back through the months prior and the books and DVDs we published. It is always rewarding to review the results of our work and to know that hopefully, there are a few happier, healthier horses out there.

We hope that 2017 brings you many great rides and peaceful moments with your horse. Happy New Year!

 

TSB 2016 Books and DVDs

 

THE DRESSAGE HORSE MANIFESTO by Yvonne Barteau

A Grand Prix dressage rider and performer, Barteau lets her horses do the talking in this book about it truly takes to train through the levels, according to each horse’s individual needs.

 

JOURNEY TO SOFTNESS by Mark Rashid

The renowned horseman shares personal anecdotes, as well as stories written by others in his life, that shed light on the concept of softness between horse and rider.

 

UNRELENTING by George H. Morris with Karen Robertson

The autobiography of the “Godfather” of American equestrianism—the real story of his life, told in his own words, while tracing the trajectory of international equestrian competition over the past 70 years.

 

FIT TO RIDING IN 9 WEEKS! by Heather Sansom

A certified fitness trainer and riding coach, Sansom provides a specific workout to improve your riding skills and abilities with only 30 minutes, 3 days a week, for 9 weeks.

 

LONG-REINING WITH DOUBLE DAN HORSEMANSHIP by Dan James and Dan Steers with Kayla Starnes

The popular Australian duo explain basic long-reining techniques that anyone can use: safe, controlled groundwork to improve communication with and responsiveness in the horse.

 

OUT OF THE WILD by Mark Rashid

The first novel by master storyteller Rashid, now a major motion picture, about down-and-out cowboy Henry McBride, dude-ranch owner Jessie King, and an injured Mustang.

 

HORSE SPEAK by Sharon Wilsie and Gretchen Vogel

Sold out before the first print-run even reached our warehouse, this instant bestseller is the first equine-human translation guide, with easy steps to having conversations with horses in their language.

 

FERGUS: A HORSE TO BE RECKONED WITH by Jean Abernethy

The world’s most popular cartoon horse is back, and this time a Lad tries to convince him that being partners might not be so bad—for ages 5 to 95!

 

HORSE MASSAGE: LIGHT TO THE CORE by Jim Masterson

The Masterson Method that takes do-it-yourself bodywork “beyond horse massage” has helped horses achieve comfort all around the world. Now Masterson provides “Light Touch” options that are incredibly effective.

 

BRAIN TRAINING FOR RIDERS by Andrea Monsaratt Waldo

Tame that “Lizard Brain” with fun, effective techniques that ease anxiety, improve performance, and overcome fear from psychotherapist, riding coach, and competitor Andrea Waldo.

 

MINI SCHOOL by Sabine Ellinger

A paperback re-release of the bestselling how-to training book for Miniature Horse and small pony owners, with in-hand work, dressage, conditioning, and favorite tricks, plus so much more.

 

ACUPRESSURE FOR HORSES by Dr. Ina Gösmeier

The veterinarian for the German national and international equestrian teams gives readers acupressure basics anyone can use to help keep horses comfortable and performing their best.

 

UTA GRÄF’S EFFORTLESS DRESSAGE PROGRAM by Uta Gräf with Friederike Heidenhof

Grand Prix dressage rider Uta Gräf has made a name in international dressage circles for her wild hair and happy horses—here she outlines her diverse and natural training concepts.

 

FINDING THE MISSED PATH by Mark Rashid

Rashid returns to explain the art of restarting horses—the first of his many popular books to include color photographs.

 

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small company based on a farm in rural Vermont.

Here’s what we published in:

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

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santa

 

If Santa drove a team of horses,

he’d need them completely spook-free.

He’d give them a course

called Bombproof Your Horse

to make them as brave as can be.

 

If Santa drove a team of horses,

they’d have to be ready and willing.

Over, Under, and Through

with the moon full or new

(and without any tipping or spilling!)

 

If Santa drove a team of horses,

he’d want them to understand his directions.

With Horse Speak he’d know

how to stop, how to go,

how to praise and make gentle corrections.

 

If Santa drove a team of horses,

there’d be groundwork before they could fly.

A little Long-Reining

and some Liberty Training

would ensure happy trails in the sky.

 

If Santa drove a team of horses,

he’d have their well-being in mind.

He’d be sure they weren’t sore

with massage Light to the Core,

and his hands always soft, always kind.

 

If Santa drove a team of horses,

he’d want his head clear as could be.

With Pressure-Proof coaching

the holiday approaching

would be completely anxiety-free.

 

If Santa drove a team of horses,

we’d wait up late to sneak a quick look,

we’d hear nickers and hooves

as they land on the rooves

Delivering presents (and really good horse books!)

 

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Wishing all a safe and joyful holiday…from our horses to yours.

–The Trafalgar Square Books Staff

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

 

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GHM-magic

As we watch the Olympic Team Jumping Qualification and the jubilation in the Brazilian camp as members rack up clear rounds in search of a place on the podium in front of their home crowd, we are no doubt a little sad to acknowledge that in Rio, George Morris is focused on the success of someone other than our own American riders. It is, of course, the way of the equestrian world for the most talented coaches to cross international borders on a regular basis, and so we cannot be surprised that George was eventually tempted to help the country he admits is one of his “absolute favorite places” go for gold.

But if the Brazilians do keep it up and George is, in fact, making magic in Rio, one can’t help but wonder if he’s had to apply the same kind of tough love that has not only been his clinic calling card for decades, but also helped guide the US to their success in countless World Equestrian Games, World Championships, and Olympics of years past.

“In 2005, George Morris took over the role of Chef d’Equipe of the U.S. Show Jumping Team,” writes Olympic silver and gold medalist Chris Kappler in his foreword to UNRELENTING, George’s bestselling autobiography, which was released earlier this year. “Shortly after, I received a call from a member of one of his first Nations Cup teams. ‘How did you do this?’ the rider asked. ‘Chris, how did you work for George for twenty years?’ As the new Chef, George was pushing limits…Commanding specific attitudes, turnout, and professionalism, he expected an extraordinary commitment…I have experienced first-hand the zealous pursuit of excellence for which George is famous. ‘If you can take my pressure cooker,’ George would always say, ‘the Olympics will seem like nothing.’”

“I always had childhood dreams of going to the Olympics someday,” adds five-time Olympian Anne Kursinksi in UNRELENTING. “With George’s encouragement…I made it…Horsemanship and what it took to have an Olympic level horse was George’s passion, and it was contagious! George had vision and made it all happen; he took us all with him. It was an amazing time. George helped you figure out how to be your absolute best. For him, there is no other way to be in life.”

Excellence. Passion. Vision. Absolute best. This is where the magic begins, and I can’t begrudge another from wanting to sample from the fountain of success. Ultimately, George’s willingness to share his wealth of knowledge helps improve the level of horsemanship and elevate the level of competition, worldwide. I, for one, can’t wait to see the results.

TSB wishes all riders and horses in the Olympic Equestrian Jumping Competition the best of luck. Have fun, ride safe, and enjoy the remarkable partnership that helped you reach the pinnacle of the sport!

UNRELENTING by George H. Morris is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

ORDER NOW and SAVE with our OLYMPIC FEVER SALE! Click here.

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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Rio2016

Who doesn’t get bored going in circles? Olympic Equestrian and TSB author Ingrid Klimke says that riding over cavalletti on circles and half-circles can be a welcome change, not only improving the rider’s seat so it is more secure and balanced, but developing “feel,” as well. And there are many benefits for the horse.

“Cavalletti work on circles and half-circles helps to loosen the horse, and can rectify stiffness on one side or the other, so the horse bends and flexes equally in both directions,” she writes with her father Reiner Klimke in their bestselling book CAVALLETTI. “If a horse is not straight, he will often lose rhythm – this where cavalletti work can help by restoring elasticity and encouraging the placing of the hind feet under the center of gravity.

“Over poles, the horse does not have the chance to step out to the side with the hind legs. The length of stride and placing of the feet is so precise that the horse maintains rhythm by himself. It takes very little practice before the hind feet step into the tracks of the front feet—and the horse becomes straight.

“Riding over cavalletti on circles is especially beneficial for training the horse’s inside hind leg to take weight. Because of this it can be quite strenuous, so avoid doing it for too long.”

Cavalletti1

Set up cavalletti on a circle. One exercise Ingrid recommends is on either end of a figure eight. Pick up a working trot, circling in your horse’s stronger (better) direction, keeping sure your seat light.

2  Just before the cavalletti, move your hands slightly forward, and ride exactly over the center of the cavalletti. If all goes well, change direction, and ride over the cavalletti in the other direction. The aim is to work the horse evenly on both sides, to work on lateral bend and suppleness through the ribs.

3  After working on the circle, do some exercises on the straight: ride forward on the long sides of the arena to re-establish freedom of movement. Riding forward helps overcome any stiffness or resistance.

Cavalletti2

Ride over the center of the cavalletti again, but now on each subsequent circle, make the circle bigger, moving out to where the space between cavalletti is larger, so the horse has to stretch more, making his steps bigger. This means that the inside hind foot must push off the ground with more energy and at the same time take more weight. At this point it is easy to cross the boundary between training to build muscle and straining muscles. For this reason, this exercise should only be repeated a few times, riding each circle just once in each direction every time.

5  Gradually bring the lesson to a finish. It is important to ride some easy exercises that the horse is familiar with at the end of the session. Finishing on a good note makes work the next day twice as easy. After working on circles a few times, allow the horse to stretch.

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

For more cavalletti exercises from Ingrid Klimke, check out her book CAVALLETTI, available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

And if you are a dressage rider, don’t miss Ingrid’s new DVD series TRAINING FOR DRESSAGE HORSES—the first level is now available!

TSB wishes Ingrid Klimke and all Olympic equestrians the best of luck in Rio 2016!

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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UNRELENTING FINAL

 

Ever wonder…

 

What makes George Morris laugh?

What makes him cry?

How many dates he’s been on?

Whether he’s ever gotten high?

 

If he loved his mom?

If he ever poled a horse?

When he first fell in love?

If he’s ever gone off course?

 

We’ve waited so long for

George to share the whole story.

The truth, uncensored,

His lowest lows; his Olympic glory.

 

Stay tuned, get psyched,

In March it is coming!

Meet the real George Morris

In his new book: UNRELENTING.

 

Trafalgar Square Books (www.horseandriderbooks.com) is proud to announce the March 2016 publication of UNRELENTING: The Real Story—Horses, Bright Lights, and My Pursuit of Excellence by George H. Morris with Karen Robertson Terry. The hardcover autobiography is 560 pages and features over 250 photographs from George’s personal collection.

Follow UNRELENTING the Book on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram:

Facebook: CLICK HERE

Twitter: CLICK HERE

Instagram: CLICK HERE

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