Ultimately, Kent Farrington's team won with just 4 faults incurred over both rounds, but it was clear that all participants had a winning experience. "Obviously we're dealing with very talented riders or they wouldn't be here," Madden said. "In general, while we've missed George this week and also maybe a little continuity in the program, I also think there are advantages in that you got to work with a lot of different people and different ideas. There may be some you like and some you don't like, but there's always something you can take away from it."
"We had a great group of riders here," said Farrington. "If you're able to walk away with even just one new thing, then it's worthwhile."
"This was fun for us to teach," said Ward. "I think everyone's improved, and a common thread I saw was a positive attitude, which includes being enthusiastic about learning. You have to be sympathetic and open-minded to your horse to find solutions in training if you want to progress. All of these kids have great attitudes, and it comes through in their performance."
In thinking back over the week, 18-year-old Katie Dinan was excited by how much she had learned, even on perhaps the most challenging day: Friday's riding without stirrups session. "If you have fun in a lesson that's an hour and a half without stirrups, that's really saying something about what you're learning," she said with a laugh. "The work on our positions was really helpful, and then everything really came together today."
California's Taylor Harris appreciated the emphasis on horsemanship so she could "really communicate with my horse both in the barn and the show ring."
But for her, the most impressive aspect of the week was working with Olympic idols. "I was so nervous!" she exclaimed. "None of it, even working without stirrups, was like work. I just kept thinking, 'Wow, this is awesome.’ "
Day 1 at the 2012 George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Session.
Day 2 at the 2012 George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Session.
Day 3 at the 2012 George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Session.
Day 4 at the 2012 George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Session.