A few weeks ago Cody Wooten, a Centenary College student, gave HJU an insider’s perspective on what it’s like to ride in the George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Session. We thought it would be fun to see what Cody was up post-George, and to find out more about his experience with The Great One. Cody’s on winter break from school, so he’s taken the opportunity to get some show miles at the Wellington Equestrian Festival.
On his top ‘takeaway’ from the Session, both on horseback and off: The most important thing I learned on horseback is to always demand respect and compliance from the horse, but never to have a temper or get angry at the horses. If we respect them, they respect us. The most important thing I learn off horseback was the importance of fitness for your competition horse. I especially would like to highlight the fact that there is a direct correlation between fitness and the soundess of your horse.
Favorite afternoon session: My favorite afternoon session was probably the one with Dr. Ober, the veterinarian, because I learned so many things and my interests are a lot involved with the science and veterinary aspect of the horses.
When George rode his mare: When George got on Adessa I was thinking “Yay! My horse is getting schooled by the best!” I was really excited to see him work with her and when I got on she felt very relaxed and soft in the mouth.
His ESPN highlight reel moment: I think my favorite “highlight reel” would be jumping the open water, because it was so fun and my horse was so good at it!
Did he ever have a big “Whoops!” moment and how did he handle it (Because, really, goofing up in front of George? Recipe for therapy): My goof moment was on the first day when I cantered up to an oxer and missed my distance. Usually when that happens I try to forget about it, and come around again and do it better the next time. (Amy’s note: Is that a ‘youth’ thing? I would love to be able to do that. I carry the angst of a missed distance the whole rest of the way around the course.)
On his favorite memory off the horse: My favorite off the horse moment was a compilation of all the fun times we as a collective group had, and meeting so many great and fun people! (Amy’s note: Cody is clearly an old pro at this interview thing; he gives very diplomatic answers. Next time we press harder for details!)
Did he know his fellow riders before the Session: I knew a few but I didn’t know all of the other people in the clinic. During the week we had activities together and a few dinners so we got to know each other well.
Favorite thing about Wellington/WEF? Weirdest thing? Best place to hang out?: My favorite thing about Wellington is how close everything is to the horse show! It’s all within walking distance. The weirdest thing is probably trotting on the path next to the road where people are driving their cars! A fun place to hang out is the Saturday night classes because everyone goes and it’s a great place to see old friends!
On what’s next on his agenda: Right now I’m riding and showing in the hunters and jumpers at WEF, and then I will be heading back to school in New Jersey for the semester, and then find a job/internship with a professional for the summer!
I’d like to say a huge HJU thank you to Cody for his willingness to take us along on the ride with him!
You can watch Cody and the other riders in the George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Session on-demand on the USEFNetwork.