National Horse Show and Family Festival Manager Michael Morrissey Prepares for 124th Edition of Prestigious Event
RELEASE: August 30, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Phelps Media Group
In his seventh year of managing the National Horse Show and Family Festival, Michael Morrissey has seen some changes in the event, but all were for the better. This year's 124th National Horse Show and Family Festival will be held on December 5-9, 2007, at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, FL.
Although the show is held after December 1, all points from the National Horse Show and Family Festival will count towards the 2007 USEF year-end awards.
Originating in 1883, the National Horse Show encompasses more history of horse sport in America than most events. The show was a staple on the fall indoor circuit and was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City, as well as other locales in the New York City area.
Since its move to Wellington six years ago, the National Horse Show has grown each year, and it still works to maintain the dignity and stature that it had before. "I think it's a great achievement for Wellington to be able to host the National Horse Show," Morrissey stated. "Even though we're not at the Garden, we try and keep its prestige and keep it special. So far, it's been preserved as a special show and something that people want to achieve."
Changes and improvements have been made each year, and 2007 is no different.
The show will host the Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship again this year after a huge, successful class in 2006. Last year's winner was Olympic Gold medalist McLain Ward of Brewster, NY. The first phase of the competition will be a $25,000 class held on Friday evening, while Phase Two is on Sunday afternoon and offers $100,000 in prize money. The National Show Jumping Champion will be decided by points and multipliers from the two classes. Riders must be entered in both phases in order to be eligible for the championship.
The rated hunters have a big change to their schedule this year. Each division of the professional, junior and amateur hunters will have a $3,000 stake class. The National Horse Show Hunter Championship will offer $25,000 in prize money. Any horse that shows in a rated division at the National Horse Show is eligible to enter the championship. Both rounds will be held on Saturday afternoon in the International Arena, and riders will enter Round One with a clean slate. The top 12 horses from Round One will advance to Round Two to decide the championship.
Dressage at the National is scheduled again for this year, and classes for some of the best dressage horses and riders in the country will be held on Friday, December 7, through Sunday, December 9. Adult and children's hunters are also slated for the agenda.
Planning and running the National Horse Show and Family Festival is a year-round task, and Morrissey is at the head of it all. "I will have my eye on everything. There are different people who are head of special events and such, but I try to make sure things run smoothly, as best I can," he said with a smile.
In mid-October, Stadium Jumping, Inc., crews will begin setting up the structures of the horse show, including stabling tents, the Diamond Horseshoe Club VIP tent, chalets and special event tents. They will rework all of the rings and add material where needed. At the National Horse Show and Family Festival, exhibitors and spectators will be able to see the brand-new footing and grass installed in the International Arena since this winter.
Friday night's "Jumping Under the Stars" gala is sure to be another exciting party for everyone involved. In addition to Phase One of the Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship, spectators will get to see the professional hunter championship presentations. On the weekend, youngsters can enjoy the Children's Fair, and families can peruse the Taste of Wellington and the Wellington Chamber of Commerce's Business Expo.
Morrissey has seen shifts in attendance, among other things, in his seven years at