George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Award Created
RELEASE: February 28, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Equestrian Sport Productions
A George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Award open to U.S., Canadian and international riders ages 18 and younger is being offered for the first time at the 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival in honor of the rider who literally wrote the book on the discipline.
Designed to develop horsemanship among young riders and high standards of equitation, the inaugural event will be held over two nights—Friday night, March 14, and Saturday night, March 15—in the newly rebuilt International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Morris, along with reigning Olympic Gold medalist Rodrigo Pessoa, four-time U.S. Olympic team member Anne Kursinski and others will judge the two-round event and award the winner a scholarship sponsored by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, the management company for PBIEC and the CN Winter Equestrian Festival presented by Zimmerman Advertising.
The event offers young riders the opportunity to participate in an exciting combination of competition and education in which the finest horsemen in the world critique their skills and utilize the latest technology by televising over a Jumbotron in the arena to educate and explain to both riders and spectators.
In the Saturday night final of the class, the top four riders will ride a horse of one of the other riders, selected by the judges, as one of the highlights of the $50,000 Americas vs. Europe CN Challenge.
The George H. Morris Equitation in Excellence class, the Europe vs. Americas Challenge, both under lights, and the $200,000 CN Worldwide Grand Prix on Sunday are all part of an action-packed weekend during the ninth week of the 12-week WEF.
The George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation class is open to riders ages 18 years and younger in 2008 and are jumping a minimum of three feet.
Riders who have placed first in a major equitation class in the United States, Canada or comparable international class, including the USEF Talent Search Medal, ASPCA Maclay, USEF Hunter Seat Medal, the Washington International Horse Show Medal in any of the hunter or jumper phases or overall at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, Littlewood Farm Equitation League Final, Jacksonville (Green Cove Springs), Gulfport Winter Series, HITS in Thermal, Ocala or Arizona, Canadian Equestrian Federation Medal and JumpCanada Medal classes.
Qualified riders must declare by 5 p.m. Thursday, March 13.
The preliminary specifications provide for the two rounds, the first Friday night over fences, and the second on Saturday, judged by two panels, one headed by Morris with Pessoa, another panel to be appointed and by Anne Kursinski in the warm-up area.
All of the judges, including Kursinski in the warm-up area, will score the riders. The riders will not be allowed to communicate with their trainers or any other person during the competition.
The winner will receive two weeks with a parent or guardian at the 2009 Winter Equestrian Festival, a stall, housing allowance (if needed), VIP seating to all events, a travel allowance (if needed to a maximum of $500), lessons with a top trainer to be determined, parking and exhibitor passes, a rental car in Wellington, if necessary, for the two weeks of the scholarship and a food allowance to enable the young rider to fully enjoy the WEF experience.
"I am honored that an event of such prestige and importance has been created in my name for an aspect of horsemanship that has been near and dear to my heart for so much of my life," said Morris, who has been the chef d'equipe for the U.S. Equestrian Team for more than three years and will lead the squad at this year's Olympic Games.
Morris began riding as a child and won the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Finals and the AHSA Hunt Seat Equitation Medal Final at Madison Square Garden in 1952 at the age of 14, the youngest rider to ever do so. He won the Team S