George H. Morris is a legend in the international show jumping world, with more than 50 years of influence on the top level of sport. Morris made an impression early, winning the two prestigious U.S. equitation finals of the Medal and ASPCA Maclay Finals at age 14 in 1952. During the years of 1958 through 1960, he jumped on eight Nations Cup-winning teams for the United States. In 1959, he earned team gold at the Pan American Games and then team silver at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Italy. He continued to win all over the world at the top levels while establishing a remarkably successful training business.
Morris spent the majority of his career in the metropolitan New York area, and even lived in New York City for a few years in the early ‘60s while pursuing his passion for acting and then beginning his teaching business. In 1971, he started the iconic training stable Hunterdon in New Jersey, where generations of top riders like Katie Prudent, Anne Kursinski, Chris Kappler, and more would train.
Morris served as the chef d’equipe of the U.S. Equestrian show jumping team from 2005 until 2012. Led by him, they won the 2005 Samsung Super League series and team silver at the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games and team gold at the 2008 Olympic Games. At the 2011 Pan American Games, the U.S. team won team gold and individual gold and silver. In addition, a longtime Morris student, Rich Fellers, won the 2012 FEI World Cup Final.
Morris is renowned as a clinician, having taught riders of all levels all over the world. He’s also a noted judge. At the Longines Masters of New York, he’ll preside over the inaugural IHSA Metropolitan Equitation Invitational alongside grand prix rider Brianne Goutal-Marteau, who duplicated Morris’ Medal/Maclay Finals double-winning feat in 2005.
Q: What are you looking forward to about the Longines Masters of New York on April 25-28?
A: “Being a born-and-bred New Yorker, it’s great to see another big indoor show coming to New York. It’s exciting for the New York area to have this caliber of international riders coming to the show.
I’m hoping to see great sport. I’ve heard that the footing is good and the fences are good. The level of competitors is excellent. It will be interesting to see the different scene beyond the sport. It is a savvy audience from the area.”
Q: What do you think about the inaugural IHSA Metropolitan Equitation Invitational?
“It’s nice that they’re including those [IHSA] riders and letting them experience a show on that scale. I judged the first IHSA show at West Point [in 1967] and I had to judge two rings side-by-side. I only had a few minutes to judge each class! He told me to judge by angles, because there was no time to do anything else. So, I judged by angles. It was a very good lesson in judging.”
The IHSA Metropolitan Equitation Invitational on Friday, April 26 features talented collegiate equestrians who compete in the Cacchione Cup and Open divisions of the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association. The participants draw to compete aboard horses, sight-unseen, on the flat and over a course of fences and will be judged on the riders’ effectiveness, style, and form. First, the riders compete over fences and the top 12 return to be judged on the flat.
“This is an incredible opportunity for our IHSA riders to compete at an event surrounded by the best in the world,” said Bob Cacchione, founder and executive director of the IHSA. “We are so proud of them and grateful to the Longines Masters and the EEM team for their support and providing this chance to share our catch-ride format.”
The Longines Masters of New York is an action-packed four days of competition and entertainment at the newly renovated NYCB LIVE, Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and it will offer unparalleled first-class sport, live music, delectable cuisine, high-end shopping, and more. Competition highlights include the exciting transatlantic speed duels of the Riders Masters Cup team competition; the Longines Speed Challenge, known as the “fastest class in the world;” and the ultimate test, the Longines Grand Prix of New York.
Being a spectator at the Longines Masters of New York and getting to witness the best in the world ride is easier than you might think, with ticket prices starting at just $25. There are discounted tickets for students on College Day on Friday, April 26, and on Family Day on Saturday, April 27, children 14 and under are admitted free with the purchase of an adult ticket. Special offers and prizes are also available for College Day and Family Day.
Established in Paris, Hong Kong, New York, and recently added, Lausanne, the Longines Masters Series was inspired by the legendary tennis Grand Slam. It is considered is one of the most prestigious equestrian events in the world. The American leg of the Longines Masters Series will feature international show jumping competition and unparalleled sport with the world's top-ranked equestrian athletes, as well as luxury shopping, dining and entertainment. Each Longines Masters event is broadcast in close to 100 countries and reaches up to 260 million households. For more information, visit www.LonginesMasters.com.
PHOTOS: George Morris and Lucy Davis by Jump Media-7965
George H. Morris, shown here with Olympic silver medalist Lucy Davis, is looking forward to judging the IHSA Metropolitan Equitation Invitational at the Longines Masters of New York.