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George Morris Excellence in Equitation to be Judged by USA Olympic Gold Medal Team

WELLINGTON, Fla., Mar. 13--The George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation, an invitational exhibition event, will be broadcast live on the Internet on Friday, Mar. 13 from the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

The entire 2008 U.S. Olympic team of Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, Laura Kraut, Will Simpson and Anne Kursinski, the reserve are joining George Morris in providing the junior riders the unique opportunity to have their equitation skills assessed by the USA gold medalists. Lauren Hough, who represented the U.S. at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, will join the panel as the judge of the schooling area which will be located within the International Arena where the main event will take place.

In only its second year as an invitational exhibition for junior riders, the event was created to honor the legendary George Morris, who led Team USA to the medals podium at the 2008 Olympics, the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games and the Samsung Super League.

The Internet broadcast can be viewed on http://www.equestriansport.com at no charge beginning at 4:30 p.m. Click on the red "Live Video"

or "Event Video" button to register for the event.

Grand Prix rider Jimmy Torano, an accomplished judge, will provide commentary of the event for the Internet broadcast.

The event can also be seen at 9 p.m. Saturday nght on WHDT Channel 44 in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties of South Florida and also available to Palm Beach County residents on DirecTV Channel 44 and Comcast Cable Channel 438 and ATT Channel 1044 in Miami-Dade.

Riders from across North America have qualified for the competition that will be over two rounds plus a Final Four ride-off. The course has been created by the Olympic riders and Anthony D'Ambrosio.

"This is an event that our Olympic team is delighted to be a part of for our junior riders," George Morris said. "What a wonderful opportunity to be assessed by riders of such caliber in an event that has been created so every one can enjoy the experience without pressure as it is an exhibition class."

Invitations to participate in the exhibition are extended to winners of any 2009 WEF USEF Hunt Seat Medal, ASPCA Maclay, USEF Talent Search or WIHS Overall, Hunter Phase and Jumper Phase classes held prior to March 13.

During the event, riders are solely responsible for the management, warm-up and schooling of their own horses, and make the course walk on their own.

The riders are scheduled to report to the ingate area of the International Arena at 4 p.m. to receive embroidered back packs from Equestrian Sport Productions, that manages PBIEC, and for a reading of the rules.

A group photo of the riders and the judges is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

The course walk by the riders follows immediately.

The first horse is scheduled to be on course at 5 p.m.

The event is divided into three rounds. All riders compete in the first round with 15 returning for the second round and the Final Four returning to determine the championship.

The course for Round 1 is scored over fences and may include gymnastics, trot fences, oxers, verticals and combinations. Open numerical scoring will be used.

For Round 2, about 15 riders will return to face a minimum of eight jumps with one simple change of lead and one flying change of lead.

The Final Four will return to the arena leading their mounts. The panel will designate which horse each will ride for the rideoff.

Awards will be presented to the top 10 riders, along with special awards for family and trainers. An award will also be presented for Best Equitation Horse selected by the judges.


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