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George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Class at WEF

George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Award Created Inaugural Event of USA, Canada Riders at WEF March 14, 2008

WELLINGTON, Fla., Feb. 14--A George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Award open to U.S., Canadian and international riders aged 18 and younger is being offered for the first time at the 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival to honor the rider who literally wrote the book on the discipline.

Designed to held 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 the 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 aged 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 warmup area.

All of the judges, including Kursinski in the warmup 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 silver medal at the 1960 Olympics before focusing on teaching and training that is as much in demand around the world today as it has been for almost 50 years. His roster of students includes several Olympic medalists.

Morris's book, "Hunter Seat Equitation," is a classic definitive work on the art of teaching and riding hunt seat.

Pessoa won the individual gold medal at the 2004 Olympics and won three consecutive World Cup finals--1998, 1999 and 2000--and three other top three finishes on Baloubet du Rouet.

Kursinski was on the U.S. team for four straight Olympic Games--Los Angeles in 1984, Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996--and is one of the most respected and successful riders in the world.

Entries should be made to:

George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation

Show Office - Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC

14440 Pierson Road

Wellington FL 33414

Tel: 561-793-5867 Fax: 561-753-3386

CN is a leader in North American and worldwide freight transportation. CN is the only railroad crossing North America east-west and north-south serving ports on the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts to link customers in all three NAFTA nations--the USA, Canada and Mexico. CN Worldwide makes global trade a reality.

Zimmerman Advertising, based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, is an Omnicom Group company and the 15th largest advertising agency in the U.S. Offices are in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco and Atlanta.

FTI exists to help companies and their stakeholders protect and enhance enterprise value. FTI is the trusted advisor entrenched in many of the game-changing events that make headlines, move markets and create business history.

Photo: George H. Morris leading the U.S. jumping team in the Parade of Nations at Aachen, Germany in 2007. Photo: Ken Braddick-HorseSport USA


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