The Washington International Horse Show is proud to announce its first inductee into the newly established WIHS Hall of Fame. Inductees into the Hall of Fame are chosen because of their being leaders in the world of equestrian sports. The Board of Directors salutes individuals who have inspired generations of equestrians by their successes, and their ideals and goals for the equestrian world. We proudly introduce, Mr. George H. Morris, as the first recipient of this award.
George Morris conquered a childhood fear of horses to become a world-renowned hunter and jumper instructor, and is considered to be one of the most influential trainers in the history of equestrian sports. A rider with a l ing list of impressive wins himself, Morris first caught the attention of the equestrian world when in 1952 he won both the AHSA Hunter Seat Medal Final and the ASPCA Maclay Final - the two most prestigious junior equitation titles in the country - at the age of 14, the youngest rider ever to do so.
He went on to represent the U.S. as a member of the Gold Medal-winning United States Equestrian Team squad at the 1959 Pan American Games and the Silver Medal-winning U.S. team at the 1960 Rome Olympics. Between 1958 and 1960, he rode on eight winning Nations’ Cup teams, and in later years, has served as Chef d’Equipe for numerous Nations’ Cup teams as well. Since 1978, Morris has been a USET Director, and a member of the USET Executive and Show Jumping Committees. In 1988, Morris won the biggest purse in Show Jumping history while competing on Rio at Spruce Meadows, Canada.
In 1963, Morris began training junior equitation riders. Morris’ former students include some of today’s top grand prix riders, including: Leslie Burr, Norman Dello Joio, the Lenon brothers, Chris Kappler, and Katie Monahan Prudent. At the 1984 Olympics, the Gold Medal-winning team included three former Morris students: Conrad Homfeld, Leslie Burr and Melanie Smith-Taylor, while the 1992 team had Morris students Lisa Jacquin, Anne Kursinski and Dello Joio. In 1996, Morris was assistant chef d’equipe of the USET’s Silver Medal Olympic team, whose four riders included three former Morris students — Buur, Kursinski and Peter Leone.
A well-known author, Morris’ first book “Hunter Seat Equitation,” has sold over 40,000 copies. A second book, “George H. Morris Teaches Beginners to Ride,” has also been highly in demand. His newest book, “The American Jumping Style,” has been equally well-received. Morris has also branched out into the wold of video with “The Science of Riding,” which describes his approach to riding and teaching. Morris currently serves as Director for the AHSA; President of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame; Vice President of the American Grandprix Association. He holds a Registered Judge’s License in the Hunter, Hunter Breeding, Jumper and Hunter Seat Equitation divisions.
George Morris is a legend when it comes to equestrian sports. His competent knowledge and capable skills have been imparted to future generations of equestrians and will forever influence the sport of show jumping.