Articles: Press Release
George Morris Receives Lifetime Achievement Honors;
Beezie Madden Named USEF Equestrian of the Year
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc.
4047 Iron Works Parkway
Lexington, KY 40511-8483
Tel: (859) 258-2472
Fax (859) 231-6662
Web site: www.usef.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 15, 2007
-It was standing room only during the much-anticipated
Pegasus Awards held Friday night, January 12, where the equestrian
world's brightest stars gathered to be honored and celebrate
achievements from 2006, as well as a lifetime.
The highlight of the evening, sponsored by Equisure and the American
Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA), was the awarding of the Lifetime
Achievement Award to living legend and show jumping trainer George
"This is the highlight of my career," said Morris to a crowd hanging on
his every word. The trainer of a long list of Olympic, Pan American and
World Equestrian Game athletes entertained the audience with his witty
remarks, stories and memories of his unparalleled career as equestrian
sports most admired and respected coaches.
"There are many people I have to thank," he continued, "I am not here
alone." He continued to note the many influences on his life, his riding
and his love of horses and classic horsemanship.
Morris, best known for his work as a trainer of some of the country's
most talented show jumpers, was honored for his lifetime work. From
winner of the prestigious Maclay medal at the age of 14 to his athletic
performance where he was a 1959 Pan American Games Gold medalist, as
well as a member of the 1960 Silver-medal winning show jumping team at
the Rome Olympics, Morris has time-and-time again excelled at his craft.
One of his United States Equestrian Team riders - Beezie Madden - was
named as the Equestrian of the Year during the evening's ceremonies.
Madden, who brought home two medals from the 2006 World Equestrian Games
(WEG) in Aachen, Germany, this past fall, accepted her awards to a
"There are so many people I want to thank, and I am truly honored to be
the recipient of this award," said Madden. "When I watch the videos, I
see so many famous people, and I can't believe I'm up there among them."
She was referencing the video tribute entitled "Summoning the Heroes"
which is shown annually at the event. The video presentation is a
venerable "Who's Who" of the equestrian sport world's greatest riders,
trainers and influencers.
Madden was selected as the overall winner from a pool of other winners -
those honored with the USEF Equestrians of Honor titles. Other
equestrians in the running were: Vaulting star Megan Benjamin and reiner
Tim McQuay (recipients of the Becky Grand Hart Trophy); Morgan rider
Judy Whitney Harris (Bill Robinson Trophy); Working Hunter rider John
French (Emerson Burr Trophy); Saddlebred rider Barbara Goodman Manilow
(C.J. "June" Cronan Trophy); Western pleasure rider Rick Gault (Barbara
Worth Oakford Trophy); and Andalusian/Lusitano handler Bruce Howard
(Norman K. Dunn Trophy).
There was no shortage of awards to around the room filled with
movers-and-shakers, elite level athletes, members of the media and those
lucky enough to get one of the hottest tickets in town. The event sold
out long prior to the start of the Annual Meeting.
Another of the night's honorees was Dr. John Lengel, former Director of
the Federation's Drugs & Medications Program. For some three
decades-plus, Dr. Lengel served the program, bringing it from its
infancy to fruition and its reputation as the world's leading drug
"I want to thank the Federation, and the staff that I've worked with for
these many years," said Lengel. "It is with mixed emotions that I have
decided to retire, but I look forward to the next chapter of my life."
He admitted he wanted to go into his retirement quietly, however, the
admiration and respect his co-workers, members of the Federation and the
Drugs & Medications committee simply wouldn't hear of it. Emcee
O'Connor, Dr. Kent Allen and Ned Bonnie each took their turn at the dais
to extol Dr. Lengel's long and respected career.
Always one of the highlights from the evening is the awarding of the
Junior Equestrian of the Year award, and in a twist, two junior riders
were named as recipients of the title - New York's Brianne Goutal and
Tennessee's Will Harris.
A junior hunter/jumper rider, Goutal generated incredible buzz over the
past year and rewrote the junior hunter/jumper history books with her
incredible sweep of every major youth championship in the hunter/jumper
world to date. In 2004, she won the USEF Talent Search Finals, the
Washington International Horse Show Equitation Finals and was on the
North American Young Rider Championships Gold-medal show jumping team.
The following year, she won the USEF Medal Finals, the ASPCA Maclay
Finals, and the Individual Gold medal at the North American Young Riders
Championships (NAYRC), where she was once again a member of the
Harris, also created a name for himself, one that has stretched past his
long dedication and participation in the world of Saddlebreds. In 2005,
Harris and his mare, She's Bedazzled ADW, were crowned World's Champion
in the highly competitive Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Riders 16-17
division. The pair refused to rest on their laurels, and in 2006, they
captured the Reserve World's Champion title for their division and
placed third in the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited 14-17 Championship.
This added to three Reserve World's Champion titles he has received
since 2001. The American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) honored
Will with the Frank Ogletree Youth Award as an outstanding role model
for his peers.
Among the other equestrians bestowed awards were: Caitlin Novotny (USEF
Youth Sportsman's Charter Award); Conrad Homfeld (USEF Grand Prix Show
Jumping Course Designer of the Year); Mary Anne Grimmell (Honor Roll of
Distinguished Officials); John Scheidt and Don Spear (Ellen Scripps
Davis Memorial Breeder's Award); Georgie Green (Walter B. Devereux
Sportsmanship Trophy); Janine Malone (Sallie Busch Wheeler Trophy for
Distinguished Service); W. Gary Baker, Jean McLean Davis and Donna Moore
(Pegasus Medal of Honor); Nealia McCracken, Pat Johnson and Christy
Parker of Saddlebred Rescue, Inc., (Heroes for Horses Award); and Joe
Stopher and Dr. Joseph C. Odea (The posthumous Richard E. McDevitt Award
Earlier in the day, the Athlete's Luncheon was held in celebration of
the many international high-performance riders and owners that
participated in the 2006 World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Aachen,
Among the many athletes in attendance were: dressage star Debbie
McDonald and owner of Floriano, ridden by Steffen Peters, Stephen
Browning; eventer Karen O'Connor; owner of reining horse, Mr. Nicadual,
Jerry Kimmel; show jumper and two-time WEG medalist Beezie Madden; and
vaulters Devon Maitozo, Annalise van Vranken and two-time WEG medalist
As the National Governing Body (NGB) of Equestrian Sport, the United
States Equestrian Federation(r), Inc. (USEF) is the regulatory body for
28 breeds and disciplines, including our country's international teams
competing in the disciplines of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing,
para-equestrian, reining, show jumping and vaulting. With over 87,000
members, it is the country's largest multi-breed organization and
annually license more than 2,800 competitions nationwide. The USEF
governs all aspects of competition, including education and licensing of
all judges, stewards, and technical delegates who officiate shows.
Vision Statement: The vision of United States Equestrian Federation(r)
is to provide leadership for equestrian sport in the United States of
America, promoting the pursuit of excellence from the grassroots to the
Olympic Games, based on a foundation of fair, safe competition and the
welfare of its horses, and embracing this vision, to be the best
national equestrian federation in the world.