Articles: Press Release
Michael Morrissey and Scaraberas Scale Puissance for Victory at 2008 Washington Internationa
l Horse Show
Photo Credit: Michael Morrissey and Scaraberas cleared seven
feet and a half inch to win the $25,000 Puissance class at the 2008 Washington
International Horse Show. Photo (C) 2008 Jennifer Wood/PMG.
Jennifer Wood of
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
at (561) 753-3389 or at email@example.com
Washington, D.C. - October 25, 2008 - It was a very exciting
night at Verizon Center when five horses and riders took center stage to tackle
one of the most difficult classes in show jumping. 23-year-old Michael
Morrissey of Bradenton, FL
, on Scaraberas, owned by Eugene R.
Mische, topped seven feet and a half inch to win the $25,000 Puissance class.
Charlie Jayne of Elgin, IL, and Thomas Edison tied for second place with Todd
Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL, with Sleepy P Ranch's Presidente.
Although only f
ive riders attempted the puissance wall, the
big crowds were on the edge of their seats through five rounds of high-action
jumping. In the first round, all five riders cleared five feet, seven inches
over the solid wall with the green rolltop.
The second round progressed to si
x feet, one inch, and again
all five riders were clear, to the thrill of the crowd. The wall was raised
again to six feet, seven inches for the riders to attempt. This is where two
horses were unable to go clear: Aaron Vale on Claudia Billups' Aristide 7
knocked the rolltop off. Angel Karolyi and Curioso Z, owned by Ron Krise, also
had blocks fall off the wall during their attempt. However, it was a fantastic
effort by both riders. This was Vale's horse's first puissance class, and it
was 21-year-old Karolyi's first puissance as well. They ended up tied for
fourth place, having cleared 6'1".
Minikus, Jayne, and Morrissey sailed
over 6'7" to advance to
a fourth round, where they built the imposing wall up to seven feet and a half
inch. Minikus and Presidente were the first to go, and the big grey horse
refused the wall. Minikus took a practice jump and stopped, not wanting to risk
his horse's confidence by trying to jump the wall again.
Jayne and Thomas Edi
son made it to the wall and over the
top, but blocks rained down when the bay American Thoroughbred could not quite
clear the height, leaving the door open for a win for Morrissey.
This was Tho
mas Edison's first puissance class, but Jayne
felt his horse was brave enough to try the wall. He explained, "He can jump a
big jump, and I wanted to give it a shot - it is all about trusting your horse
and I trust him, so I figured I would give it a shot and see how it went. There
were only five in it, so it was a guaranteed check as long as you cleared the
Morrissey and Scaraberas, an 11-year-old Hanoverian geldi
that he has ridden for five years, were the final pair in the ring. The crowd
fell silent as Morrissey approached the practice jump. He rounded the corner
and came down to the trot, where he switched to the outside lead- the horse's
more comfortable way of going. He then cantered easily down to the wall and
slipped over the top, clearing over seven feet for the win.
As soon as Morris
sey cleared the wall, every rider at the
in-gate blocked his exit with their thumbs up, calling for an attempt at the
North American record, which was set in 1983. The record was set at the WIHS by
Anthony d'Ambrosio and Sweet N' Low at seven feet, seven and a half inches.
Morrissey talked it over with his team at the in-gate and decided he would go
for the record.
The wall was raised to a staggering height of seven feet,
eight inches for Morrissey's record attempt. Hopes were dashed, however, when Scaraberas
was unable to clear the top and came down awkwardly. He fell to one knee upon
landing and Morrissey was unseated, but both horse and rider walked out of the
ring unharmed. Although he did not set a new record, Morrissey was applauded
for his efforts and still took home the blue ribbon and top prize money.
asked why Morrissey went for the record, he said with a
smile, "I wanted to get my name in the books. There was a lot of encouragement
in the in-gate with the other riders, and I wanted to give it a try."
went on to say of his last round, "When we were
approaching that wall he had no hesitation whatsoever. I knew I was in trouble
when I hit the top of the jump. I was only halfway over and he was already
coming down. It was just hard to find a good spot to a jump that big. You have
to be pretty spot on to even come close to getting over a jump that big, and I
might have been a little too far off of it. It is certainly the highest that I
have ever attempted, but my horse gave it an unbelievable effort."
ssey felt that his horse was ready and willing, no
matter what the height of the wall. "I knew that he was going to try because he
really, really seemed like he enjoyed doing it. Every time he would take the
bit and really charge, so I knew he was going to try," he said. "I actually did
think that I had a chance; I wouldn't have done it if I didn't think that I had
This was Morrissey's second puissance class with Scaraberas.
At the Dublin Horse Show in Ireland<
they cleared 6'11" but settled for second place when they could not clear 7'3"
in pouring rain. Tonight's win over 7'1/2" is the highest he has ever jumped.
Although he did not set the record tonight, Morrissey said
that if his horse feels good next year and he has the opportunity, he would
love to give it a try again.
Winning such a historical and unique class like
puissance at the WIHS "means everything" to Morrissey. "It is great. It really
feels good to win anything. As riders, I think we are all competitive and we
want to win. Second place is the first loser, so everyone wants to go out there
and win. It is great though. It has been awhile since I won a big class, so it
feels good," he concluded.
Earlier in the day, the international open ju
mpers had a
$25,000 Time First Jump-off class, which was another qualifier for tomorrow
night's $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix. Hillary Dobbs and Marengo notched
another win this week when they were the fastest of nine in the jump-off. They
were clear in 35.58 seconds to take the lead over Todd Minikus and Pavarotti,
who finished in 37.02 seconds. Jill Henselwood (CAN) and Black Ice, last year's
President's Cup Grand Prix winners, finished third in 39.27 seconds.
are trying to step this horse up a little bit, so this
was a great jump-off course as opposed to a straight speed class for him,"
Dobbs mentioned. "He started off a little fresh and a little ready from last
night. Then he started relaxing and jumping better and better as the course
went on. For the jump-off, he was amazing. I am really happy with him being
able to go win a speed class and then be versatile enough to come back and jump
beautiful in the first round and win the jump-off."
Paige Johnson of The
Plains, VA, took victory in the $10,000
Ambassador's Cup Classic for amateur-owner jumpers this afternoon. She piloted
La Martinee to the win over Whitney Weeks and Subliem. Subliem was named the
Amateur Jumper Champion while La Martinee was the reserve champion.
ULTS: $25,000 OPEN JUMPER PUISSANCE
1 SCARABERAS MICHAEL M
EDISON CHARLIE JAYNE
2 PRESIDENTE TODD M
4 CURIOSO Z ANGEL KAROLYI
ARISTIDE 7 AARON
FINAL RESULTS: $20,000 INTERNATIONAL OPEN JUMPER
;MARENGO HILLARY DOBBS
2 PAVAROTTI TODD MINIKUS
ICE JILL HENSELWOOD
4 ROMANOV JONATHON M
EDISON CHARLIE JAYNE
6 TARCO VAN
TER MOUDE TRACY M
7 ALLISON CALLAN SOLEM
DIKA 559 McLAIN WARD
9 ST. LAURENT
10 STARLIGHT KIRSTEN COE
FINAL RESULTS: $10,000 AMATEUR-OWNER
1 LA MARTINEE PAIGE JOHNSON
sp;SUBLIEM WHITNEY WEEKS
3 U-2 MA
MORADO ANNABEL SIMPSON
5 SEA COAST
CANTONA Z DANIELLE TORANO
6 PIOLA WHITNE
7 CHIRON S PAIGE JOHNSON
LUCKY ONE LILY HAHN
9 RONJA MARLEY GOODMAN
This photo may be used free of
charge only in relation to this press release.
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