The United States Equestrian Federation announced today that, after a thorough search and evaluation process, Mr. George H. Morris of Pittstown, New Jersey will become the new Chef d’Equipe for the United States Show Jumping Team.
Morris was selected by the seven members of the USEF Search Committee from eight applicants, after the search process commenced last September upon the retirement of Frank Chapot, who had served as U.S. Chef d’Equipe for 24 years.
"USEF is proud to have the legendary George Morris to direct the Show Jumping High Performance effort,” said USEF President David O’Connor. “We expect George to raise the level of the competitiveness of the team on a year-to-year basis. George will have the full backing of USEF to achieve these goals."
“We all owe a deep debt of gratitude to the members of the USEF Chef d’Equipe Search Committee for a very open, thoughtful and comprehensive selection process that included rider meetings on both coasts and numerous points of contact to obtain input,” said Eric Straus, Chairman of the Search Committee.
“Our international success is predicated on the legacy of Bertalan De Nemethy, and George is able to carry on that tradition,” continued Straus. “For many years George has been instrumental in the development of many riders nationally and internationally. The role of Chef d’Equipe is a fitting way for him to continue his contributions to equestrian sport.”
“I’m very pleased to become the Chef d’Equipe. I have often served as Chef unofficially at international events over the years, so I’m very comfortable with the position,” said Morris. “I’m looking forward to developing a comprehensive program for international horses and riders. Our top-level riders need a program that gives them not only preparation but participation with the rest of the world on a consistent basis.” With emphasis he added, “We must have selection, participation and preparation logically working together.”
Considered one of the most influential riders and trainers in equestrian sport, Morris’ career began as a precocious junior rider winning both the AHSA Hunter Seat Medal Final and the ASPCA Maclay Final at the tender age of 14, the youngest rider ever to do so. In international competition, he represented the United States on the gold medal-winning Pan American Games team in 1959 and on the silver medal-winning team at the 1960 Rome Olympics. Between 1958 and 1960, he rode on eight winning Nations Cup teams and in later years served as Chef d’Equipe for numerous Nations Cup teams. Morris also served as a Director of the former USET, and as a member of its Executive and Show Jumping Committees.
Morris’ training successes include a “Who’s Who” of the United States’ top show jumping riders figuring prominently in U.S. Olympic history. At the 1984 Olympics, the Gold Medal-winning team included three former Morris students, Conrad Homfeld, Leslie Burr-Howard and Melanie Smith Taylor. The 1992 team included students Lisa Jacquin, Anne Kursinski and Norman Dello Joio. In 1996, Morris was assistant Chef d’Equipe of the Silver Medal Olympic team, which included former students Burr-Howard, Kursinski and Peter Leone. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, former student Chris Kappler won the individual Bronze Medal and was a member of the Silver Medal-winning team. In 1999, Morris served as Show Jumping Co-Chef d’Equipe for the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, where the United States won both the team and individual Silver Medals.
Morris is also a well-known author of equestrian books and videos. He currently serves on the USEF Board of Directors and on several USEF committees, including the High Performance Working Group, Show Jumping High Performance Committee, National Jumper Committee and the Planning Committee. He holds a Registered Judge’s License in the Jumper, Hunter and Hunter Seat Equitation divisions. Additionally, Morris is President of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame.
“In this season’s first Super League Nations Cup in La Baule, France, we saw George’s leadership at work. The American team not only won that competition, but dominated the entire show. That was an impressive first step towards building a powerhouse U.S. Show Jumping Team and the future possibilities are very exciting,” said John Long, Chief Executive Officer of the USEF.