June 8, 2009 -- On May 19, George Morris, US Show Jumping's Chef d'Equipe, was celebrated in a special presentation in Saumur, France. Morris was present at the French National Equitation School, Cadre Noir of Saumur, to share his experiences as a trainer with the students and instructors of the school. At its conclusion, Morris received the coveted title of Horseman of Honor of the Cadre Noir of Saumur.
This marks only the fourth time the award has ever been presented. The very first Horseman of Honor was named as the result of an initiative by Colonel Margot, Chief Horseman of the Cadre Noir from 1945-1958. Colonel Margot had received this title himself in 1950, honoring his commitment to France as well as the Cadre Noir of Saumur.
This merit of exceptional character was awarded to Heni Saint-Cyr, the Swedish dressage gold medalist at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952 and Stockholm in 1956. In 2001, Colonel Loic de la Porte du Theil awarded this honorable distinction to Michel Robert, French show jumping rider, and again in 2002 to Dutch Olympic show jumper Albert Voorn.
Morris, one of the most influential riders and trainers in the history of equestrian sport, was a member of the 1959 U.S. Pan American team that captured the gold medal, as well as the 1960 U.S. Olympic silver medal team in Rome. He has continued his career as a renowned trainer and coach for a host of Olympians. Morris was also the Chef d'Equipe for the 2008 Olympic gold medal-winning U.S. show jumping team. Chief Horseman Colonel jean-Michel Faure and director of the school Robert d'Artois personally presented Morris with the famous symbols of the Cadre Noir of Saumur, the gilt spurs and gold-banded riding whip.
This award is not only an honor for Morris personally, but also for the U.S. and the American style of riding. For decades Morris has been a proponent of the American style of riding, beginning with the methods taught by the U.S. cavalry masters. To be recognized by one of the world's greatest riding schor solidifies American riding as a successful and operative institution.