Ypäjä, Finland - U.S. show jumping legend George H. Morris received a Gold Badge of Merit from the Equestrian Federation of Finland (EFF) on May 5, for his work with the Finnish show jumping athletes. Morris, who is the Chef d'Equipe for the U.S. Team, has globally impacted the sport of show jumping.
Tom Gardin, a representative of the Scandinavian country's Federation, awarded the Badge to Morris at the conclusion of a three-day clinic. The presentation took place in Ypäjä, a small village 80 miles northwest of Helsinki best known for horses and its equine college that hosts Finnderby, an international competition that takes place annually.
Morris has been making almost annual trips to Finland since 1984. He has been highly appreciated by the hundreds of riders and trainers, including participants from the Baltic countries, who he has taught and inspired throughout his years of training and conducting clinics.
"I like coming to Finland...I value this badge highly and feel honored," said Morris.
Morris is a well-known advocate of the light American riding style and classical horsemanship on which the successes of the U.S. Show Jumping Team are based. He teaches trainers and riders to give the horse the best possible education to develop and flourish. He advocates the importance of training one concept at a time, a method he believes is the most efficient.
The EFF announced the medal in late 2009, but due to travel interruptions caused by the Icelandic volcanoes and subsequent ash clouds, the presentation of the award was delayed.
Photo: George H. Morris with his Gold Badge of Merit from the Equestrian Federation of Finland. Photo courtesy of EFF.