Grand Prix Special Win at Winter Equestrian Festival Zada Dressage is Extra Special for Cathy Morelli

Cathy Morelli was sidelined with cancer during much of last year’s Florida winter season, which included having to miss out on the 2007 WEF Zada Dressage competition. But this year, for the 2008 competition, she not only made it to the show, but also took the blue in the CDI Grand Prix Special with BeSe, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Flemmingh.

“It was very emotional because last year I couldn’t go to the show because I was having a double mastectomy for breast cancer,” Morelli said. “Last year, I also missed riding in the Challenge for the Americas. But this year, I was able to do it with BeSe. I was on the International Team and it was very exciting to be able to do that.”

Last year’s bout with breast cancer was the second time for Morelli. She had battled the disease years before that. She had her most recent cancer check up just last month and so far, she’s all clear of the disease. “I think everything is good. I was just blessed that I was able to be out there at the show. Last year I didn’t get to do very much at all,” Morelli said.

Clearly, this Easter weekend was a blessed one for Morelli and she seems to appreciate that she’s not only disease free and back in the saddle, but also once again in the running for making it to this year’s Dressage National Championships, scheduled for California in June.

Normally held in Gladstone, New Jersey which is literally in Morelli's back yard, at the Dressage Festival of Champions, Morelli has competed in perhaps every one of them since 1991. Cathy Morelli is a USET member who represented the United States in the 1990 Volvo World Cup in s’Hertogenbosch Holland on her horse R.H. MacKinney, who was almost 20 years old at the time. She is a USDF Gold medalist and has been teaching and training Dressage horses for many years.

She’s not entirely sure, but can’t remember having missed a year. If she qualifies again this year, she’d love to attend. “I would like to go if I make it, but everything is so expensive.”