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She wasn’t suited up in her top hat and tailcoat, but Leslie Morse showed up to support Steffen Peters and Guenter Seidel at the Festival of the Horse CDI-W/Y/J in Burbank, CA. Morse had planned to debut two very special youngsters at the show: the 6-year-old King’s Excaliber and the 5-year-old King’s Quattro, sons of Morse’s late great stallion Kingston, who died of an acute colic attack last October. “This was going to be the first big outing for my young horses,” said Morse. But a bout of coronavirus affected several horses at her King’s Court training facility in Hidden Hills, CA, earlier in the week and even sent a 3-year-old to the hospital. “They lose their appetite and then they get a fever and then extreme diarrhea,” she said. “Dogs get this, cats get this, people get this, horses get this.” Her horses, Morse said gratefully, will all be fine, but she didn’t want to take the chance of the virus affecting other horses. “Even though I wanted to come to this great show, we don’t want viruses to spread.”
Clearly disappointed, Morse was still glad to support friends like Seidel and Peters (her teammates from the U.S.’s 2005 bronze medal-winning Nations Cup team at Aachen, Germany) and to catch up with USEF Developing Dressage Coach Debbie McDonald. Another Kingston legacy is the American-bred Brighton, who was born last May via embryo transfer from McDonald’s legendary mount Brentina.
Morse will now show King’s Excaliber and King’s Quattro at the upcoming Del Mar National Horse Show. “They have so much of Kingston in them. He was a once-in-a-lifetime horse,” Morse said of Kingston, an Oldenburg-licensed breeding stallion by Voltaire out of Gisnette. Morse and Kingston were the alternates for the 2004 Olympics and named traveling reserve for the 2008 Games in Hong Kong.