George Morris © Shannon Brinkman
After speaking to students and instructors at the school about his experiences as a trainer, Morris received the coveted title of "Horseman of Honor of the Cadre Noir of Saumur".
It is only the fourth time the award has 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, Swedish double Gold Medalist in Dressage at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952, then in 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 Jumping rider, Albert Voorn.
Morris, one of the most influential riders and trainers in the history of equestrian sport, was a member of the 1959 US Pan American team that captured the Gold medal, as well as the 1960 US 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 US 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 as well as the gold-banded riding whip.
The award is a big honour for Morris, and also for the US 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 US cavalry masters Chamberlain and Wofford, among others. To be recognized by one of the world's greatest riding schools is an esteemed accomplishment, and further solidifies American riding as a successful and operative institution.