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Morrissey and Johnson Win USET Maxine Beard Award

Gladstone, NJ—March 20, 2003— The United States Equestrian Team (USET) is proud to announce that Michael Morrissey of Bradenton, FL, and Paige Johnson of The Plains, VA, are this year's winners of the Maxine Beard Show Jumping Developing Rider Award. The USET Show Jumping Committee awarded the young equestrians with this honor because of their competitive records to date and their promise for the future.

As recipients of the Maxine Beard Award, Morrissey and Johnson will receive a trip to the Budweiser World Cup Final, which will be held in Las Vegas, NV, April 16-20. There they will get an insider’s look at a major international show jumping competition including the chance to observe operations in the horse show office, stabling, veterinary inspections and schooling. A highlight of the experience will be the chance to walk each course with the riders while receiving instructional comments from respected coaches such as USET Vice President for Show Jumping George H. Morris.

Morrissey won the BET/USA Equestrian Individual National Junior Jumper Championship, and rode on the winning team in the BET/USA Equestrian Prix de States Team Championship, at the 2002 Pennsylvania National Horse Show. Additionally, he won the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Jumper Classic Series Year-End Junior Championship at last year’s National Horse Show. Also last year, he won the amateur jumping championship against a field of international competitors at Valkenswaard in The Netherlands.

In 2001, Morrissey won the Calvin Klein Show Jumping Talent Derby at the Hampton Classic Horse Show and also competed, for the second time, in the German Friendship Games. He has competed in Grand Prix competition since age 14 and has placed in the ribbons in Cleveland, Lake Placid at Wellington.

Competing with Morrissey in the German Friendship Games, both in 1999 and 2001, was Johnson who won both the individual and team championships in 2001. Johnson also has been a big winner at the Hampton Classic, winning the $15,000 WGHR Farm Jumper Classic in both 2001 and 2002 after winning the Calvin Klein Show Jumping Derby at the Hampton Classic in 2000.

Johnson was the youngest rider ever to win the state equitation final in Virginia when she won the title at age 11. Earlier this year, she won the team Gold Medal and individual Silver in the Winter Equestrian Festival Young Rider Championships at Wellington.

The Maxine Beard Award was established by friends of the popular trainer Ronnie Beard in honor of Ronnie’s mother. Beard is the Chairman of the USET Show Jumping Developing Rider Committee.

The Maxine Beard Show Jumping Developing Rider Award is one of many programs that the USET has developed to assist riders in their quest for equestrian excellence. Observing international competition is a crucial component in the education of an equestrian athlete.

The recipients of the award are chosen based on their potential to represent the United States in international competition. A Show Jumping Developing Rider is defined as a US citizen who has not represented the United States in Olympic, Pan American or World Championship competition, or in more than five Nations Cups either in Europe or at Spruce Meadows. Alternates for the Olympic, Pan American and World Equestrian Games, as well are riders who have competed in the Show Jumping World Cup Final, are still considered Show Jumping Developing Riders and are eligible for the award.


The United States Equestrian Team is a non-profit organization that selects, trains, equips and finances equestrians of the highest possible standard to represent our country in major international competition, including the Olympic Games and the World Championships. To accomplish this, the USET seeks out and nurtures the development of talented athletes - riders, drivers and horses - and provides the support and guidance they need to help them attain their fullest potential. For more information on the USET, please call (908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at


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