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Michael Morrissey Wins The 2003 BET/USET Show Jumping Talent Search Finals-East

Gladstone, NJ – October 6, 2003 – Michael Morrissey, 18, of Bradenton, FL, captured top honors on Onyx 66 in the 2003 BET/United States Equestrian Team (USET) Show Jumping Talent Search Finals-East, held at the USET Headquarters and Olympic Training Center in Gladstone, NJ, October 4-5.

Charlie Jayne, 17, of Elgin, IL, finished as the Reserve Champion on Tucker edging out Addison Phillips, 14, of New York, NY who came in third on Ricochet and his sister Maggie Jayne, 19, also of Elgin, IL, who was fourth on Calumet.

Morrissey, trained by Missy Clark and Gene Mische, his great uncle, topped a field of 59 riders in his second appearance at the Talent Search. Morrissey finished just out of the ribbons last time out in 2001 and was pleased with his performance this year, but found it a bit scary.

“It was nerve-wracking,” said Morrissey, “But I loved it, it was great.” Morrissey hopes this victory is just the beginning of great things to come.

“Winning this class starts off the future”, said Morrissey. “The USET is one of my biggest goals and this class is the first step towards making the Olympic Team.”

Hap Hansen and Candice King, two top grand-prix riders, served as the judges for the event.

The BET/USET Talent Search Finals on the East and West coasts are open to equitation riders under the age of 21, who have qualified through their placement in regional BET/USET Show Jumping Talent Search classes held throughout the year.

The BET/USET Show Jumping Talent Search Final, one of the nation’s most prestigious equitation competitions, consists of four competition phases designed to provide competitors with a challenging and rigorous final and help the USET identify future international competitors. In the flat phase, riders perform specific tests of their riding skills without jumps; in the gymnastic phase, riders jump combinations of obstacles. During the jumping phase, competitors negotiate a grand prix style jumping course of fences. Only the top four riders return to begin the fourth phase, a ride-off.

During this final phase, riders compete with their own horse over a course of jumps, and then ride each of the other entries’ horses over the same course.

Started in 1965 as the USET Medal program, the BET/USET Show Jumping Talent Search encourages Young Rider development and awards USET Gold, Silver and

Bronze Medals to competitors who have won BET/USET Show Jumping Talent Search classes held at horse shows throughout the United States. In 1982, the program incorporated year-end Finals as a further goal.

BET initiated its USET sponsorship program in 1997. Black Entertainment Television and BET On Jazz support the Team’s show jumping program as title sponsor of the BET/USET Show Jumping Talent Search and as presenting sponsor of the USET

Show Jumping Talent Derby held each year at the Bayer/USET Festival of Champions.

Results – 2003 BET/USET Show Jumping Talent Search Final-East

Place/ Rider/ Hometown

Michael Morrissey, Bradenton, FL
Charlie Jayne, Elgin, IL
Addison Phillips, New York, NY
Maggie Jayne, Elgin, IL
Blythe Marano, Bedminster, NJ
Anna Mc Knight, Whithall, MO
Natalie Johnson, Greenwich, CT
Sophie Coppedge, Boston, MA
Amy Lowery, Armonk, NY
Michael Del Fiandra, Delray, FL

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, vaulters 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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