Morris Main Event at USEF

By November 10, 2012
Joanie Morris (right) with the USEF's eventing chef d'mission Fiona Tibone and executive director of sport programs Jim Wolf at the 2012 Olympics in London.

From left: Fiona Tibone, Jim Wolf and Joanie Morris at the 2012 Olympics in London.

The United States Equestrian Federation has named Joanie Morris managing director of eventing.

Morris spent the past five years as the USEF’s high performance communications director.

The news was first reported on the website EventingNation.com, which characterized the appointment as part of the “sweeping changes” that would take place as David O’Connor segues into his new role as chef d’equipe and technical advisor of the U.S. eventing team.

Olympic eventing champion O’Connor served two terms as USEF president starting in 2004. In April the organization voted unanimously to have him replace Captain Mark Phillips in 2013.

Morris is based at the USEF’s Lexington, KY, headquarters. In her new role she will oversee administration for the discipline and the USEF’s high performance eventing program as the organization seeks to become an international competitor in the sport.

Her long history with horses began when she was 10 years old and living in the U.K. “I had done a lot of pony club and fox hunting before we moved there,” she recounted. “I took my leased JA show jumping pony to the School Eventing Championships.” When the 18-year-old pony  “galloped around her first event like a champ,” Morris said she was “totally hooked.”

She continued in the sport, in both amateur and professional capacities.

After attending the University of Delaware she went on to work for Australia’s two-time Olympic  gold medal event rider Phillip Dutton.

“I am really fortunate that I have had some great opportunities in the sport, riding all kinds of horses throughout the levels and grooming at the most prolific events in the world,” Morris said. An event rider at the Intermediate level in 2000, she said she’ll continue to compete when she has time. ” I try to have an ex-racehorse project to keep me involved. I think that being involved as a groom and a competitor, even now at the lower levels, has been really helpful to me in my roles at the USEF.”

In addition to her USEF communications role, Morris served from 2009 through 2012 as event director for the Adequan FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championship presented by Gotham North since 2009, overseeing the annual competitions in all five disciplines: dressage, endurance, eventing, reining and show jumping. “It takes a team of people to make happen and I feel lucky to be involve with such a great group,” Morris said.

As a communications liaison, she was highly regarded by the media for making as smooth as possible the grueling job of covering complicated events like the Olympics and the Pan Am Games.

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