Each issue, MSEDA will highlight a member who is active in the organization to give other members a peek into their horse-loving lives. Interested in being featured? Email Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sarah E. Coleman
Though she has ridden since she was 8, eventer Jenny Morris didn’t begin competing until she was in college at UCONN—but she’s enjoyed being in the competition arena ever since! The owner of two personality-plus horses, Molson and Pesto, Morris also enjoys being immersed in the equine industry with her job at National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Read on to learn about Morris and her horses.
MSEDA: Where are you from?
JM: Reading, MA
Jenny with Molson on her wedding day
MSEDA: What brought you here?
JM: I got a working student position with Megan Moore right after college.
MSEDA: When did you begin riding?
JM: I was 8 years old.
MSEDA: What is your background in horses?
JM: I have no idea where I came from, as no one in my family is horsey--my mom is even allergic! Somehow I got the horse bug and my parents let me take lessons once a week growing up. I would do little local shows here and there, but nothing major—mostly dressage and some combined tests. When I was a senior in high school, I asked my parents to lease a schoolmaster as my graduation present. His name was Todd, and he taught me through second level and even some third. Best decision ever made! That carried on to college where I rode on the UCONN IDA team for 4 years. In my last year, I felt like I was just getting started with my competitive side and wanted more, so that’s when I started applying for working student positions and decided to move my life to Kentucky!
MSEDA: How long have you been competing?
JM: I have competed in some form since I started riding 20 years ago, but started showing in rated shows about 7 years ago.
MSEDA: When did you get your first horse?
JM: I bought my first horse (Molson) when I was a sophomore in college (2008).
Morris on Pesto
MSEDA: What horses do you own now?
JM: Molson, a 13-year-old Thoroughbred/Percheron cross gelding and Pesto, a 15ish-year-old Paint mare.
MSEDA: How did you get them?
JM: Molson is a PMU baby from Saskatchewan, Canada. He was actually sold to Asbury University (Kentucky) as a yearling, and then UCONN quickly bought him and another yearling for their training class. I chose Molson (then 4 years old) for one of my training classes, as well as a farrier class (I put on his first set of shoes!). He was very green, but I instantly fell in love with him for his lovable attitude and willingness to please. I begged and pleaded the UCONN barn manager for MONTHS to let me buy him, and he eventually gave in.
Pesto is a long story, but I used to ride her when I was a working student. She was the most difficult animal I had ever encountered, but I loved her anyway. She ended up getting sold around a bunch of times to kid camps, to Dollywood and then to a kill buyer at the New Holland sale. Luckily, a family in Shelbyville bought her off the kill truck, but when they realized how nuts she was, she was up for sale again. I saw their ad on Facebook and knew I had to step in and give her a forever home. She is now fat--very fat--and living out her life in a small herd at my in-laws horse farm!
MSEDA: What horses do you compete and what do you compete in?
JM: I compete Molson (Bartender’s Special) in eventing.
Morris on Molson
MSEDA: How long have you been a MSEDA member?
JM: Since 2010.
MSEDA: What is your favorite event? Why?
JM: Any event I have time to go to because it means I’m with Molson and not working.
MSEDA: What level do you compete in (if you compete)?
JM: Molson and I skip around at Training at the moment! We were having a blast at Preliminary and aiming for a 1* a few years back, however life got in the way and conditioning was becoming a challenge, so now we just gallop on for fun!
MSEDA: What are your horse's favorite treats?
JM: Peeps. Any and all flavors!
MSEDA: Do you have any good luck rituals? If so, what are they?
JM: I don’t know if it has luck or not, but I always wear the same stock tie pin from my grandmother in dressage and showjumping.
Jenny and her husband Brett
MSEDA: What do you do full time? Do you enjoy it?
JM: I work for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) as a Sales Manager. I love it because I am around horse people all day every day, but I do travel a lot, which sometimes makes me miss my ponies!
MSEDA: How did you get into this job?
JM: When I was working at the USEF, the NTRA rep we worked with announced she was leaving her position, so I applied.
MSEDA: What are your favorite equestrian brands?
JM: Ariat, Charles Owen, Roeckl, Piper and Nunn Finer.
MSEDA: What are your horse's quirks?
JM: Molson is ¼ Percheron and ¾ TB, so he has a strong “I’m scared of everything, but too lazy to run so I’ll just bow and snort vehemently” personality J He is absolutely TERRIFIED of cows and, naturally, Paint horses. While he is getting better with his phobia, he has been known to turn into a backward flying dragon in order to flee from the strangely spotted creatures! He will also 9 times out of 10 spook at a cross country jump if I ask him to walk/trot/gallop by it; however, he doesn’t think twice about it if I ask him to jump it! All that being said, he is actually a very good boy and takes GREAT care of his rider; he has no naughty/mean bone in his body, you just have to laugh at him and his silly antics sometimes!
MSEDA: What is your goal this year?
JM: To do at least three events!
MSEDA: Who do you ride with?
JM: No one full-time. For the past three years I have been taking lessons with Peter Atkins whenever he is in town.
MSEDA: Where do you ride?
JM: At a small hobby horse farm in Lexington.
MSEDA: What is your favorite part of your barn/trainer/boarding stable?
JM: It is QUIET! Also, GORGEOUS! Just me and a few other boarders who are also eventers. It is absolutely perfect.
MSEDA: What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome with your horse?
JM: In July of 2011, the night before Champagne Run, Molson cast himself in a stall and ended up kicking himself so hard he actually punctured his spleen and was bleeding internally. He stayed at Rood and Riddle for a little while as he lost about 20 percent of his blood. Bringing him back into work was the hardest thing I have ever done with him, and no doubt the most difficult thing he has had to go through, because he was so incredibly weak and stiff. It took a while, but we eventually got there!
MSEDA: Describe your horse in 10 words.
Loving, kind, talented, sweet, handsome, perfect, special, heart horse.
Sweet, sassy, opinionated, rotten, diva, independent, talented, stubborn, resilient, special. (My husband would like to add: FAT! .... I prefer “well fed,” although she isn’t fed anything but water)
MSEDA: What is your favorite memory?
JM: Winning the Area 8 Training Championships with Molson. Before I moved to Kentucky, I told my farrier (also an eventer) that my end-all goal was to complete one Training Level event. She was very polite and kind, but gently told me there was no way Molson would ever be able to get me to my goal. In her defense, Molson was a late bloomer and did not show his true athleticism and talent until he finally matured around 7 years old!! Not only did he win lots of pretty ribbons at Training, but he easily took the huge leap to the Prelim level and rocked that as well, just like icing on a cake! It makes me so proud of him, but also so incredibly grateful that we were able to reach my dream and beat it together.
The four-legged Morris family
MSEDA: What other animals do you own?
JM: Two dogs (Dodger and Darko) and two cats (Huckleberry and Frosty).