By Martha A. Woodham
According to organizer Penny Morse, the inaugural Southeastern Schooling Show Championship at Georgia’s Bouckaert Farm in Chattahoochee Hills, started with a thought that became an idea that grew into an event.
“It was one of those fleeting moment ideas, that usually leaves just as fast, and five minutes later you cannot remember what it was you were thinking,” says Morse, Harmony Grove Farm, Villa Rica, Ga. “This time it evolved into the ‘I have a dream’ mode. It just kept nagging at me — The Southeast Schooling Show Championships.”
Morse is a long-time horsewoman who started riding when she was 5, but her riding days ended in 1994 after a car wreck. Today she owns and publishes Atlanta Horse Connections and co-edits the Georgia Dressage and Combined Training Magazine. She lives vicariously through her daughters, eventers Joanne and Jacqueline, who teach lessons at the family farm.
So why a schooling show championship for eventing and dressage?
“There had to be something more for schooling show competitors than a $3 ribbon,” she says. “There were no goals at schooling shows. Trainers used them as a warmup for a recognized show. The SESSC gives schooling shows the same recognition as Area 3 Championships or the AEC (American Eventing Championships).”