Trainer Karen Healey has taught some very talented young equestrians throughout her career, and this past weekend two of those riders showed in national and world championship competitions. This year’s Rolex FEI World Cup champion, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, began her career in California and trained with Healey as a junior rider. Current Karen Healey student Michelle Morris rides for the University of Georgia’s equestrian team and was part of the team’s national championship win this weekend.
Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum is currently the number one ranked rider in the world competing for Germany, but at one time she lived in California and trained for about six years in the Equitation and Junior Jumpers with Karen Healey. Michaels-Beerbaum showed her once in a lifetime horse Shutterfly in Las Vegas, NV, this past weekend for the Rolex FEI World Cup Finals and swept the competition. This was the rider’s third year winning the World Cup championship and although she competes for Germany, she still considers herself 50% American and enjoys the support of her American family and friends.
Karen Healey traveled to Las Vegas to cheer on her former student this weekend, and was very proud of her big win. “It was fabulous,” Healey smiled. “I would like to think that I did something, but she did most of this herself. I mean, I think I gave her a very nice foundation, but her determination and mind set and just the nerve control and all the rest of it, she did all of that herself over the years.”
“Meredith just lost her father. He passed away about a month ago,” Healey continued. “I had a long history with him and her mother, and I still am very close with her mother, so it was very special.”
Healey still stays in touch with Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, speaks to her often, and has two of her sale horses at her farm in California right now. “I talk to her at least once a month and sometimes more,” Healey stated. “And I will say that her first grand prix that she won over there, she called me immediately. We have quite a good relationship, and I feel very privileged to have been a part of her career.”
Another successful student of Karen Healey’s is Michelle Morris of La Canada, CA. Morris is one of Healey’s current students and rides as a freshman on the University of Georgia’s NCAA equestrian team. The 2009 Varsity Equestrian National Championships were held in Waco, TX, this past weekend, and the Georgia Bulldogs were the overall national champions. Morris rode in the Equitation on the Flat division for the UGA team.
Karen Healey commented on Morris riding on the college team, stating, “I used to tell them all the time, I’m not going to ride these horses for you, you are going to have to ride horses that I haven’t prepared. That is the hardest thing with the school competition is just being able to get on horses that are maybe not as nice as they are used to, not as prepared.”
Healey added, “I think that Michelle took away a lot and learned a lot. She was always a good student and always tried really hard. They still have a horse with me, and when she gets back she will ride a little bit over the summer.”
Karen Healey congratulates both Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Michelle Morris for their individual successes this weekend and is proud to have contributed to their riding careers.
Reprinted with permission from Phelps Media Group.