Jul 01, 2019

USEA Horse of the Month: Clifton Peekachu

By Claire Kelley - USEA Staff
RedBayStock.com Photo.

Seven medals, over 20 wins, a horse that’s taken five riders to their first Preliminary or FEI event, and is now teaching his seventh girl the ropes to eventing, Clifton Peekachu is the USEA July Horse of the month! The horse with a heart of gold most recently won the Junior Novice Rider division with Kaylianna McMorris at Fox River Valley Pony Club Horse Trials in Barrington Hills, Ill. A horse of the past and of the present, Clifton Peekachu is a 23-year-old New Zealand Sport Horse gelding owned by Katlyn McMorris.

With the North American Young Rider Championships (NAYC) right around the corner, the July horse of the month is one of the most decorated NAYC horses in history. Representing Area IV, Clifton Peekachu has taken five trips to NAYC and every trip he’s walked away with a medal. The reign of Area IV’s secret weapon spanned from 2005 to 2010. In 2005, Clifton Peekachu and Katlyn McMorris earned the individual silver medal in the NAYC CCI*. In 2006, they won the individual gold medal and team gold in the CCI*. In 2008, they finished fifth individually and won team silver in the CCI2*. In 2009, they took home the individual silver in the CCI2*. In 2010, Clifton Peekachu came back to NAYC with rider, Claire Kelley and earned individual silver and team silver in the CCI*. The total count: seven NAYC medals.

Clifton Peekachu at his last NAYC in 2010 with owner, Katlyn McMorris (left) and Claire Kelley (right). Photo courtesy of Katlyn McMorris.


In 2013, Clifton Peekachu finished ninth with Natascha Barrientos at the Bolivarian Games. In 2014, Barrientos and Clifton Peekachu finished in the top 20 at the Central American Games. Beyond NAYC and the Central American Games, six riders have piloted Clifton Peekachu to victory including Katlyn McMorris, Claire Kelley, Kennedy Cross, Alison Hardaway, Elizabeth Clarke, and now, Kaylianna McMorris (who is the niece of Katlyn McMorris).

A horse who loves carrots but hates peppermints, gets uncomfortable with public displays of affection, and always takes a nap before cross-country, learn about Clifton Peekachu from his owner, Katlyn McMorris.

Kaylianna McMorris and Clifton Peekachu. John Borys Photo.

About Clifton Peekachu:

Barn name?

“Peek or Peeka”

Favorite treat?

“Anything natural like carrots, apples. He hates peppermints.”

Favorite phase?

“Cross-country. Although he loves showing off so dressage comes in a very close second.”

Personality traits?

“Extrovert with an extreme fear of missing out. He wants all the attention to be on him, at all times. And he just loves hanging out with people. As long as he is hanging out with everyone else or whatever else is going on at the time, he is happy.”

Likes? And dislikes?

“He hates hugs and kisses aka PDA but loves attention. Loves anything food related. He loves having a purpose and loves having young girls to take care of and teach. I always said he would not be a happy field retired horse. He will want to be working and jumping for as long as his body and mind can handle it.”

Any other fun facts you’d like to add about Clifton Peekachu?

“You definitely have to work for and earn the wins on him. He doesn’t just give it to you. If you make a big enough mistake or a smaller one a couple of times in a row. He won’t make up for it. He wants you to learn. He’s been so successful but it’s also because he is an amazing teacher.”

“He knows when it is cross-country day and always takes a nap before cross-country. But he is seriously the fiercest and coolest cross-country horse. I always thought his heart and head could have taken him to a five-star event, if only his body would have allowed it.”

Katlyn McMorris adjusting tack on Peekachu with rider, Kaylianna McMorris. Photo courtesy of Katlyn McMorris.


Miss any of the previous horses? Follow the links to read about the February Horse of the Month, March Horse of the Month, April Horse of the Month, May Horse of the Month, and June Horse of the Month.

About the USEA Horse of the Month

New in 2019, the USEA is recognizing an event horse each month on the USEA website and social media. The USEA Horse of the Month is determined based on statistics and event results and announced at the beginning of every month. The July Horse of the Month was selected based on historic performances at the North American Junior Young Rider Championships and Clifton Peekachu earned the title as he has seven NAYC medals and just won the Junior Novice Rider division at Fox River Valley Pony Club H.T.!

Aug 09, 2020 Education

Conditioning the Event Horse at the Novice and Training Levels

Conditioning makes the horse fit and increases his endurance performance with less wear and tear on feet and legs. The idea is to work his heart and lungs in short intervals, let him recover a bit, then work him again. The following schedule for Training level horse provides an introduction for the horse and rider at the lower levels to the principle of interval training.

Aug 08, 2020 Future Event Horse

How to Prepare Young Horses for the Show Atmosphere with the O’Neals

Within their first few years of being born, young horses have the opportunity to get a taste of U.S. Eventing through the USEA’s young horse programs. The USEA Future Event Horse Program (FEH) evaluates the potential of yearlings, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, and 4-year-olds under saddle to become successful upper level event horses while the USEA Young Event Horse Program (YEH) evaluates the potential of 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds to become successful upper level event horses.

Considerations for Building Cross-Country Jumps at Home

If your farm has the space to set up a cross-country schooling course, it can be to your advantage to have cross-country jumps available for schooling purposes. Safety should be the number one priority when designing and building cross-country jumps, and an expert should be consulted whenever possible.

Aug 06, 2020 AEC

A Letter From the USEA CEO: AEC Difficult Decisions, Kentucky Horse Park Open for Business

By this time I am sure that you have received the news that the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds (AEC) has been canceled. I sincerely apologize for the difficulty this has caused everyone involved. I want to commend the USEA Board of Governors for making an extremely hard decision.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA