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.!

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The Virginia Horse Trials are held twice yearly at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Virginia (Area II). At their event in May, they offer Starter through Advanced/Intermediate horse trials, CCI*-L, CCI2*-L, CCI2*-S, and CCI3*-S FEI classes, and USEA Young Event Horse classes. At their event in October, they offer Starter through Advanced/Intermediate Horse Trials and CCI*-L, CCI2*-L, CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S, and CCI3*-L, FEI divisions.

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