Big Shot

Photo courtesy of Terisé Cole
(2011 – )
Owned by Dulcie Lou Morris
Inducted: 2022

Photos

Photo courtesy of Terisé Cole
Photo courtesy of Terisé Cole
Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography
Big Shot was a sale horse at Far West Farms when farm owner Jenny Karazissis first met the 2011 Holsteiner gelding. She immediately recognized him as a special horse and reached out to Gaby Morgerman and Dulcie Lou Morris to invest in him. As luck would have it, the stars aligned and "Dude" became family.

Karazissis' initial assessment of Dude's talent proved to be correct, and the former dressage horse quickly went on to find success in the hunter arena with Karazissis aboard. In 2018, he was named the United Stated Equestrian Federation (USEF) 3'6" Green Hunter Horse of the Year.

But not everything has been smooth sailing for Dude. Intermittent health issues – including unexplained fevers and a loss of interest in eating – plagued the gelding, and no one seemed to be able to pinpoint exactly why. In 2020, a team of specialists finally found the answer: Dude was suffering from a metabolic disorder. With a clear course of treatment and a six-month respite, he returned to the arena stronger than ever.

In 2021, he earned the title of champion or reserve champion in six out of the seven high-performance hunter competitions that he was entered in. With Karazissis in the irons, he was also the leading horse of the 2021 United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby Qualifying Series and is listed among the top 50 for the USHJA International Hunter Derby – Horse Money Won lifetime standings. Perhaps most notably, Dude jumped to a victory at the $100,000 WCHR West Coast Spectacular and was declared USEF 2021 National Horse of the Year.

Owner Dulcie Lou Morris also enjoys competing with Dude in the amateur classes.

"He has a lovely canter and a beautiful expression when on course," shared Morris. "He always jumps in amazing style…he never gets bored and loves, loves, loves to compete."

While the gelding certainly lives up to his name inside the hunter ring, he has a big personality outside of the show arena, too. He is always hoping for treats – mints are his favorite – and he likes to be engaged in what is going on around him. He also prefers to have his turnout time limited.

"He does not like to be turned out for long periods of time – just long enough to roll a few times," said Morris. "Then he goes to the gate as if to say, ‘Get me out of here.'"

As for what comes next, Dude will continue to compete in the hunter arena for as long as he is happy and healthy doing so.

"I see a lot more fun in his future," said Morris.