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Courtney King Rides Four Champions at GAIG/USDF Region 8 Dressage Championship

WELLINGTON, FL – September 22, 2006 – Courtney King, 28, of New Milford, Connecticut, claimed four of the eight Champion titles and two of the Reserve Champion titles at the Great American Insurance Group / United States Dressage Federation (GAIG/USDF) Region 8 Dressage Championship at the New England Dressage Association (NEDA) Fall Festival of Dressage, held September 13-17 at HITS on the Hudson in Saugerties, New York.

The five-day competition, recognized by the U.S. Equestrian Federation, hosted 580 horses and was presented by The DeMoulas Foundation and Dressage Today for the benefit of the Joslin Diabetes Center. In addition to the regional championships, the event included a Sport Horse Breed Show, the CDI 3*/Y Saugerties recognized by the FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale), and a National Competition featuring the Fall Festival Sweepstakes. King competed successfully in the international CDI Grand Prix and won the Third Level Sweepstakes in the Fall Festival Sweepstakes.

Overcoming daunting deluges and soaked ring conditions for most of the show, King rode seven horses in a total of 24 tests over four days, ranging from Training Level through Grand Prix. In combined results of the regional, national, and CDI competitions, King won eight classes and finished second in six classes, often claiming multiple placings in the same class.

“The conditions for basically the whole show were pretty terrible with very heavy rain and extremely sloppy footing, but these guys all just powered through it very dutifully!” said King complimenting her mounts – Noah, Harmony’s Wyoming, Tsunami, Jubilant, Roby WII, Timber, and Idocus.

GAIG/USDF Region 8 Training Level Champion - Noah

King rode Noah (Tsjerk x Dietske V.D. Hofstad), a six-year-old Friesian gelding owned by Sandy Holden, to the GAIG/USDF Region 8 Training Level Championship with a score of 69.038% in Training Level Test 4. Noah was also successful in the Open Dressage Competition, claiming the blue ribbon in First Level Test 3 with 66.857%.

GAIG/USDF Region 8 First Level Champion - Harmony’s Wyoming

GAIG/USDF Region 8 First Level Reserve Champion - Tsunami

King and Harmony’s Wyoming (Weltmeyer x Donna Clara), a five-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by King and Harmony Sport Horses, won the GAIG/USDF Region 8 First Level Championship with a score of 75.417% in First Level Test 4.

King also claimed the GAIG/USDF Region 8 First Level Reserve Championship aboard Tsunami, a six-year-old Arabian/Dutch warmblood gelding by Idocus owned by Wendy Luscombe, with a score of 70.417%. Tsunami also earned a victory in Open Competition, topping First Level Test 3 with 72.286%.

GAIG/USDF Region 8 Second Level Champion - Timber

King claimed the GAIG/USDF Region 8 Second Level Championship with Timber (Anton x Kira), a six-year-old Friesian gelding owned by Constance Sisler, earning a score of 69.608% in Second Level Test 4. Timber also chalked up a victory in Open Competition, claiming first place in Second Level Test 3 with 71.064%.

GAIG/USDF Region 8 Third Level Reserve Champion - Jubilant

King aboard Jubilant, a seven-year-old Oldenburg stallion by Don Schufro owned by Anne H. Wood and Virginia Easley, was named the GAIG/USDF Region 8 Third Level Reserve Champion with a score of 70.889%. Jubilant brought home a win in Open Competition, scoring 69.302% in Fourth Level Test 1. Jubilant also won the USEF Third Level Open/Sweepstakes, notching scores of 66.667% in Third Level Test 2 and 72.667% in Third Level Test 3.

King also rode Richard Malloch's Roby WII, an eight-year-old, 18.1-hand dark brown Oldenburg gelding by Rubenstein, to third place in the GAIG/USDF Region 8 Third Level Championship with a score of 70.111%.

“These two both put in very good tests although the conditions were particularly hard for them, so it was not either of their most impressive performances,” noted King.

GAIG/USDF Region 8 Grand Prix Champion - Idocus

Topping off her weekend, King and Idocus, a 16-year-old Dutch stallion by Equador owned by Christine McCarthy, won the GAIG/USDF Region 8 Grand Prix Championship with a score of 68.750%. “Although the jumpers were going on in the ring next to us and the galloping hooves and the horn set him off to destroy the zig-zag and the first extended trot, he felt awesome!” noted King. “It was such a thrill to have him feeling happy and motivated.”

King and Idocus Vie for Points in CDI 3*/Y Saugerties

To earn qualifying scores for the 2007 USEF National Grand Prix Championship and the USEF National Grand Prix Freestyle Championship & U.S. League Final (selection for the 2007 FEI Dressage World Cup Final), King also competed Idocus in the FEI Grand Prix on Saturday and FEI Grand Prix Freestyle on Sunday in the CDI 3*/Y Saugerties.

“I couldn't wait to get him back into the ring for the CDI!” enthused King of her partner, after he had claimed the GAIG/USDF Region 8 Grand Prix Championship. “Unfortunately the ‘timing gods’ were against us as our Grand Prix ride coincided with the jump-off in the stadium next door!” Despite being distracted, Idocus put in a test that pleased King. “We had some great parts of the Grand Prix,” she noted. “So many people told me what a beautiful ride it was and that if it hadn't been for the outside interference it could well have been the winning test. Who knows? But again, my horse was happy and had some brilliant moments, so all I could do was chalk it up to experience.” The duo earned 61.375% for sixth place.

In the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle on Sunday, the atmosphere was blessedly quiet and King and Idocus put in an impressive, clean test, earning a score of 69.40% for third place. “He was still tense because of his last experience in that ring, so he was not as with me as he normally is – I know that we can show much more quality than that,” King said.

King is a 2004 graduate of Columbia University in New York with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature and is also a USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medalist and USDF Certified Instructor through Fourth Level. She commented on her ever-increasing experiences as a Grand Prix rider, saying, “It is such an interesting, challenging, and fun rollercoaster ride trying to hone and refine the perfect Grand Prix test. Every time you think you have one thing figured out, something else pops up. I have enormous respect for the great riders like Steffen Peters and Debbie McDonald who with time, patience, and an infinite amount of skill, can create such perfect Grand Prix tests again and again. So inspiring!”

Officiating at the NEDA Fall Festival of Dressage were the following judges:

CDI Jury - 
Marian Cunningham, Peru, FEI (I
); Anne Gribbons, New York, FEI (O); 
Joan Macartney, Canada, FEI (I);
Maribel Alonso de Quinzannos, Mexico, FEI (I); 
Axel Steiner, California, FEI (O);
and Cara Whitham, Canada, FEI (O). 

USEF Jury -
Betsy Berrey, Florida, USEF (S); 
Joanna Crilly, Canada, Canadian (R);
Liselotte Fore, California, FEI (I); 
Marilyn Heath, Pennsylvania, USEF (S); 
Sue Madden Mandas, Ohio, USEF (S); 
Debby Savage, New Jersey, USEF (R);
Hanne Valentin, Denmark, FEI (O) Retired; and 
Lois Yukins, Massachusetts, FEI (I).

PHOTO CAPTION: Courtney King and Idocus, GAIG/USDF Region 8 Grand Prix Champions. PHOTO CREDIT: Carole MacDonald


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