SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA - June 21, 2008 - Courtney King-Dye, 30, of New Milford, CT, has qualified two horses, Idocus and Harmony's Mythilus, for the USEF National Grand Prix Dressage Championship/USEF Olympic Games Selection Trials. The Selection Trials start today at the 2008 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Champions, with competition on June 21-22 and June 28-29, at the Oaks Blenheim/Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano, CA.
In addition to her Olympic candidates, King-Dye has two up-and-coming Grand Prix horses - Harmony's Wyoming and Grandioso - that need to stay in training with her, warranting that they accompany her to California with her Olympic candidates. While Harmony's Mythilus, owned by Harmony Amateur Sports Foundation, and Grandioso, owned by Hampton Green Farm, are owner-sponsored horses, Idocus and Harmony's Wyoming are not. King-Dye leases her Olympic candidate Idocus and owns Harmony's Wyoming. Through her fundraising efforts, King-Dye raised the $50,000 she needed for these two non-sponsored horses to travel to California for the weeks she is based here for the Olympic Selection Trials.
King-Dye noted that she would not have been able to afford the trip for her two non-sponsored horses had it not been for the support of generous contributors, including people who attended her Send Off Party organized by Lendon Gray, donors to her "Courtney's Quest" program, lead sponsor Renee Isler, and sponsor Purina. "I want to acknowledge those people who are helping me so much," King-Dye said.
Lendon Gray and Courtney's Send Off Party
The Send Off Party for King-Dye was held on Memorial Day at Sunnyfield Farm, home of Lendon Gray's Gleneden Dressage, in Bedford, NY. King-Dye and Gray organized an exciting agenda, sent out invitations, and offered a variety of contribution opportunities.
"I thank Lendon for being so pivotal in setting up the Send Off Party," said King-Dye. "It was organized primarily as a send-off party for me from Lendon and her crew, but we had a big silent auction that a ton of people donated really fun items to, so it doubled as a fundraiser."
At the party, approximately 200 guests were treated to cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, a barbecue, and dressage entertainment. King-Dye and Idocus demonstrated their well-known freestyle to Broadway tunes that they performed at both the 2007 and 2008 World Cup Finals. King-Dye also rode Hampton Green Farm's Grandioso in a musical Pas de Deux exhibition on Spanish horses, partnered with Mica Mabragana on Patricia's Drago. Guests also enjoyed a video presentation of King-Dye's 2007 show highlights.
Donors had the opportunity to make contributions at the party or mail them in. Checks payable to Medal Equestrian, http://www.medalequestrian.com
, were 100% tax deductible as charitable contributions.
"It was a very fun celebration and incredibly successful fundraising," said King-Dye. "I was extremely touched by the number of people who came and also by the number of people who sent in contributions even though they couldn't come. It was really fun and felt really good."
King-Dye noted, "On top of the funds raised at the party, there were so many generous people all over the States sending $50, $100, $1,000 - whatever it was, to join my Courtney's Quest."
"Courtney's Quest" is a program in which her supporters can sign up for different amounts for different levels of involvement. For $50 for juniors, or $100 for adults, up to $499, donors receive Courtney's journals of her travels and experiences. Courtney is a wonderful writer and quite open in her discussions about what she is experiencing. For $500 to $999 donors also receive four DVDs of King-Dye's training, competing, and commentary throughout the year. For $1,000 or more, donors receive the journals, DVDs, and a lesson with Courtney on their own horse.
King-Dye said, "There are generous people that are supporting me more than I can really repay, but at least I feel that I'm doing something in return."
"I really owe a ton of thanks to Renee Isler, who donated $20,000," noted King-Dye. "Her contribution was to help me with my career overall, and not specifically about supporting one horse in particular. She was the first one to give money when I announced the Send Off Party. It's such an incredibly generous contribution, especially right after she paid the rest of Idocus's plane ticket for the World Cup."
King-Dye also noted, "Although Renee's intention is to support me as a rider regardless of the horse, I viewed that money as allowing me to bring Harmony's Wyoming to California to school him. It's much easier to raise support for 'Idy' because he's the famous horse and is going for the Olympics and is so well loved by his fans. It's so hard to raise money for my own Wyoming, who I see as my future. He has to go with me if he's going to be able to step into the ranks in Grand Prix."
Renee Isler of Westford, MA, donated funds that enabled King and Idocus to travel to the 2008 World Cup Final in s'Hertogenbosch, Netherlands last March. Isler has been a sponsor at major east coast shows and the annual Wellington Junior/Young Rider Clinic organized by Dr. Cetty Weiss in Florida. She has worked with the Dressage Foundation for two years and established the "Renee Isler Dressage Support Fund," which provides grants for Young Riders accepted to the USDF FEI JR/YR Clinics.
"Renee is all about giving back and that's really great about her," said King-Dye. "I'm working with her to organize a Young Rider clinic that I'll teach free of charge. That's how she works, which I think is really cool. It's great that she wants me to give back and gives me the chance to do that."
"Purina has just been incredible!" King-Dye enthused. "They've been helping me so much with the horses' diet. Idocus and Myth are both on a different diet that works really well for them. Purina has been totally hands on - coming out to check on the horses and regulate their feed. On top of that, they gave me a check for $10,000. It's amazing that they did that. They've also been awesome about setting up locations for my feed during all my traveling."
ESDCTA Memorial Weekend Show Victories
On the weekend before her Send Off Party, King-Dye competed in one final horse show - the Eastern States Dressage and Combined Training Association (ESDCTA) Memorial Weekend Dressage Show on May 23-25, in Allentown, NJ. Axel Steiner (O) USA and Cara Whitham (O) Canada were the judges.
King's mounts for the competition were Idocus, Harmony's Mythilus, Harmony's Wyoming, and Jubilant, a nine-year-old Oldenburg stallion owned by Anne Wood and Virginia Easley. King also brought Grandioso, a nine-year-old P.R.E. stallion owned by Hampton Green Farm, for schooling.
The show proved to be another stellar success for her two Olympic candidates. Idocus received nearly all 8s for his piaffe and passage, plus a 9 on a pirouette, and won the FEI Grand Prix with a score of 71.875%. Harmony's Mythilus performed his new freestyle to Cat Stevens' "Sad Lisa" for the first time and won the FEI Freestyle Test of Choice with 70.00%. Harmony's Mythilus also earned second place in the FEI Grand Prix with an impressive 70.104%.
King-Dye's aim for her other two FEI mounts at the ESDCTA show was to qualify them for 2008 Dressage at Devon, which she accomplished. Jubilant won the Prix St. Georges with a score of 66.125% and also won the Intermediaire I, scoring 68.00%. Harmony's Wyoming won the Developing Horse Prix St. Georges for Young Horses with 67.879% and placed third in the FEI Prix St. Georges with 64.750%
Pre-Olympic Selection Trial Training
Based at Steffen Peters' facility in San Diego since early June, King-Dye has been preparing Idocus and Harmony's Mythilus for the USEF National Grand Prix Dressage Championship/USEF Olympic Games Selection Trials. King also brought two up-and-coming Grand Prix horses with her to California in order to continue their training - Harmony's Wyoming and Grandioso. King owns Harmony's Wyoming, a seven-year-old Hanoverian gelding. Kim Boyer's Hampton Green Farm owns Grandioso and sponsored his trip to the West Coast.
Peters, who is also qualified for the Selection Trials with two horses, has been providing coaching to King-Dye. Dressage Chef d'Equipe Klaus Balkenhol recently arrived in the U.S. and has also been coaching King-Dye.
King-Dye and Idocus are ranked #3 in the nation on the 2008 USEF National Grand Prix Dressage and Selection Trial Ranking List, having earned an overall average of 71.263% in the yearlong qualifying period. Idocus is an 18-year-old KWPN stallion that King-Dye leases from owner Christine McCarthy.
King and Harmony's Mythilus are ranked #7 on the USEF National Grand Prix Dressage and Selection Trial Ranking List, having achieved an overall average of 68.167% in the qualifying year. Harmony's Mythilus is a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Harmony Amateur Sports Foundation.
PHOTO CAPTION: Courtney King-Dye and Harmony's Mythilus. PHOTO CREDIT: Susan J. Stickle.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/courtney-king-dye-usef-olympic-06-08.html">Courtney King-Dye Thanks Donors Spearheaded by Renee Isler for Their Support Heading into USEF Olympic Games Selection Trials</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com