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Courtney King Captures Seven Victories at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby

WELLINGTON, FL – March 7, 2007 – Courtney King, 29, of New Milford, Connecticut, impressed judges, spectators and fellow competitors at the PhelpsSports.com Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W CDI-Y by racking up a total of seven victories during the four-day show, Thursday through Sunday, March 1-4, in Loxahatchee, Florida. King competed in both the CDI (Concours de Dressage International), in which she notched three victories, and the CDN (Competition Dressage National), claiming four wins.

King and Idocus Win FEI Grand Prix Musical Freestyle

Highlighting King’s weekend in the CDI ring was her spectacular win aboard Idocus in the FEI Grand Prix Musical Freestyle on Sunday in which she notched a remarkable 75.850%. All five international judges presiding over the 13-horse field scored King and Idocus as the winners. Idocus (Equador x Eretha) is a 17-year-old, Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Christine McCarthy.

King was beaming as she left the ring, and remarked, “I didn’t even care what the score was going to be, I was so happy with Idocus’s enthusiasm. That’s the most important thing for me with that horse – so the smile was there!”

Judge Anne Gribbons (O) USA at B marked King’s ride at 76%, and commented, “Courtney’s ride was truly dressage. It was just beautiful. The horse was right with her. The harmony was fabulous and that horse is not a powerhouse – but the submission, in a nice way [was good], the way they work together. Their camaraderie is just great the way they communicated with each other. Especially when you sit on the side, you really can appreciate it because you see the frame of the horse and the mouth a lot more when you sit in that position. You can really tell how the top-line works under the rider. It’s really beautiful to watch. It’s quite understandable that she won.”

King and Idocus were exhibiting this freestyle for only the third time. King and Terry Gallo of Klassic Kur created the soundtrack and choreography specifically for Idocus. U.S. Dressage Coach Klaus Balkenhol, who watched the two previous performances, provided input for adjustments to the kur, which King included today. For her music, King used one piece of a Broadway show tune from her previous freestyle and built the new one around that music. She included Cavity Cat from Cats for the canter, Follow the Yellow Brick Road from The Wizard of Oz for the walk, and If I Were a Rich Man from Fiddler on the Roof for the trot.

King was especially thrilled with Idocus’s trot work and pointed out, “I thought all the piaffe and passage work was really nice.” Overall King was thoroughly pleased with the freestyle and her horse, and noted, “He was very, very happy with himself and I’m really, really happy with him.”

King and Idocus are qualified for, and will compete in, the USEF National Freestyle Championship / U.S. League Final, which will be held March 29-April 1, in Burbank, California. The League Final determines the two horse-and-rider combinations that will represent the United States at the Rolex FEI World Cup Final™, April 19-21, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Officiating at the FEI Grand Prix Musical Freestyle: were Anne Gribbons (O) at B; Dieter Schüele (O) Germany at E; Francis Verbeek Von Rooy (O) Netherlands at H; Stephen Clarke (O) Great Britain at C; and Wojciech Markowski (O) Poland at M.

King Takes First and Second in PSG Aboard Rendezvous 3 and Mythilus

In the CDI ring on Friday, King riding Rendezvous 3 for owner Francine Walker won the Prix St. Georges with a score of 72.450%, besting a huge field of 41 horses. Rendezvous is a 12-year-old Warmblood mare owned by Francine Walker.

King also claimed second place aboard Mythilus, scoring 72.10%. Mythilus is a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Richard Malloch.

The class was a qualifier for the Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Intermediaire I National Championship/Pan American Games Selection Trials, and King considers both mounts as candidates for the 2007 Pan American Games, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in July.

“It feels great!” enthused King about her top two finishes. “It was a huge class and I think for a lot of people going for the Pan Am Games, other than the west coast riders [not competing here], it was a pretty legitimate test for where we stand in the running for that. Both horses are very high quality, and to be within a half a percentage mark of each other was really phenomenal.”

Rendezvous had endured a bout of colic the week before the show, and King commented, “I wasn’t exactly sure what I would have in [the ring], but halfway through the warm-up, when I put the burners under her, she said, ‘you know, I’m ready!’ When we went in the ring, she was even better. She really rose to the occasion. I really thought her trot extensions and her pirouettes and the things that are strengths for her, she really showcased. There were a couple of things we could still get higher marks on, but overall she was just extremely, extremely honest and in front of me and expressive.”

Judging the class were: Francis Verbeek von Rooy (O) Netherlands at E; Stephen Clarke (O) Great Britain at H; Dieter Schüele at C; Anne Gribbons (O) USA at M; and Marianne Ludwig (I) USA at B.

King and Mythilus Win FEI Intermediaire I

King riding Mythilus for owner Richard Malloch took their turn in the honor round on Saturday when they won the FEI Intermediaire I with an outstanding score of 74.250%. The duo topped a strong field of 40 horses.

“I thought he was much softer in the contact but more with me,” King commented, comparing the ride aboard Mythilus with the previous day’s Prix St. Georges. “But I still felt like it was a little bit strong. It looks different than it feels. Sometimes when he’s on that edge, he looks fantastic – so that’s what the score told me. I felt confident that I had him together the whole time. I didn’t feel like any errors were coming at any time.”

The judges were mightily impressed with this ride and showed it in their scores – 78.00% from Wojciech Markowski (O) Poland at H; 71.00% from Anne Gribbons (O) USA at C; and 73.75% from Gisela Holstein (I) Ireland at B.

King commented on her back-to-back wins after two days of competition in the small tour at the PhelpsSports Derby, saying, “It was great to have Rendezvous win yesterday and Myth win today. I think that was very, very cool, and to have both horses feeling so good and strong and reliable with a couple of months to work still before Gladstone, this is hopefully my last show for the season. I’ll probably take Myth with me when I go to California with Idocus for the League Finals. I might do one show out there, but probably not, so it was a great way to cap off the season.”

King Earns Four Victories in the CDN at PhelpsSports Derby

In the Competition Dressage National (CDN), King earned four victories in the open lower level classes.

King and Jubilant Claim Two Fourth Level Wins

King riding Jubilant won Fourth Level Test 2 with a score of 69.773%. The duo also claimed victory in Fourth Level Test 3 with a score of 66.341%. Jubilant is an eight-year-old Oldenburg stallion owned by Anne Wood and Virginia Easley.

King and Harmony’s Wyoming Win Twice Performing FEI Young Horse Tests

King aboard her own Harmony’s Wyoming won the FEI Test of Choice (TOC) riding the FEI Six Year Old Finale Test with a score of 79.000%. The duo topped that in the FEI Six Year Old class, earning an extraordinary 82.00%. Harmony’s Wyoming is a six-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Weltmeyer.

PHOTO CAPTION: Courtney King and Idocus win Grand Prix Freestyle at PhelpsSports.com Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W CDI-Y. PHOTO CREDIT: SusanJStickle.com


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