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Athlete Portrait Campaign Debuts at the World Cup Finals to Benefit USET Foundation

GLADSTONE, NJ – April 13, 2007 – Sixteen extraordinary images measuring 4’ x 6’ of High Performance athletes who compete in the Olympic sports of dressage and show jumping will hang impressively in the walkway of the Thomas and Mack Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the 2007 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Finals, marking the debut of the Athlete Portrait Campaign created by Director/Cinematographer Elma Garcia.

Garcia created the campaign to serve a dual purpose of public relations and fundraising to benefit the USET Foundation. “My idea is to show the public the other side of these athletes,” Garcia explained, “to show the connection between the athlete and the horse, and to celebrate who these people are.”

For spectators, four Limited Edition posters from the Athlete Portrait Campaign will be available April 18-21 at the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Finals for a donation of $35 or more to the USET Foundation. These stunning posters are a special collector’s item and will not be found for sale anywhere else. After the World Cup™, the posters will be available through the USET Foundation website at http://www.uset.org only while supplies last. All proceeds from the sales of the posters will benefit the U.S. equestrian team athletes and their High Performance programs.

The dramatic posters from the Athlete Portrait Campaign feature close-up portraits of equestrian athletes dressed in ‘civilian’ attire posing with their famous mounts and include a short rider biography on the back. Autograph sessions with the athletes will be scheduled during the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas.

Show jumping fans may select a 24” x 36” poster of Beezie Madden with Authentic, as well as an 18” x 40” composite poster featuring nine athletes and their horses – Lauren Hough and Casadora, Todd Minikus and Olinda, Molly Ashe and Kroon Gravin, Candice King and Coco Cabana, Beezie Madden and Authentic, Laura Kraut and Miss Independent, Margie Engle and Hidden Creek’s Quervo Gold, Schuyler Riley and Ilian, and McLain Ward and Larioso.

Dressage aficionados may choose a 24” x 36” poster of Debbie McDonald with Brentina, as well as the 18” x 40” composite poster of six athletes and their horses – Steffen Peters and Floriano, Courtney King and Idocus, Guenter Seidel and Aragon, Debbie McDonald and Brentina, Arlene Page and Wild One, and Kristina Harrison-Naness and Rociero XV.

To create these outstanding portraits, Garcia utilized her skills as a still photographer to photograph the athletes with their horses in barns and arenas in New York, New Jersey, Florida, and California during 2006 and 2007 at her own expense. In addition to the show jumpers and dressage riders, Garcia also photographed athletes from three-day eventing, the third Olympic discipline. She purchased wardrobe for each athlete and brought David Michaud, a make-up artist from Los Angeles, to do hair and makeup. Garcia used a 20’ x 24’ black backdrop and natural light to illuminate her subjects. “The backdrop allowed all the energy and attention to go to the horse and rider and that connection,” Garcia explained. “That is another element that makes this campaign look so beautiful – it’s just horse and rider and the essence of who they are.”

Garcia noted that all the athletes were great models and excited about the Athlete Portrait Campaign. “All the athletes were fantastic and enthusiastic about this,” Garcia said. “They’re all extremely grateful to the USET Foundation and for them, it’s been great.”

Garcia brainstormed the idea for the Athlete Portrait Campaign in the fall of 2005 when she was at River Grove Farm in Hailey, Idaho, enjoying the month-long training session she had claimed as one of three high bidders at the 2004 Debbie McDonald Training Package Auction. Even though Garcia (and each of the other winning bidders) had contributed $80,000 to clinch the package at the auction – a benefit for the USET Foundation, she considered that a small price to pay for the experience of a lifetime. Garcia explained that she wanted to say ‘thank-you’ to the USET Foundation, McDonald, other athletes, and owners such as Peggy and Parry Thomas of River Grove Farm, by portraying equestrian athletes to the public in a different light while also helping to raise funds for the USET Foundation.

“They’re very beautiful. I’m very proud of them,” Garcia said of the Athlete Portrait Campaign images. “To me it’s a privilege to be able to use my gift in a positive way for the love of photography and the love of horses and the love of athletes. It’s fantastic! It’s what it’s all about.”

The posters from the Athlete Portrait Campaign available to the public at the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Finals are a Limited Edition and once they are sold out, they will not be reprinted. These stunning posters are a special collector’s item and will not be found for sale anywhere else. After the World Cup, the posters will be available through the USET Foundation website at http://www.uset.org only while supplies last.

The non-profit United States Equestrian Team Foundation supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international, high-performance athletes and horses in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation. For more information about the USET Foundation or to make a donation, please call (908) 234-1251 or visit its website at http://www.uset.org.



PHOTO CAPTIONS: Show Jumping Athletes Composite Poster. PHOTO CREDIT: Elma Garcia.

 

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