Articles: Press Release
Courtney King and Idocus Win Grand Prix at Washington International
Horse Show Invitational Dressage Championship
Courtney King and Idocus won the Grand Prix at the WIHS Invitational
Dressage Championship. Photo Credit: Diana De Rosa.
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
Mary Hilton for Phelps Media Group, Inc., International
at (561) 753-3389 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, D.C. - October 26, 2006 - Courtney King of New Milford,
Connecticut, riding Idocus, a 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned
by Christine McCarthy, won the Grand Prix tonight at the Washington
International Horse Show (WIHS). The evening class, comprised of four
contenders at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., is the first of
two phases in the $25,000 WIHS Invitational Dressage Championship.
Tomorrow night, the four competitors will return to contest the Grand
Prix Musical Freestyle. Each class counts for 50% of the total score for
the championship title, which will be awarded tomorrow night, with the
winner receiving $10,000.
Officiating tonight were two international ("I") judges. Gary Rockwell
of Wellington, Florida, judged at E and Peruvian Marian Cunningham of
Middleburg, Virginia, presided at C. Rockwell awarded King and Idocus
68.750% and Cunningham marked the duo at 68.958% for the winning total
score of 68.854%.
King was thrilled with her win. "It's like waking up on Christmas
morning and finding your present and then going back upstairs and
finding another present!" King beamed.
King, 28, and Idocus last competed in an indoor arena five years ago at
the Zwolle International Stallion Show in Germany. She was very pleased
with her partner's reaction to the close confines of the warm-up and the
excitement of the atmosphere tonight, which included ladies sidesaddle,
Western barrel racing, and terrier races. "He's such a cool horse. He is
so cool in the brain," King enthused. "He was looking around a little
bit, but he's just cool as a cucumber. He'll get tighter in his body,
which might affect a little bit of the quality of his gaits, but he's
really dependable. With him being a stallion and all these horses so
close, he was so cool. He's just a gem." In tonight's performance, King
said that she was most pleased with Idocus's exuberant one-tempi
Canada's two-time Olympian Ashley Holzer of New York, New York, who won
this class last year with her 2006 World Equestrian Games mount Gambol,
debuted her new Grand Prix mount, Pop Art, and earned second place
tonight. Rockwell awarded Holzer 66.875%, while Cunningham tallied the
duo at 68.750% for a total of 67.813%. Pop Art is a nine-year-old Dutch
gelding owned by Holzer and her father, Ian Nicoll. "This was the first
time Pop Art has ever done the Grand Prix. He was a bit shocked," Holzer
said. "He was scared of the setting, but he did so well for his first
time. This horse is an incredible horse."
Suzanne Dansby-Phelps of Atlanta, Georgia, with her own Cooper took the
third place ribbon. Judge Rockwell assessed the pair at 69.167%, the
highest mark earned tonight, while Cunningham awarded 63.333%, for a
total of 66.250%. Cooper is an 18.3-hand, 14-year-old chestnut
George Williams of Delaware, Ohio, rode Marnix to the fourth place slot.
Judge Rockwell gave the duo 65.208% and Cunningham assessed the ride at
62.917%, giving Williams a total of 64.063%. Marnix is a 12-year-old
Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Charles and Joann Smith.
King said the class tonight was "fantastic" because of the caliber of
her competitors. "I was so impressed with the quality of the horses and
riders. I've never seen Cooper go in person - what an awesome horse and
so well trained - and really nearly mistake-free tests," King noted,
adding, "I always think Marnix is such an elastic and flamboyant horse.
It was really fun to see the quality here and actually have the chance
to watch it. And of course Ashley - she's my hero. She can make anything
work. For her horse's first grand prix test, that was really exciting
As an added highlight, while the scores were tallied before the ribbon
presentation in the dressage competition, Laura Noyes, 19, of Falmouth,
Maine, rode a musical freestyle aboard her 12-year-old Trahkener gelding
Syncro. Noyes and Syncro will represent the United States in December at
the FEI Young Riders World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany, and the
opportunity to ride her freestyle indoors was great experience as well
as entertainment for the crowd. Noyes is a student at Ohio Wesleyan
University and trains with George Williams in Ohio.
Following the ribbon presentation, while King and Holzer fielded
questions from the news media, Williams, Dansby-Phelps, and Noyes
participated in an autograph session, which lasted 90 minutes as they
accommodated the line-up of fans.
Tonight's Grand Prix winner King summed up the evening by noting that
she'd like to see more competitions like the $25,000 WIHS Invitational
Dressage Championship. "Everybody benefits. It's great experience for
the rider. It's great exposure for the sponsors," King explained. "It's
great education for the dressage world to be able to see, not a class of
15 horses, but a very small dose of strong good dressage. We could use
more of it."