January 8, 2011, Wellington, Florida – Kicking off the New Year in style, the American Dressage Team came together again at the home of David and Arlene Page in Wellington, Florida for a USET Foundation gathering of supporters to give thanks to those who contributed to their efforts in their successful fourth place at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, 2010 Kentucky. WEG double bronze medalist Steffen Peters spoke for the team when he expressed their gratitude for the support. "I had no idea how much it actually costs to train, transport, coach and really make the team work," noted 2010 World Equestrian Games Dressage U.S. rider and Olympian Steffen Peters. "I am so very thankful to the USET Foundation and everyone who supports the Foundation. The team could not function without their incredible generosity- so thanks again for everything you do for us!"
Bonnie Jenkins executive director for the USET Foundation reiterated her gratitude, by explaining it is through the USET Foundation where the funds are generated to handle the huge budget required for our high performance teams to represent out country in international competition such as the World Equestrian and Olympic Games.
On a beautiful Florida evening guests gathered at the Page home and were served a delicious fare of food created by Chef Fredo Boyer, who together with wife Kim Boyer, co-hosted the evening’s party with the Pages. Known for his passion for fine wines, David Page treated his guests with their choice throughout the evening of a quality selection topped off ceremoniously with a rare dessert wine. Both Kim Boyer of Hampton Green Farm and Arlene Page are active board members for the Foundation helping the effort which is an on going annual challenge to meet the cost of competition. While in 2010 for the first time the World Equestrian Games was held on American soil, it is still required for our high performance riders to gain exposure on European soil. In 2011 the Pan American Games will be held in Mexico, in 2012 the Olympics in London, and in 2014 the World Equestrian Games will be in Normandy, France.
All team members, Steffen Peters, Tina Konyot, Todd Flettrich, and Katherine Bateson are professionals whose lives and livelihood were put on hold for a minimum of six months to train and prepare for the Games. Flettrich, Konyot and Bateson travelled to Europe to train compete in European venues gaining valuable exposure and experience. Under the guidance of Technical Director Anne Gribbons, the freshman trio joined Peters to earn a fourth place at the World Equestrian Games earning the important qualification to compete at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Gribbons and FEI Judge and rider and competitor herself has had to travel to Australia, and competitions in Europe where no Americans were competing to keep up her judge’s license since taking on the position of American technical Advisor. With the new year underway, all riders are back to work teaching, training, giving clinics. In fact Californian Peters was doing that all weekend in Wellington, allowing the team the rare opportunity to once again be together for an evening of friends, fun and appreciation.
It is the accomplishments of our high performance dressage riders which fuel the entire sport. While we often see the glory and glamour of their performances with the backdrop of crowds, medals and victory laps, after those achievements they are all back to work getting their lives back on track and bills paid. Even with the support of some with incredible owners, the riders who make our teams personally give a lot to the sport. Of course those achievements secure a position as a USET team member, a title they will carry for life, a patch well earned on their shadbelly.
So for all of us in the sport, even at the grass roots who are working hard to keep our horses, pay for lessons and shows, do try to consider contributing to the USET Foundation and all the good work they do helping the best of the best in our country continue to do us proud.
To donate and become a member of the USET Foundation visit USET.org