Courtney King has been reaquainting herself after a four year separation with the world-class stallion Idocus, who competed in the Athens Olympic Games with Marlies Van Baalen for the Netherlands. King's last ride on the KWPN Stallion (by Equador x Zonneglans) before he was turned over to Johann Hinnemann and Van Baalen was in 2001 where the the pair bedazzled the crowds at the Zwolle Stallion Show, finishing third in round one of the Grand Prix - Best Stallion Class behind another American Lisa Wilcox and Relevant with a 70%.
But it has not been such smooth sailing since his return to American soil last fall. Now 16, the handsome stallion, still fit and sound has learned a thing or two about the competition ring. King, in Florida for the season with a barn full of horses and clients, has used all of her expertise and talent to reconnect. Even Hinnemann has been quoted as describing the popular stallion as "a man with a will of his own". But King, who truely loves the horse, owned by Christine McCarthy knows she can find the key to his soul again.
At Dressage at Equestrian Estates after a disappionting finish in the USEF High Performance Grand Prix qualifier where they place earned fifth place in a field of 10 horses with a score of 63.889% , King tried a new tactic.
“I was very disappointed because he was so awesome in the warm-up and the test started very well,” King said. “Then he just decided that he didn't have to perform again.” King devised a plan to show Idocus’s best test in the ring, rather than in the warm-up. She entered him in the Grand Prix in the Open FEI Test of Choice class on Sunday, April 2, which allowed her to carry a whip in the ring. “Sure enough, that did the trick,” King said. Idocus scored 69.157% for second place – missing the victory by just a tenth of a point! The winner of the class, Heather Bender riding Winwood in the Open FEI Intermediaire I, scored 69.250%.
“My plan now is to only show Idocus in Open Grand Prix classes for a while so I can continue to carry a whip and in this way I can get him back into the habit of performing,” King explained. “It is my hope that I will then be able to carry the horse I have in the warm-up into the show ring!”
King’s victories with Roby W II, an Oldenburg gelding by Rubenstein owned by Richard Malloch in Loxahatchee capped off her winter season in Florida winning the High Score for their division. She and her six horses will return to her home base stable at Lendon Gray's Gleneden Dressage at Sunnyfield Farm in Bedford, New York, and rejoin the additional nine horses in her charge. King is preparing for the upcoming spring show season in the Northeast where she will be exhibiting horses from Training Level through Grand Prix.