Courtney King: The European Experience

Shortly after the USDF Region 8 Finals in 2000, Courtney left her position as Lendon Gray's assistant trainer at Gleneden Dressage in Bedford, New York, and embarked on her career as an independent trainer. Her first stop was Germany, where she took four horses to train at Conrad Schumacher's facility. Three of the horses were stallions - two youngsters, and one international contender, Idocus, with whom she had just completed a season of Grand Prix in the United States, including a top placing at Devon.

Despite a stay in the hospital where "no one spoke English," surgery on her hand, and the frustration of missed opportunities, at the end of her five months with Mr. Schumacher, Courtney rode Idocus at the International Stallion Show at Zwolle in The Netherlands. The pair placed third, earning a 70%. Courtney had to part with Idocus right after the competition.

"I left Idocus at the show in Holland. I had to just leave him there and walk away. I didn't know where he was going to go, or what he was going to do. But his owner was having legal problems and so that's what I had to do," said Courtney. "It was amazing. He was my Olympic hope. Now I don't have a horse, but it's a goal. Those horses don't come along all the time.