Courtney King, of New Milford, CT, will ride Christine McCarthy's 18-year-old KWPN stallion Idocus at the 2008 FEI World Cup Dressage Final in s'Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, on March 27-30, as one of two United States representatives in the prestigious international event. Sponsorship provided by Renee Isler of Westford, MA, enabled King to complete a major portion of the funding for her trip to the World Cup.
The show's Organizing Committee awarded King approximately $10,000 towards transportation costs for Idocus, however the actual funds necessary will be approximately double that amount. In addition to roundtrip air travel from the U.S. to the Netherlands, there are also ground trucking costs to and from the airports, trucking to and from U.S. Dressage Chef d'Equipe Klaus Balkenhol's stable in Germany, and trucking to and from s'Hertogenbosch for the World Cup. Isler generously offered to cover all the additional travel expenses beyond the show's allotment.
King, who leases Idocus from owner Christine McCarthy, bears much of the financial responsibility for additional expenses to compete internationally. Sponsorship from Isler has eliminated the burden of fundraising for this trip, allowing King to concentrate on preparing and competing at the 2008 FEI World Cup Dressage Final.
"I was initially under the impression that the Show Organizing Committee paid the full amount of travel for the horses going to the World Cup, and I learned otherwise only after I was selected to go. My first reaction was that I simply could not go - there was no way I could come up with the money," King said. "Renee and I speak often, and when she heard about the quandary, she immediately jumped in to offer help, no hesitation."
Isler noted that it was she who contacted King about helping her with financial support. "I consider Courtney an extremely hard worker and that's why I want to help her," said Isler, who met King a year ago. "To me, she's just spectacular. She's so down-to-earth. She's one of those people that you want to help. She's out there trying, promoting the right thing, and she works hard. Courtney has a lot of sponsors, but everybody needs more, and there are a lot of things that Courtney has been paying out of her pocket. Riders like that I'd really like to help. She needed help with the transportation and I could help her with that. I plan to help her more in the future. "
Isler, a successful businesswoman and dressage enthusiast, had to give up riding as a child due to financial restraints, but began riding again eight years ago. She currently owns Tokyo, an eight-year-old KWPN gelding, ridden by Paige Finnegan in the Developing Horse and Prix St. Georges/Intermediaire I divisions. Isler has been a sponsor at major east coast shows including the Grand Prix Freestyle at the 2007 Centerline Events at HITS on the Hudson CDI-W/Y/J/P, in Saugerties, NY; the FEI Grand Prix CDI at the 2007 New England Dressage Association Fall Festival CDI-W/Y/J Saugerties, NY; a Gold Sponsor at the 2008 PhelpsSports.com Palm Beach Dressage Derby, FL; and the annual Wellington Junior/Young Rider Clinic organized by Dr. Cetty Weiss in Florida. Isler has also been working with the Dressage Foundation for two years and established the "Renee Isler Dressage Support Fund," which provides up to nine grants of $800 each for Young Riders accepted to the USDF FEI JR/YR Clinics.