Elisabeth Austin and Olivier To Train with Klaus Balkenhol in Germany

Not only is Elisabeth Austin the winner of the Inaugural Brentina Cup, a special show circuit with finals for rising young Grand Prix riders, but at Gladstone she also caught the interest of U.S. team coach Klaus Balkenhol and has been invited to train with him in Germany this autumn.

Aboard her home bred Dutch warmblood licensed stallion Olivier (by Idocus), Austin won the 2006 Brentina Cup at the Festival of Champions in Gladstone and the pair is now bound for Rosendahl, Germany, where they will get to spend two months training with Balkenhol.

"A US rider was interested in Olivier, and had sent Klaus a video of me riding him. Klaus did indeed see us in person at Gladstone, and got to see the true character of Fizzy in person- the kind of horse that tries even harder for you in the ring," Austin reminisched. "I got to speak with Klaus a few times, and he even helped warm us up for the final class! I felt that was an excellent test of my nerves- competing in the most prestigious venue of my life, riding for a very important test, and getting warmed up by the US Team coach!"

On Saturday night at the big gala dinner, Klaus went up to Liz, smiled and said, "You promise me something. You promise me that you will never sell that horse. You have earned your place as his rider."

"I can't tell you how excited I am for Liz Austin, the first recipient of the Brentina Cup." said Debbie McDonald, newly appointed National Developing Dressage Coach. "When I saw her and her horse perform at Gladstone I said to myself, That is a pair for our future! I can see that she has a special relationship with her horse, and that is something that I feel very strongly about. She will be leaving soon to train with Klaus Balkenhol, the team coach, and want to wish them the best of luck. I hope, that in the very near future, we can help find a way to fund young talents like Liz, coming up in our sport."

Read How Liz grew from a pony rider into America's first Brentina Cup Winner.

Who's Who: Elisabeth Austin