West Palm Beach, Florida – Being sick hasn’t kept Courtney King down. Although battling a cold, the Olympic contender managed to ride through three days of the 2008 Gold Coast Opener CDI-W/Y and topped off the weekend with the FEI Grand Prix CDI-W Freestyle win with Idocus. King gave credit to her partner for helping to carry her through.
"Sometimes I feel like I’m making up for him a little bit, but this time he definitely carried his weight big time," she said. The pair took the win with a score of 76.30 percent, edging out second-place finishers Lars Petersen and Succes with a score of 75.20 percent. Coming in third was Michael Barisone with Neruda and a score of 72.95 percent.
The freestyle score made King feel like she and Idocus were back on track after having languished in the low 70s the past few times they’ve ridden the freestyle. "The past couple of times that I’ve ridden the freestyle, I felt that Idocus dropped the ball and this time it was my lacking that made the couple of little mistakes," she said. Those mistakes included a rather lackluster piaffe at times and "mistakes in the last sequences, which were totally my fault."
"Overall, I was pleased, especially with me not doing the best that I could have. It was nice in front of this panel of really top-level judges to be getting into the mid-70s," King said. King and the 18-year-old Idocus, a Dutch Warmblood stallion by Equador and owned by Christine McCarthy, rode to a medley of Broadway tunes. King had thought about altering her freestyle with the 2008 Olympic Games in mind but decided to leave it alone.
"I’ve debated about it a lot because there are some things I’m not satisfied with. But while I’ve thought a lot about it, I need this level of difficulty for him and when we pull it off, we can get 75-76 percent. If I do a new freestyle for him, I’m not going to get that much out of him anyway. He’s 18, so it’s not like I’d keep using it again. It’s a good freestyle. I really love the music and I think it’ll be as close to maximizing him as we can get," she said.
Besides, King said that considering how badly she felt all weekend, a freestyle score in the mid-70s tells her that she’s best to leave it as is. "I’ve been really, really sick this weekend," she said. "I haven’t done anything but get on my horses and ride. And for some reason today, my body feels better but my mind wasn’t there. I think that’s one of my strengths as a rider, I have a really good focus and it was very hard for me to concentrate on the music and on the horse. I just wasn’t exactly myself, but, as everyone’s been saying, if I can do this when I feel this way, that’s a good indicator that we can do better when I’m well."
PhelpsPhoto: Courtney King congratulated by judge Cara Whitham "O"