The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation has announced that U.S. Dressage Team Chef d’Equipe Klaus Balkenhol has offered a training package to be auctioned as a fundraiser to benefit the Foundation. The Klaus Balkenhol Training Package includes one month of daily training with Coach Balkenhol at his facility in Coesfeld, Germany; one month’s board for the rider’s horse; and one month’s accommodations in the private home of David and Arlene Page in Germany. The rider with the winning bid for the Klaus Balkenhol Training Package will have the opportunity to schedule his or her month’s daily training in October or November 2006, or May 2007.
Funds raised through the auction will provide support for the U.S. dressage riders at the 2006 World Equestrian Games (WEG) that will be held August 20 to September 3 in Aachen, Germany, and the U.S. Dressage High Performance programs.
The Klaus Balkenhol Training Package auction will be held on June 17, 2006, at the USET Foundation Benefit Party at the Hamilton Farm Golf Club at the USET Foundation headquarters in Gladstone, New Jersey. The event is scheduled to coincide with the WEG Selection Trials and USEF National Grand Prix Championship and USEF National Intermediaire I Championship that will be held June 15-18 at the Festival of Champions at Gladstone.
Coach Balkenhol modeled his auction offer after the highly successful auction/fundraiser that Debbie McDonald provided as a benefit for the USET Foundation in support of the dressage team competing in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. McDonald’s auction was held during the 2004 Olympic Games Selection Trials/Festival of Champions in San Juan Capistrano, California. McDonald’s auction package, which included a month’s training with her in Sun Valley, Idaho, netted $240,000 for the dressage team when three bidders tied at the winning bid of $80,000 each and McDonald agreed to train all three riders. At the 2004 Athens Olympics Games, McDonald with teammates Robert Dover, Guenter Seidel, and Lisa Wilcox, won the Team Bronze Medal.
A world-renowned rider, trainer, and coach, Balkenhol was a successful competitor for the German team for more than 15 years. At the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, Balkenhol and his most famous mount, Goldstern, helped the German squad to win Team Gold, and he received the Individual Bronze Medal. At the 1994 World Equestrian Games in The Hague, Balkenhol won the Individual Silver Medal. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Balkenhol was again a member of the German squad that won the Team Gold Medal and he also won the Individual Silver Medal. Representing Germany, Balkenhol also won Gold and Silver Medals at the European Championships in 1991, 1993, and 1995.
Balkenhol has also achieved international success as a trainer and coach for both individuals and teams. He was the dressage team trainer and individual trainer for the German team that won the Team Gold Medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, working with riders Nadine Capellmann, Ulla Salzgeber, and Alexandra Simmons de Ridder. He also coached Capellmann at the 2002 WEG, where she claimed the Individual Gold Medal.
Balkenhol has been the coach for the U.S. dressage team since 2001. He also serves as Technical Advisor to the U.S. Equestrian Federation Dressage Committee and is the Dressage Coach through the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Balkenhol also trains Long Listed U.S. riders, hosts selected USEF High Performance grant recipients for training at his facility in Germany, and serves as the U.S. coach at European CDIs and CDIOs, World Championships, Pan American Games and Olympic Games. Under his guidance, the U.S. team has claimed the Team Silver Medal at the 2002 World Equestrian Games, the 2003 Pan American Team Gold Medal, and the 2004 Athens Olympic Games Team Bronze Medal.
To participate in the Klaus Balkenhol Training Package auction, bidders must pre-register by contacting Maureen Pethick at the USET Foundation, (908) 234-1251 ext. 57, before June 15. Phone bids by registered bidders will also be accepted at the June 17th auction.