James and Shannon at the kick off
Wellington, FL (DATE) — Grand Prix dressage riders Shannon Dueck and James Koford helped kick off the second year of The Dressage Foundation Two-Tempi Challenge, performing 39 consecutive two-tempi changes each at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival Friday Night Stars Grand Prix Freestyle in Wellington, Florida. Presented by premier full-service tack shop The Horse of Course, Inc., the Challenge kickoff event raised over $12,000 in support of The Dressage Foundation. Every two-tempi performed by Challenge contestants raises funds for The Dressage Foundation.
A committed supporter of the equestrian and dressage community, and Official Partner and Sponsor of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, Beth Haist, CEO of The Horse of Course, was excited to see the Challenge become an annual event. “I am so proud to sponsor The Dressage Federation’s Two-Tempi Challenge, and hope to inspire riders from all over the country to get their cameras out and submit their Two-Tempi Challenge videos,” said Haist.
Haist has been connected with The Dressage Foundation long before the Two-Tempi Challenge’s inception, and officially united with the organization to further advancement of America’s dressage athletes and preserve the sport itself. Haist jumped on the opportunity to support and raise awareness for the exciting Two-Tempi Challenge. “This is a fantastic and fun way for everyone to get involved in dressage and raise money for a very worthy cause,” she explained.
The Dressage Foundation, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, has been supporting the advancement of dressage in the United States since 1989. The organization uses generous donations from sponsors, like The Horse of Course, to support riders, instructors, trainers, breeders, and judges of the dressage community. “Bit by bit, we strive to make a difference by helping equestrians fulfill their goals and reach their dreams,” explained The Dressage Foundation president, Beth Baumert. “When riders we’ve supported get out there and do great, it’s very fulfilling and rewarding for us to see.”
Both personal supporters of The Horse of Course and The Dressage Foundation, riders Dueck and Koford volunteered to participate in the kickoff event, gaining pledges from supporters and fans throughout the Adequan Global Dressage Festival audience. As the riders and their horses performed the 39 two-tempi changes without missing a beat, spectators cheered and counted along with the announcer.
“This challenge is a fabulous idea for fun competition in the often too-serious dressage world. Next time I’ll be going for the national record,” said Dueck.
Longtime friend and customer of The Horse of Course, Koford was the first recipient of The Dressage Foundation’s Anne B. Ramsay grant in 2008, which allowed him to train and compete Shirley McQuillan’s American-bred Dutch warmblood Rhett in Europe. There, he advanced the gelding to Grand Prix, and after returning home the pair went on to be nominated for the U.S. Dressage Team for the 2012 Olympics.
“The Dressage Foundation is a very important cause for me because their support of myself and Rhett was very instrumental in taking my riding to the next level,” said Koford. “I really owe them so much, and any opportunity I have to give back I absolutely want to take advantage of.”
Both The Horse of Course and The Dressage Foundation are enthusiastic about the development of dressage athletes, and strive to honor dedicated horse and rider pairs around the country. The Horse of Course, which spends it’s winters stationed at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival by popular demand, travels the country setting up shop at prestigious horse shows. While providing a complete selection of tack and apparel for horses and riders at all shows, The Horse of Course will be raising awareness for the year-long Two-Tempi Challenge. Riders and supporters up for the challenge pledge a dollar amount per tempi change, which is donated to The Dressage Foundation. The rider then sends in their two-tempi video for contest submission in their USDF region. At the end of the fiscal challenge year, a champion and reserve champion is awarded from each region, as well as national champion and national reserve champion.
The Horse of Course provides products for all riders, ranging from custom show clothing and training equipment to books and gifts. The Horse of Course also offers expert bit fitting services, and has been partnered with bit developers and engineers since 1995. To explore the wealth of products at The Horse of Course, visit www.TheHorseofCourse.com or call 1-800-4946773.