New Foundation Formed To Aid Olympic Dressage Competitors
Marietta, GA- The Applewood Foundation for Excellence in Dressage was recently formed in Marietta, Georgia, to support Olympic level dressage riders in a quest to develop top horse and rider combinations for the USA Olympic Dressage team.
The inspiration to develop the tax-exempt charitable (501(c)3) foundation was Olympian, Michelle Gibson. Gibson, a US bronze medallist in the 1996 Olympics, has trained at Applewood Farm in Georgia since she returned form Europe in 1992. "We have seen how difficult is was in 1996 for Michelle to raise the necessary monies to achieve success. We were discouraged by the limited avenues for financial support of such an expensive sport." says Brad Thatcher, owner of Applewood Farm and Foundation trustee.
For many would-be Dressage Olympians, the down side of the sport is the incredible expense. It is estimated to cost between $750,000 and one million dollars to get one horse and rider team to the Olympics. To that end, almost 100% of proceeds from the Applewood Foundation go to the competitors for training, equipment, travel and equine needs.
Despite the increase interest and participation in the sport of Dressage, there are only a handful of horse and rider combinations that can successfully compete at the Olympic level. Michelle Gibson is one of the contenders who hope to benefit from the Applewood Foundation in her quest to compete in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Gibson still holds the all time high score for a US rider in an Olympic Dressage qualifier. "Bronze isn't good enough," says a resolute Gibson. "America deserves a gold medal in the 2004 summer equestrian Olympics and I am determined to get it for us".
The Applewood Foundation may be one of the ways to over come the financial challenges that Olympians like Gibson face in their quest for the gold. "With the legal battle heating up between the American Horse Shows Association and the United States Equestrian Team over which should be the sport's governing body, we want to make sure that rider's needs are not overlooked", said David Gower an Atlanta Neurosurgeon and Foundation trustee. "The sole function of the Applewood Foundation is to provide a legitimate pathway for tax exempt money to help the Olympic level competitor."
Persons interested in making a contribution to the Applewood Foundation for Excellence in Dressage or to be considered as a potential recipient of Foundation monies can visit their web site at www.applewoodfoundation.org for complete details.
For excellence in Dressage
789 Oak Trail Drive
Marietta, GA 30062