For those who know him, Jim Koford is an amazing guy and one of the best people in the industry to know. Bar none.
Seriously, who else can roll around Rolex and compete Grand Prix dressage the next and then go out for a beer and shoot the breeze? Koford.
Jim is known for a lot of antics, but recently he's managed to find himself in a place that a lot of us would envy: high performance dressage with not just one, but two horses that have a very serious shot at the Olympics, World Equestrian Games and several other venues where the Team is planning on showing up.
One of the horses is Rhett (R. Johnson). He is American-bred (in fact Kentucky-bred) by Shirley McQullian who lives maybe six miles from my house.
This is indeed a unique situation.
A lot has been said over the years by numerous people who have bemoaned, that despite successes of the US team, the field is still, for the most part made up of European imports. That breeders do not support the efforts of trying to field riders with international-caliber mounts via their program.
Not in this case.
We, as an American community, have a superb opportunity to showcase two Americans, one horse, one human, on the world stage. We, as a breeding community, have the opportunity to send a message to others that yes, small breeders who thoughtfully breed and support riders CAN be competitive in here and Europe. We, as a riding community, finally have a shot to bring someone who is authentic, personable and realizes, it's about something greater and far more important than the DQ mentality.
So why the hell NOT support them?
While there are the normal ways (Medal Equus, direct donations, sacrifices), McQullian and several members of the community have put together a treasure trove auction of canvas art, pottery, bronzes, jewlery, breedings, lessons, books and other fun items on FACEBOOK.
While I'm sure everyone has gotten their Holiday shopping done, I would be much obliged if you would visit, leave a comment and pass the word along. If you find something interesting, bid on it, the auction ends December 10th.
In the meantime, if you run across Koford, give him a kick in the ass and a slap on the back. He's gonna need all the help he can get.