Claudine & Fritz Kundrun Commit Half Million Dollars for Matching Pledges for USA Dressage

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Claudine and Fritz Kundrun with Allison Brock. © dressage-news.com
Claudine and Fritz Kundrun with Allison Brock. © dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 25, 2015–Claudine and Fritz Kundrun, low-key supporters for two decades of American dressage, have pledged $500,000 to be matched by contributions of another $1 million for United States programs.

The pledge was made by the owners of the 2000 Olympic and 1998 and 2002 World Games U.S. team medal horse Flim Flam ridden by Sue Blinks to support championship team efforts and help find and develop talented American riders and horses for the future.

The couple have committed up to $500,000 if $1 million is donated by other contributors. If the full amount is realized, total contributions would amount to $1.5 million.

The pledge is one of the largest ever by an individual at a time when U.S. dressage is undergoing unprecedented growth and exposure at the highest levels of the sport. More than 20 American horses and riders supported by such fund-raising efforts could compete in Europe this year at Young Horse championships, Under-25, Small Tour and Big Tour classes. Unlike most countries, sports in the United States receive no government funding but depend on corporate and individual financial suppoer.

“We made this offer,” Fritz told dressage-news.com, “because we are fortunate enough to be able to afford to be involved at the highest levels of the sport but many other people are not and we want to provide them the opportunity to do so.

“The experience of Laura Graves who took her young horse to the World Games is wonderful.

“We are like some other owners who can afford this sport but there are others out there who can use some help getting to the top.

“We want to do what we can to help. We hope that our offer will encourage others who can afford it to also contribute.

“One of our proudest moments was hearing the announcer at the Olympics say, ‘For the United States of America, Flim Flam ridden by Sue Blinks.”

Fritz was reluctant to speak about the offer by his wife and himself, preferring to discuss other porgrams Claudine and he are involved to help working animals around the world and horse rescue in Virginia.

Allison Brock on Rosevelt celebrating victory at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Allison Brock on Rosevelt celebrating victory at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

They sponsor Allison Brock on a string of top horses including Rosevelt that she will ride for the United States at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival Nations Cup this week. She is vying for a place on America’s squad at the Pan American Games this summer.

Ally is one of the most well liked but determinedly humble riders at the top level of the sport and has worked intensively in recent years in Europe and the United States with Kyra Kyrklund and Richard White.

The pledge is one of the largest ever by an individual at a time when U.S. dressage is undergoing growth and exposure at the highest levels of the sport that could see more than 20 American horses and riders competing in Europe this year at unprecedented levels–Young Horses, Under-25, Small Tour and Big Tour.

Born in Germany, Fritz Kundrun began his business career working for Thyssen, the largest German steel producer and is now an investor in mining operations. Assignments for the company in third world countries led to him to become active in protecting work animals.

Claudine and Fritz are major contributors and active in The Brooke, the Londoon-based foundation that helps working animals and the families that depend on them. The organization, for example, provides shelter, water and feed for working animals in third world countries, plus longer-term health care solutions.

For the past 80 years, The Brooke–www.thebrookeusa.org–has sought to improve the lives of the 100 million horses, donkeys and mules and the 600 million people who depend on them.