Shawna Harding and Come On III collected two more blue ribbons at the 2008 Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W/Y after winning the CDI Prix St. Georges and Sunday’s CDI Intermediaire I Freestyle, making this her 10th win of the season, and it's still not over! Now their focus has shifted to the upcoming Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge II, the final leg in the three-show Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge of Champions. If they win a Prix St. Georges or Intermediaire competition this weekend, they’ll take the $5,000 prize.
“I’m sure hoping to win that money,” Harding said. “I could really use it to offset the costs of this show season.” The only pair still qualified for a chance at the $10,000 Grand Prix prize is Lars Petersen with Succes.
At the Derby, Harding won the Prix St. Georges on Friday with a 68.05 percent. She won Sunday’s Intermediare I Freestyle with a 73.75. It’s not the average freestyle music, consisting of the rock music of Black Eyed Peas, AC/DC, ZZ Top, Body Rockers, The Scorpions, Queen and Joe Cocker. Harding did the choreography herself and got musical help from John Davis, a professional producer and musician. Marlene Whitaker “helped put on the finishing touches,” Harding said. She admits that rock music isn’t always well received by the judges.
“The judges, sometimes, are hinting around that it’s too much rock. I don’t know if they’re just not ready to hear something that’s a bit more progressive or they just don’t like the music. But, I didn’t get any negative comments about it at the Derby,” Harding said. While judges may not always be impressed, Harding said that spectators do respond positively to her choice of music and she likes that. “The music suits the horse and it’s fun. I don’t like to be bored. I want people to have fun with it and I want to have fun riding it.”
And Harding certainly had fun with her freestyle at the Derby. “We had a really good ride. He was pretty much dead on with the music,” she said. “He was great. He got a nine from Stephen Clarke for his right half-pass and consistently got 7s and 8s.”
Come On III is an eight-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding by Come Back II. The I-1 freestyle was the final CDI event at this year’s Derby and that made it rather difficult for the gelding. “It was tough because it was the end of day and there were a lot of people moving around and packing up and leaving. He was a bit nervous in the barn because most of the horses had already left. But, these are things that he must get used to.”