While the frigid temperatures again grip the Canadian landscape, a number of Canadian riders have temporarily relocated to sunny Florida in order to get a jump on the 2004 show season.
The 2004 show season will be a busy and very competitive one with riders & horses vying for spots on various international teams such as: Athens Olympics, FEI World Breeders Championships and North American Young Riders Championships. This translates for lots of excitement for both competitors, owners and spectators.
The Florida dressage show circuit began January 17 & 18 with the Palm Beach Dressage Derby Series Kickoff, hosted by The Horse Park at Equestrian Estates, in Loxahatchee Florida. Canadian short list “A” rider Shannon Dueck rode her 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding in the Grand Prix classes. After placing 6 th in Saturday's Grand Prix with a score of 63.958%, the seasoned partnership made a huge leap up the scoreboard in Sunday's Grand Prix Special placing 2 nd with a score of 68.200%. This was only 2.667% behind class winners Robert Dover & FBW Kennedy who scored 70.867%.
“I was thrilled with Korona's carriage. power and lightness in both the Grand Prix and the Special.” enthused Dueck, “He stayed with me beautifully in the Special and received some great scores for it.” Dueck hopes to make Korona more secure in the Grand Prix by taking him to many shows this spring and summer, with the aim of improving his competition confidence as much as his ability has improved. “My goal is to be one of the 4 Canadian Team members sent to Athens,” said Dueck “and once there, to finish in the top 7 teams. I hope that Korona has the same goals as I do!
Newcomer KRS Pegasus Ranks High
Dueck was also extremely competitive with KRS Pegasus, owned by The Pegasus Group, in the Prix St. Georges class being awarded 65.750% by the judges for 2nd place honours. After a beautiful warmup, the 7-year-old 17.3 Dutch Warmblood gelding enjoyed a long hack over the polo fields to the show ring. This gave him an energy boost which resulted in some tension in his walk work during the test. Nonetheless, the handsome bay showed some super work, earning 8's for his pirouettes, and producing an overall solid score.
"KRS Pegasus is just dipping his toe in the water at Prix St Georges this season in Florida.” explained Joan Johnston of Kars Riding School Inc., a member of The Pegasus Group along with Shannon & Lorne Dueck and Robin Winn. “He is still very young, so Shannon is bringing him along carefully, choosing the best sites to show him without over facing him.”
Johnston further added “We are thrilled with him and have every confidence that with Shannon as trainer and rider, he will have a very bright future."
Top Honor for Simone Williams and Krystalann Shingler
1999 Canadian Pan Am rider Simone Williams was also competing in Training and First Levels with her young horses Siegfried and Wunder Ein respectively. Siegfried, a 5-year-old 16.2 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Flemmingh, impressed the judges in only his second career competition and was rewarded with a winning score of 72.917% from former Olympian Carol Lavell in the Training Level Test 3. “We had just arrived in Florida the week before,”said Williams, “so I was very pleased with how he settled in and performed so well. He will compete in the FEI five year old test later this year.” Their steady tests were marked with consistent cadence and self carriage.
Williams duplicated her win in the First Level classes with Wunder Ein, a 6-year-old 16.3 Hannoverian by Wolkenstein ll, achieving unbeatable scores of 70.833%, 71.111% and 75.588%. “His connection and self carriage were superb.” said Williams. “He was so attentive to my aids, it felt like he was reading my mind.” Wunder Ein is being aimed for the FEI six year old test later this year.
The Young Rider division saw two Canadian competing. Krystalann Shingler riding Skor handily won Saturday's Team competition with a score of 68.222%. On Sunday, the pair settled for 2 nd place honours after tying with fellow Canadian rider Kathryn Yardley in the Individual class. Yardley, riding Boxberger Tendenz, a 16-year-old 16.2 Trakhener, equalled Shingler's score of 61.250% but was given first place honours. Both Yardley & Shingler were part of the Ontario Young Rider Team who competed at the 2003 North American Young Riders Championships in Bromont, Quebec.