The first 2004 CDI of the Florida show season took place January 23-25 at the Gold Coast Opener Dressage Festival in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The location was the West Palm Beach Polo Club, known for being a beehive of activity during the winter show season for dressage and hunter/jumper riders alike. And this show was no exception with the expansive grounds packed with dogs, people, vendors, speeding golf carts and galloping horses.
Canadian Grand Prix rider Shannon Dueck was competing for a second weekend in a row with her longtime partner, the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Korona. The hectic atmosphere at the Gold Coast Opener Dressage Festival was a sharp contrast to the relative tranquil environment prevalent at most dressage shows. This provided Dueck with a challenge when preparing the sensitive gelding for the Grand Prix classes.
On the first day of competition, the pair decisively won the Intermediaire 2 class with a score of 69.837%, well ahead of second place finishers Sabine Schut-Kery & Tinus PM who achieved 65.610%. After a disappointingly tense ride in the Grand Prix, Dueck & Korona rebounded in Sunday's Grand Prix Special with 68.267% placing them in third position. The class was won by former Olympian Robert Dover on Rainier with 71.400%.
“The atmosphere was difficult for Korona.” explained Dueck, “ He rose to the challenge in the Intermediaire 2 and the Grand Prix Special, but an experimental warm-up was not successful for the Grand Prix and he was very tense throughout. Even so, I was very pleased with him throughout the show, and as I will be showing in Wellington three more times, I used this show to figure out a warm up that will result in a good test.”
KRS Pegasus and Wunder Ein in the Ribbons
The relatively new competitive partnership of Dueck and KRS Pegasus, owned by The Pegasus Group, continued to be successful in the small tour ring. After a third place finish in the Prix St. Georges (63.875%), the duo jumped up one position in the Intermediare 1 to place second with 67.375%, narrowly missing top honours by .375%. What is even more impressive is that this was KRS Pegasus' second competitive Intermediaire I test.
“He has only shown a few times in his life, but he always improves as we go from the warm-up to the show ring, which is a real treat for me!” enthused Dueck about the young horse. “He is an amazing mover with huge natural expression in his gaits, and I have very high hopes for him as a Grand Prix horse for Canada.”
In the lower levels, Simone Williams was close to making a clean sweep of her classes with Wunder Ein. The 6-year-old 16.3 Hannoverian gelding by Wolkenstein ll was well liked by the judges achieving scores in the mid-70's, sometimes clearing the competition by more than 11%. This will definitely be a pair to watch for the future.
Krystalann Shingler and Skor Make CDI Debut
Canadians could also be seen competing in the Young Rider division where the judges were not as generous with their scoring. Krystalann Shingler and Skor rode to a 2nd place ribbon in the Young Rider Team test and 3 rd in the Prix St. Georges class for Young Riders.
“It was my first CDI show since last year and only my second show since my accident at Young Riders, so I was very happy with my scores and placings. ” explained Shingler, who was injured in a car accident at the 2003 North American Young Riders Championships in Bromont, Quebec resulting in a 3-week hospitalization and 4-month recovery. The duo train with John Zopatti in Wellington Florida and plan to work towards another berth on the 2004 Ontario Young Riders Team.
Kathryn Yardley was also competing in this division with Boxberger Tendenz, a 16-year-old 16.2 grey Trakhener.
Horsesdaily Scoresource: Gold Coast Opener CDI Canadian Snowbirds Start Florida Circuit in Winning Style
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