In the Intermediaire I CDI-W competition at the 2008 Gold Coast Opener, it was Shawna Harding and Come On III who were back in the winner’s circle, this time for winning the Intermediaire I CDI Freestyle. Harding and Come on III, a nine-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding by Come On II, scored a 75.30 percent. Coming in second were Susan Jaccoma and the eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding Wadamur with a score of 70.40 percent. Third went to Marco Bernal and the 12-year-old Trakehner stallion Halbgott with a score of 68.95 percent.
Harding was thrilled with her triple wins. She and Come On III also won Friday’s Prix St. Georges CDI and Saturday’s Intermediaire I CDI. "Fantastic" is how she described the feeling. "It’s the first CDI of the year and he was a really good boy today. He was very calm and held it together," she said. "So coming out for the first CDI and being on his best behavior today, I was very happy. The pirouettes could have been a little bit smoother. That’s the only thing I can criticize and the last set of two tempis coming down the centerline he got a little rushed, but I think he was a little tired after three days of competition."
Harding works with her good friend Olympian Michelle Gibson and Gibson was certainly proud of her friend. "Shawna is a fantastic competitor. I’m proud of her. She does a great job. She’s consistent across the board," Gibson said. "We work really well together even when we’re competing against each other. We both enjoy that part of it. I think for myself, and I know for her, that she has a good competitive spirit. It’s all positive and it’s all in good fun and for the sport."
John Davis, a musician from of Aiken, South Carolina who has worked with a number of rock groups, including Van Halen, helped Harding with her freestyle, which was a mix of music from rock bands, including AC/DC, Queen and ZZ Top. Harding said that Marlene Whitaker also helped her put in the "finishing touches like the landing in the beginning and some effects for pirouettes. She sharpened it up."
Harding said the freestyle has been a work in progress – a long work in progress. "The freestyles are so much work, editing and putting it together and getting the timing right. It’s taken me a year to get this far with it and I know it could be so much bigger and better. But it’s so time intensive. I think the transitions between the music are pretty flawless. It’s a fun test."