Update, July 27 - Shannon just got word she will be competing the the 5* CDI division at Hickstead.
Shannon Oldham Dueck, Canadian Dressage rider who lives and trains on her farm in Loxahatchee, Florida knew she and her beautiful and talented mare Ayscha (Welt Hit II x Rouletto) needed to get back into the international limelight of high performance dressage. In 2010 Dueck was able to raise funding for a Euro tour where they gained experience and confidence among the top international competitors in Europe. Dueck and the 10-year-old mare still new to Grand Prix competed with the best and the Canadian Olympic and WEG Team veteran was proud of her "girl" who was in close contention for the team. Her only plans for the spring of 2011 included riding a performance in the PVDA Ride for Life in July, a benefit for Breast Cancer. Dueck gladly made the long trip from Florida the northeast to participate in a cause that holds a strong personal meaning. In the same year Shannon trained her horse to Grand Prix and competed on the international tour for the WEG team selection trials, she also battled breast cancer and won but also lost her mother Jacqui Oldham to the disease. It was on her way to the PVDA Ride For Life near Washington DC she got an e-mail from Dressage Canada.
Dressage Canada asks their high performance riders to submit a training plan for each year, and Dueck had indicated she would like to train in Great Britain with Carl Hester and to compete at Hartpury and Hickstead. In the e-mail as she travelled far from home for the Ride for Life Dressage Canada informed Dueck they had awarded her the funding. “So, there I was Baltimore on the 25th of June, thrilled with the opportunity Dressage Canada has given me to train and compete in July, but with absolutely no plans in place, “ Dueck said. “After many, many phone calls, texts, faxes and e-mails later Dutta Corp got Ayscha and me on a flight out on the 1st of July from NYC. I rode at the Ride For Life, left Ayscha in Baltimore at Shari Glickmans's place (she was wonderful for offering) and I flew home for 2 days to pack a few more things.
So on July 1st Shannon and Ayscha left at 6:30 AM for NYC, and flew out that night about 11:30 PM. “I finally arrived at Carl's gorgeous place about 2 pm on July 3rd. After the long trip Ayscha was exhausted and dehydrated which took a while for her to recover, so they were not ready in time for Hartpury. “For sure we will start at Hickstead in the CDI 3* Large Tour, and then head to Verden the week after. “
“The training is absolutely the best - I cannot say enough good things. I am so grateful to Robert Dover for helping me get into training with Carl at such short notice and to Dressage Canada for helping to fund this trip” Dueck added. “My husband, friends and clients at home have supported me leaving on such short notice, and I am blessed to have them all in our lives.”
In spite of the fact there are multiple CDI events in the United States with many of the same international judges who participate in the top European shows, Dueck explains, “It's crucial to get the training and competition exposure on this side of the "pond" if we want to compete well at huge venues like WEG and the Olympics. And London next year is for sure my goal with Ayscha. She is a super talented mare, but I know I cannot get to the Olympics by myself. It takes a village.
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