Shannon Dueck is doing something she's never done before – seeking to qualify for the U.S. National Dressage Championships. And two horses she's aiming for the National Intermediaire Championships – Ringo Starr and S Infinity – gave her a boost of confidence at the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge I after scoring in the 70s their first time out at the Intermediaire level.
"There's great competition here in Florida. There are so many good riders and good horses. So, when you go into such a competitive environment and do well, that makes me more confident of going to Gladstone," said Dueck. She was born in Texas of Canadian parents and so she has dual citizenship. Dueck used to ride for Canada but has now declared herself for the U.S. and hence, for the first time can now qualify for the U.S. National Dressage Championships, which will be held in Gladstone, New Jersey this summer.
"I'm very excited about the possibility of going to Gladstone. My parents moved back to Canada when I was three and I grew up there. But, I feel like I've really put down roots here in Florida. I love it here and I don't plan to leave the U.S.," Dueck said. Having made the decision to ride for the U.S., she can't ever go back. "I can't bounce back and forth. Once I made that decision, that's it. So, I'll now do my damnest to get on an American team."
Dueck has a stable full of nice horses to help her make an American team, including a couple of her own, but clearly two of those nice horses are Ringo Starr, an eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Relevant and owned by Jean Vinios, and S Infinity, an eight-year-old Westphalian gelding by Sandro Hit and owned by Dr. Cetty Weiss. Both competed in their first Intermediare I at the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge I. S Infinity scored a 73.24 and Ringo Starr a 73.60 percent. "Fortunately, there were two Intermediaire I classes so I didn't have to compete against myself," Dueck said.
Ringo Starr won Friday's Prix St. Georges with a score of 75.526. Placing second in that competition was Jan Brons and Teutobod with a score of 74.211, but the placings were reversed on Saturday when the two riders and horses competed in the same Intermediaire I class. "Jan beat me today, but I beat him yesterday," Dueck said with a laugh. Speaking of the two horses she rode, Dueck said, "Overall, I'm very proud of both of those boys. They have earned some R and R."
PhelpsPhoto: Ringo Starr
Dueck said both Ringo Starr and S Infinity will compete in their first CDI within the next month. And she's hoping that before 2009 ends, both will also have competed in their first Grand Prix. "They came up against two different judges at this show and both really liked them. They're nice horses. They just need to get stronger and more consistent," she said.