In their eleventh victory during the Dressage in Florida show circuit, Shawna Harding and her Danish Warmblood super star Come On III won the inaugural year of the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge Award. After winning a Prix St Georges Division in all three of the winter show series held at the popular Palm Beach County Brandon showground's Harding leaves for her home base in Aiken, South Carolina with not only a trunk full of blankets and blue ribbons but a check from Wellington Classic Dressage for $5,000, which will help cover a portion of her expenses to travel to San Juan Capistrano in California in June for the Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Intermediaire Championships.
Show managers Noreen and John Flanagan were excited about the opportunity to present the award to Harding, who needed to compete and win in the winter series to qualify. They were hoping to present the entire amount offered in the challenge with a $10,000 check for the winner of all three Grand Prix classes. It looked as if Lars Petersen and Success would be a likely candidate with easy wins in the first two shows. However a slight injury required a break in training, and while Success is fine and back on track, Petersen who is aiming for the Olympic felt competing in the final leg of the challenge would not be fair to his horse who has been back in training for two weeks.
The popular show series held at the Palm Beach County's equestrian center is a favorite among dressage competitors, given the layout and amenities the facility offers. In their second season, the Wellington Classic Dressage series and Gold Coast Dressage Association shows have added more dates accommodating not only the "snow birds" coming to Florida for the winter, but the growing number of year round residents, horse owners and trainers who have settled into West Palm Beach as their base in the United States.