The Kentucky Chronicles – A Blog by Shannon Dueck

Shannon

Hi!  My name is Shannon Dueck, and I am an international dressage rider and Proud Team SmartPak member!

I am from Vancouver, Canada, I spent many years outside of Boston, and now I teach and train in Loxahatchee, Florida year round.  Yes, it’s really hot and humid in the summer!  We survive by drinking a ton of water and sweating just as much.  I have trained lots of horses to Grand Prix, my best known horse was a Dutch gelding I bought as a 3 year old, with the name “K” on his registration papers.  I renamed him “Korona” (Kees is his barn name) and we had a great run together:  We won the Individual Silver at the Pan Am Games, we were the top Canadians at WEG in 2002, and got to represent Canada at the World Cup in Sweden in 2003.  I haven’t travelled much without a horse, but I got to see a lot of Europe with Kees in a horse van.

I have to mention my husband:  Lorne is a long suffering and much sacrificing horse-husband.  He fixes everything the horses break on a daily basis – much as we love them they are such destructive creatures!  He stays behind when I go traveling – someone has to keep paying the mortgage!  He also has to care for all the dogs and cats when I am off to exotic places.  Somehow he still manages to be cheery about it all, and he is my biggest cheerleader when things are bright as well as supporter when things are a little dark in the world.

I have a great barn with 12 stalls in Florida (well actually the bank probably owns 10 of the stalls, but that’s a whole ‘nuther subject).   They are usually full of horses and riders in training, and I also train out of Tuny Page’s beautiful Stillpoint Farm in Wellington.  So, I have pretty busy days riding and teaching.  I regularly do clinics up in Lincoln, MA, and love getting up there and away from the heat in the summer, and I adore the fall colors.  Winter, however, is a different thing altogether, and thankfully the clinic organizers are very aware how “Floridified” I now am – lots of electric blankets and battery powered heat thingy’s for my fingers and toes….

SmartPak has asked me to blog about my experiences leading up to (hopefully) competing in Kentucky at the World Championships this fall.  I am just thrilled to do this, as this whole journey is pretty exciting.  You see, I am the very lucky owner of a super talented young mare named “Ayscha”.   I bought her in the summer of her 6 year old year, and she was pretty green still, training 2nd level in Germany.  I thought I would buy her as a re-sale project.  She was very funny looking -  she had big floppy ears,  was 17.3 hh, and as long as a canoe (a long canoe, that is), without any muscle or fat to speak of.  Almost three years later, she has put on about 400 pounds of sleek muscle and she is gorgeous.  The ears are now charming instead of alarming!

Anyhow, with the help of Robert Dover (our new Canadian Team Coach) – Ayscha and I started competing at Grand Prix this January in Wellington.  I did not think this was possible, as we did our very first Prix St. George in January of 2009.  For the first three times down the centerline I really felt like a fraud – but somehow we just kept getting better, and each time we got better scores.  So by the middle of February we did our first CDI*** and placed really well with over 66%.   Two more CDI’s later, and we are on the list to compete in Europe this summer with the Canadians.  This is a dream come true, especially since we are to compete at Aachen.  Now I have competed in some big venues, but never Aachen – I am so totally psyched about this!

So, this blog will be a weekly update on what is going on, my trials and tribulations, as well as hopefully lots of successful news to relate!  I will let you in on my thoughts (well not ALL of them) as I go through this summer and early fall, hoping for that spot on the Canadian team for WEG.

So please come along for the journey – hope it’s not too bumpy a ride!

Shannon

Born in Austin, Texas, Shannon grew up outside of Vancouver, Canada. Her mother Jacqueline Oldham is a "S" judge in dressage in both Canada and the USA. Shannon was lucky enough to grow up with horses in her backyard, and evented up to the Intermediate level as a teenager, as well as show jumped and worked on the Thoroughbred racetrack, all this despite having a dressage enthusiast for a mother. She went through the Pony Club levels, to attain her "A" status at 18 years of age, and also got her Canadian Coaching Level2 status. After completing a Bachelors degree in Animal Science at the University of British Columbia and a Masters degree in Equine Nutrition and Physiology at Texas A & M University, Shannon went on to be faculty at Lakeland College and Olds College in Alberta, Canada, and then moved to Massachusetts with her husband Lorne to take up a faculty position at Johnson & Wales University. In 1994, Shannon spent many months in Holland as a working student for Bert Rutten- this was when she decided to get serious about dressage. She rode in her first international competition in 1995 in California, and was long-listed for the Canadian equestrian Team in 1996 with Madison. In 1995 she bought her first real star, Korona, as a 3 year old from Bert Rutten. Shannon trained Korona from the beginning. This partnership was very successful: beginning with an Individual Silver Medal at the Pan AM Games in 1997, they never looked back. Korona and Shannon represented Canada successfully at the Grand Prix level for many years. In 2002 at the World Championships in Spain they were the top Canadians, finishing 23rd in the Grand Prix and 25th in the Grand Prix Special. After winning the Canadian league World Cup Final in 2002, they represented Canada at the World Cup Final in Sweden in 2003. In 2003 they also were a part of the Canadian Team at the Open European Championships in England, which secured an Olympic berth for the Canadians for the following years Olympic Games. In 2004 they had a very successful training and competition tour at top International competitions in Holland, Germany, and Austria, but did not represent Canada at the Olympics- Korona was ill during the first of the Canadian Olympic Selection Trails.

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5 comments on “The Kentucky Chronicles – A Blog by Shannon Dueck
  1. Melanie says:

    We are all very excited! Just being able to participate through the eye’s and experiences of a competitor like Shannon allows us to breath in some of that air they get to be around and to support them with our hearts, minds and well wishes. Good Luck and most of all enjoy!

  2. Tina & Paul Siemens says:

    Hi Shannon,
    What a great idea! We are impressed and enjoyed reading your blog.
    Wishing you all the best — we see you’ll be extremely busy, but also invigorated and happy.

    Tina & Paul

  3. Cathy says:

    Shannon, You are a breath of fresh air in the Dressage world. You deserve all of the best of everything on your way to the WEG and beyond!
    Cathy

  4. LAD says:

    Shannon, you are such an inspiration . . . thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise with us in New England – and all the best in Europe this summer!!!

  5. ML says:

    Watching you ride in Germany was so gratifying and
    inspiring. Go girl!

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