Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dressage Success

It’s not easy to make it to the top in any horse sport. Dressage is certainly no exception. This is why people are pretty impressed by Shawna Harding, an Aiken-based rider, and her horse Come On III. Shawna moved Come On III up to the Grand Prix level this year, after he was named United States Dressage Federation Dressage Horse of the Year at the Intermediaire I level and finished second in the standings at the Prix St. Georges level in 2008. The pair did well enough during the 2009 show year to qualify for the USDF’s Region I dressage championships, held in Lexington, Va. this October.

But it wasn’t enough just to go to the championships. They were there to win. Shawna and Come On III won the title at both the Grand Prix and the Intermediaire II level. Come On has now won six regional championship titles: Fourth Level, Fourth Level Freestyle, Prix St. Georges, Intermediaire I, Intermediaire II and Grand Prix. It’s an amazing résumé for any horse. Come On III ended the year ranked eighth on the USDF Dressage Horse of the Year standings at the Grand Prix level and third at the Intermediaire II level.

Shawna has also been enjoying success with other horses that she rides, trains and shows, bringing home two other regional titles from her excursion to Lexington. She won the Fourth level championship with Tonya Rowe’s Rigo, who has now won the regional championship at three levels (First in 2007 and Second in 2008). And she won the First level championship with her horse Contreau. The USDF year end standings showed Shawna’s rides holding the top two spots in the Dressage Horse of the Year standings at the Fourth level: She was the champion with Rigo and the reserve with Richman, owned by Kathleen Broughan.

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