Friday, December 18, 2009

Canada’s Nicole Shinton Heats up Wellington Holiday Challenge


Wellington, Florida – Canada’s Nicole Shinton made her presence felt south of the border during the Wellington Classic Holiday Challenge held December 11-13 in Wellington, FL.

Shinton of Uxbridge, ON, competed with two horses in the dressage competition, which was the first big event of the winter show season in Wellington, FL. With GB Marko, her 13-year-old chestnut Dutch Warmblood gelding, Shinton was the top placed amateur in the Prix St. Georges, earning an impressive score of 68.684%. In the Intermediaire I, she earned a score of 61.316% to rank as the third-highest amateur competitor.

A former eventing competitor before switching her focus exclusively to dressage, Shinton also competed in the Wellington Classic Holiday Challenge with O-Topia. Having successfully competed at the intermediate level in eventing with Shinton, O-Topia is also enjoying the switch to dressage and is proving his talents at Third Level. In Third Level Test 1 held Saturday, Shinton and her 13-year-old bay selle francais gelding earned a score of 62.308% from the judges to place third. On Sunday, the pair contested Third Level Test 3 and earned 63.023% to place fourth overall.

“Marko was a star, winning the Prix St. Georges Adult Amateur with such a great score,” said Shinton. “I was also very proud of O-Topia. I had not shown him since July as I was concentrating on the development of my upper level FEI horses, so it was great to be back in the show ring with him and have him perform like a champ!”

Shinton is also excited about a new mount, Wallenstein, an 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding that she purchased this fall in Denmark. The pair will make their competitive debut this winter in Florida, where Shinton is based throughout the show season.

Dressage has become a passion for Shinton since she switched exclusively to the discipline last year. As an event rider, Shinton was named the 2004 Adult Amateur Intermediate Rider of the Year by the United States Eventing Association, a remarkable feat for a Canadian in such a highly competitive division. Shinton was also named to the 2005 Canadian Eventing Team Long List with two horses, Pamela and The Grey Pony, before a rotational fall in 2007 forced Shinton to change her focus from eventing to dressage.

Shinton, 36, and her husband, Alan, own Greenbrier Farms, a 160 acre eventing facility in Uxbridge, ON.