FEI dressage competitor and trainer Shannon Dueck has always followed the philosophy of putting connection and suppleness with her horses before anything else. It is this practice that has led to her success as a trainer, Pan American Games competitor, and now Neue Schule Best Hands Award recipient. Dueck’s accurate and soft hands were noticed as she competed during the third week of the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival, leading Neue Schule to choose her as the most recent winner of the Best Hands Award.
Competing on 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding Cantaris, owned by Elizabeth Ferber, Dueck demonstrated a forward and confident ride in all three of her classes— the FEI Prix St. Georges, FEI Intermediate I, and FEI Freestyle Intermediate I. The Neue Schule Best Hands Award is presented to riders who exemplify a soft and effective connection with their horse’s mouth through correct hand aids; something that Dueck demonstrated fluently.
Dueck has been competing Cantaris, also known as Chester, for three years now. She has an experienced understanding of what it takes to bring a horse up the levels while maintaining the most important key component— connection to the horse through the bit. “Nothing is good quality if you don’t have a good connection, so regardless of what level I’m riding, I’m always looking to create that connection from the hind legs, over the back, and into the bit,” explained Dueck.
While Dueck competes for Canada, she is currently based in Loxahatchee, Florida. Throughout her career, she’s competed in Holland, Germany, Austria, Canada, and the U.S. Dueck now focuses on training, and has helped many riders and their horses progress from Training Level to Grand Prix, while never straying from her established philosophies. “Right from the get-go the horses I work with learn how to be confident, forward, and round to the bit. I will never go forward unless I feel like they’re seeking the bit— always going forward and stretching,” said Dueck.
Neue Schule, the Official Bit of the United State Equestrian Federation (USEF), believes in providing the best possible product for the horse’s well-being. This is why Metlar Premium Performance Saddlery, the North American distributor of Neue Schule Bits, is happy to recognize riders such as Dueck, who clearly understand the importance of a horse with a happy mouth. The Neue Schule Best Hands Award that Dueck won included a beautiful ribbon and Kathy Connelly Performance Products, also distributed by Metlar.
Neue Schule is Dueck’s bit of choice as she truly believes in the comfort and happiness that these bits provide for her horses. “My horses are super comfortable in the Neue Schule bits, especially the doubles. They’re more streamlined and a little less bulky than a lot of other bits. My horses accept and like them a lot better.”
Neue Schule bits are designed with comfort, softness, and relaxation always in mind. The company creates the most innovative products on the market, resulting in outstanding results for riders and their horses. Dueck is not the only internationally competitive rider to vouch for Neue Schule’s outstanding quality. Top dressage riders including Steffen and Shannon Peters, Laura Graves, David Marcus, and Karen Pavicic all stand behind the products as well.
Proud to credit such an established and thorough rider, Neue Schule is looking forward to seeing Dueck excel further throughout the 2016 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Metlar will continue to honor several riders with the Neue Schule Best Hands awards throughout the coming months of the show series, which continues through April 2, 2016.
To learn more about Neue Schule Bits and distributer Metlar Premium Performance Saddlery, visit www.NeueSchuleBitsUS.com or call 631-252-5574.
Photo: Dressage professional Shannon Dueck was the recipient of the Neue Schule Best Hands Award with Cantaris at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (photo courtesy of JRPR—no photo credit necessary).