Shiels made the decision to launch her own True North Stables in January of 2018 following decades of industry experience. The full-service hunter/jumper training operation is now dedicated to providing top of the line services and helping equestrians of all levels achieve their goals.
For Durpetti, one of those goals was competing her own Cassius in the Amateur-Owner Hunter division for the first time, following the eight-year-old gelding’s highly successful 2017 show season with Shiels in both the High Performance Hunters and in United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby events. During week two of WEF, Durpetti not only competed Cassius, she claimed first and third place ribbons and the division reserve championship in the Osphos® Amateur-Owner 36 & Over Hunters 3’3”.
“It makes my heart a bit proud because I spent last year with him; he’s special to me, and he did so much for me last year,” said Shiels of Cassius. “It’s really exciting to see that he’s going to step into the amateur role so smoothly for her. That was our plan, and it’s all working out. I’m so excited to see that they’re clicking so fast.”
While Shiels is dedicated to helping her students achieve their goals, she also has her sights set on goals of her own, in particular with her mount Cavalier II. During WEF 1, the 11-year-old Warmblood gelding stepped up against a highly-competitive field of 42 entries to take the win in the $2,500 1.35m Jumpers. Shiels and Cavalier II finished double clear with a jump-off time of 37.501 seconds. That time would prove untouchable, with Edward Levy (FRA) and Rebeca L coming the closest on a clear jump-off time of 38.227 seconds.
“He had months off last fall while I was at indoors, so I was really excited that we picked up where we left off when we got to Wellington,” said Shiels who has dedicated great time and effort to bringing along the young horse since purchasing him five years ago. “Obviously with a young horse, you never know how it’s going to go after a few months of not showing. He’s starting to really come into his own, and I’m really excited for this year and to move him up to the bigger classes.”