Born in Austin, Texas, Shannon grew up outside of Vancouver Canada. Her mother Jacqueline Oldham was an “S” dressage judge in both Canada and the USA, and instilled in Shannon a love and knowledge of classical dressage from an early age. Shannon was lucky enough to grow up with horses in her backyard, and evented to Intermediate level as a teenager, as well as show jumped and worked on the Thoroughbred racetrack. She went through the Pony Club levels to attain her “A” status at the age of 18, and also got her Canadian Coaching Level 2 status.
After completing a Bachelors degree in Animal Science at the University of British Columbia and a Masters degree in Equine Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at Texas A&M University, she went on to become 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 training 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 her mother’s Madison. In 1995 she sold her last event horse and bought her first real star, Korona, as a 3 year old from Bert Rutten.
Shannon trained Korona from the beginning. The partnership was very successful, beginning with an Individual Silver Medal at the Pan Am Games in 1999, 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 were also a part of the Canadian Team at the Open European Championships in England, which secured an Olympic berth for the Canadians at the 2004 Olympic Games. In 2004 they had a very successful training and competition tour in Holland, Germany and Austria, but did not get to represent Canada at the Olympics – Korona was ill during the Canadian Olympic Selection Trials.
Since those days, Shannon has been busy training other horses and riders from Training level to Grand Prix. Some superstars she has schooled or competed to GP include Leoliet, KRS Pegasus, Ringo Starr, Amazing, Sentimiento II, S Infinity, Cantaris, Control, Steeped In Luck, Ayscha, Allegro II, As You Wish and Angelika MW.
Ayscha was also a very special horse for Shannon. Initially bought as a young mare as a sales project, her talent for the GP was apparent within a few months of importation. With very limited show experience, Ayscha began Grand Prix in 2010 as a 9 year old. Shannon and Ayscha were part of the Canadian Team which traveled to Europe with Robert Dover at the helm and they competed successfully in many international shows in Germany that summer. In 2011 Ayscha and Shannon headed to Great Britain to train with Carl Hester, where they competed at Hickstead and London Olympia as well.
Ayscha was bred to Ingrid Klimke’s superstar Grand Prix stallion Franziskus, and the resulting 2015 filly is Angelika MW who is owned by a syndicate called “Ayscha’s Angels”. Angel has proven to be a superstar as she climbs up the FEI levels, winning and placing well in CDI’s at the PSG and Intermediate 1 level. Shannon plans on starting her in Intermediate 2 this summer and Grand Prix in the fall.
Her current FEI horses As You Wish and Angelika MW are on the Equine Canada Short List B, and are both serious contenders for the Canadian Pan American Team this year, which will be held in Santiago, Chile. Jolene (owned by Rosemary Phelan and Braeburn Farms) is a super talented FEI mare that Shannon is training and competing with an eye to International Grand Prix in 2024 as well.
Shannon has had access to great trainers – from the very beginning with Klaus Albin and Dietrich Von Hopfgarten in Langley,B.C. with her event horses. In her adult life she has had extensive help from Bert Rutten of the Netherlands, Lars Peterson of Denmark, Kathy Connelly, Robert Dover and Steffen Peters of the USA, Hubertus Schmidt and Wolfram Wittig of Germany, and most recently, Carl Hester of Great Britain. She now works at home in Loxahatchee with help from Scott Hassler, and will be taking horses to train with Carl Hester in the UK in 2024 with an eye to competing in the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Shannon loves teaching almost as much as riding! She has been teaching since her early days in Pony Club, and has formal education in teaching methodology. As the Team Trainer for the Colombian National Dressage Team she led them to the Bolivarian and Pan American Games. She coached Paralympian Lauren Barwick at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. She teaches and trains privately in Wellington Florida and in clinics throughout North America, and has been a headliner at The Equine Affair in California and Alberta. Shannon tries to teach not only the technical aspects of dressage training but also the subtle ability to feel and communicate clearly and compassionately with the horses.