September 20, 2019

Ride for the Challenge

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jessica McTaggart Giuzio

Equestrians Ride for the Challenge

By Eve van den Bol From

The Cayman portion of the annual international equestrian competition among the Caribbean Islands of Bermuda, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad, Antigua and the Cayman Islands took place this past weekend at The Equestrian Center located on the Linford Pierson Highway.

The Caribbean , an event organized by the Caribbean Equestrian Association () and run locally by the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation (CIEF), enables riders from member countries to compete against each other without having to travel with their horse. Instead, the judge travels from island to island, scoring each competitor’s ride live at an officially organized horse show in each country.

This year’s competition was judged by Ms. Brenda Minor, a Canadian FEI 4* judge, the second highest level of International judge. An FEI 4* is qualified to judge all international competitions other than the Olympics and world championships. There are only 12 FEI 4* dressage judges in total in the US and Canada, and only five in the United Kingdom, out of hundreds of dressage judges in those three countries.

Riders competing in the CEA Dressage Challenge are ranked both individually and by country team. The country team consists of the top three adult and top three child riders based upon the difficulty of the test they ride and the scores they receive. To date, only the Cayman Islands and Barbados have held their 2018 Dressage Challenge. Once all of the countries in the CEA have completed their competitions, the final standing for Cayman’s riders individually and for the Cayman national team will be known. Last year, the Cayman Adult Team placed first overall in the Caribbean, while the Cayman Children’s Team placed second.

Based upon this weekend’s results, the CIEF has determined the Cayman Team for this year’s Challenge. Representing the Adult team are sisters Jodie McTaggart and Jessica McTaggart-Giuzio, as well as Polly Serpell, the 2014 Youth Olympics Bronze medalist in show jumping who was back on island to compete during a break from university. Abbey Swartz, Kayla Mannisto and Chloe Fowler round out the Children’s team.

High Point Champion for the Children and Adults, respectively, were Kayla Mannisto riding Pony Up and Jessica McTaggart-Giuzio riding Jolly Rancher, a 4 year old Cayman pony that she has been training for a little over a year. In addition to holding the CEA Dressage Challenge, the CIEF held other dressage classes for interested riders. Notably, both Ava Law and Marley Trench were competing for the first time and each won their class.

Winners of each of the classes held this past weekend are listed below in order of most difficult to least difficult test ridden. Dressage Challenge classes are noted with the words CEA.

The next horse show on the CIEF calendar is the final show of the four-part National Jumping Series, which will take place on April 22nd at the Equestrian Center located on the Linford Pierson Highway. Start time will be 8am and, as always, spectators are welcome and admission is free.

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