December 2, 2023

CI Equestrian Fed. Dress. Chal.


Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation World Dressage Challenge

The word ‘dressage’ is a French term, meaning training. Very simply, dressage is the art of striving for a harmonious and hardly perceptible communication between horse and rider. When you watch the dressage Masters, you can barely see their hands and legs move, but every inch they do move is a separate instruction to the horse to perform a particular action.

Dressage is said to originate from military riding where horses were constantly used in war, but it has come a long way since then and is now an elegant and refined Olympic sport.

On Saturday March 8th, 2014 at 3pm at the Equestrian Centre on Linford Pierson Highway, you can catch a glimpse of this elegance when dressage riders from across the island will compete in the Federation Equestre Internationale’s World Dressage Challenge (WDC). Since October last year, Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation riders have been training to qualify for the WDC and those who have qualified will compete in the competition.

TD3_5798The WDC is an annual dressage competition between those countries in the Caribbean’s Solidarity region who are considered developing nations for the purposes of equestrian sport. Riders ride FEI prescribed tests on their own horses in their own countries and two FEI judges travel around the region to judge all competitors. Each country picks a team of four riders to represent their country and their scores are measured against the teams from the region to produce a winning nation.

Last year the Cayman Team of Thea Millward, Jessica McTaggart and sisters Polly and Phoebe Serpell, came third in the Challenge.  Cayman riders are always looking to improve and this year is no exception. Team riders will be hoping for a high finish again in 2014 and this hope is bolstered by the recent arrival of a number of new talented and experienced horses.

The dressage show will also give Olympic hopeful, Jessica McTaggart, the chance to gain her second qualifying score for the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games to be held in Veracruz, Mexico in November this year.

TD3_9737“I was really pleased last month to get the first qualifying score I need for the CAC Games,” said McTaggart. “My training has been going well since then and it has been extremely helpful to have dressage trainer, Cindy Thaxton, of High Point Farm, Atlanta, here. She has been in Cayman to help me, and all the other Cayman dressage riders, to prepare for the next dressage show in March.  Cindy has been my trainer for many years and has a broad experience of overseas competition and training.

The dressage show in March will be my chance to attain a second and final qualifying score for CAC. I’m hoping my horse, Ray of Light, continues to perform as consistently as he has been so that we can represent Cayman in Mexico in November of this year.”

As well as assisting elite riders like McTaggart, the CIEF also plans for the future. The youngest riders will also get an opportunity to test their skills at the show next month in the USDF and USEF Test classes which will be offered after the WDC element has been completed.

So if you think of ‘passage’ as a corridor and ‘piaffe’ only conjours up for you memories of French divas with no regrets, come along to the dressage show on Saturday 8th March at 3pm and see for yourself what these terms mean in ‘dressage-speak’. You never know, you might just get hooked. Entry is free and as usual, all are welcome.






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