September 18, 2020

Cayman Islands heads to Trinidad

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CIEF - Trinidad Press Release photoAt the end of September, two Cayman riders headed to Trinidad for the third leg of the Caribbean Equestrian Association’s Junior Show Jumping Competition. (“CEA JSJC”)

Each calendar year, the four CEA countries, Cayman, Barbardos, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, meet once in each country to compete over four show jumping courses. Each time, they compete on horses loaned by the country hosting the event. In September it was the turn of Trinidad to host the event. Barbados were unfortunately unable to attend the Trinidad competition, which left Cayman, Jamaica and Trinidad fighting it out for points.

The two riders to travel to Trinidad to represent Cayman were Isabelle Smith, in the Under 16 class, and CEA debutante, Chloe Fowler, in the Under 14 class. The riders put themselves forward and were both uncontested for their spots on the team.

The venue for the competition was Saddle Valley Stables, Santa Cruz. It sits in a beautiful valley surrounded by the rugged mountains of Trinidad. The Cayman Team were warmly welcomed by their Trinidadian hosts who kicked off the competition on day one with two of the three rounds constituting the entire event.

Coach Tracey Surrey, who accompanied the team to Trinidad, was also travelling overseas as coach for the first time. “We knew that some of the horses in Trinidad would be extremely forward going as they often come to show jumping off the race track. However, both members of the team knew this, came prepared and did well in their rounds. Riding borrowed horses is great experience for teaching you how to ride all different sorts of horses and that is why this competition is invaluable experience for our Cayman riders. You cannot be a passenger up there. You have to ride!”

On the first day, both Smith and Fowler had tricky first rounds on challenging horses, picking up 6 and 9 faults respectively. After a course change for the next round, both riders returned to the arena and executed excellent clear rounds in round 2.

The following day, Smith picked up 8 faults in the third round and Fowler picked up 4. As Barbados were unable to attend the competition, only three instead of the usual four round were required. Instead of the fourth competitive round, Trinidad brought out fresh horses for the competitors and organized a ‘power and speed’ class just for fun. In this class, if riders manage a clear round in the first half of the course, they complete the second half of the course against the clock, with the fastest time winning. Cayman’s Isabelle Smith was the winner of this class.

As well as testing the riders’ equestrian skills, the competition is designed for the youth to meet new friends from other Caribbean nations. Cayman team members who have passed through the programme over the years have consistently made friends that they still have today. Fowler, who competed overseas for the first time said of her experience, “I really enjoyed my experience in Trinidad. Everyone was very friendly and I made lots of new friends. The riding was challenging and fun and I hope to be able to represent Cayman again and improve on my performance.”

In the individual competition, Isabelle Smith placed third in the Under 16s category, and Chloe Fowler placed second in the Under 14s category. After the team points were counted, Trinidad were placed first with 10 faults, Jamaica second on 26 faults with Cayman coming third by a difference of just one fault on 27 faults. This means that overall for the year, the pack is extremely tight and it is still anyone’s game! Cayman and Jamaica are lying in joint first place with 9 points, and Barbados and Trinidad are lying in joint third place on 7 points. The final leg of the competition is scheduled for November in Jamaica, giving Jamaica the home advantage, but the Cayman Team will be determined to give them a run for their money.

 

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