September 25, 2020

Cayman Islands riders impress Austrian judge

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Basil Humphries Winter Dressage ShowCayman’s dressage community was abuzz with excitement this week with the arrival of 4* FEI International Judge, Victoire Mandl, of Austria. Mandl, a frequent visitor to the Barbados equestrian community, was in town to judge and then train riders hoping to hone their dressage skills for a national dressage show and for March’s signature dressage event of the season – the FEI World Dressage Challenge.

Dressage always means attention to detail and when riding a Kayla Godwin Winter Dressage Show 2015dressage test, preparations begin long before the horse enters the competition arena. Horses and riders have to be immaculately turned out which means washing, brushing, detangling, hoof picking and polishing horse and tack to a standard even a drill sergeant would nod appreciatively at.

Due to the number of horses and riders participating, the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation (“CIEF”) once again split the show between two venues to enable as many people Madeleine Aquart Winter Dressage Showto take part as possible. The show began at 8am with riders Jessica MCtaggart-Giuzio and Thea Millward kicking off the show with some of the most advanced tests ridden. McTaggart-Giuzio rode Loris 7 in the USEF Third Level Test 2 scoring *64.10%. She was followed by Millward riding Mary Alberga’s horse, Partenon, in the USEF Third Level Test 3, with a score of 59.10%.

The busiest classes of the day were the beginner levels – the USDF B and C Tests. Beginner dressage riders, Kayla Godwin and Lea Rado both had a fantastic show, with Godwin placing first in both the Junior B and C Tests and Rado placing second in both.

Newcomer Charlotte Shepherd trains her young Cayman pony, Teddy, on a piece of open land in Newlands. Shepherd and Teddy made their debut in the dressage show and won the Adult USDF C Test followed by Lexi Bodden and Tcheser Tatalibi.

CIEF Winter Dressage Show 2015 Results_Page_1 CIEF Winter Dressage Show 2015 Results_Page_2 CIEF Winter Dressage Show 2015 Results_Page_3Abbey Swartz and Pony Up swept into first place in the other hotly contended class, the USEF Training Level Test 1 Juniors, closely followed by Eva Muspratt on Oscar the Great and Powerful.

A number of riders entered the FEI Preliminary Class in the hope of gaining a qualifying score for the FEI World Dressage Challenge in March. In order to enter the Challenge at the lowest level, riders must turn 12 years old in 2015 and score at least 58% in a Preliminary Test at a qualifying dressage show prior to the Challenge. In the Preliminary class, Ashley van den Bol was first on Pony Up with 67.414% and Chloe Fowler was second on Shirley with 64.83%. Saskia Drake and Me and My Shadow took third place with 61.379%, Jenna Boucher was fourth on Katrina with 61.21%, Basil Humphries fifth on 57.931% and Abbey Swartz came in sixth with 56.897%. Based on their age and these results, van den Bol, Fowler and Boucher are all qualified to enter the Challenge.

In the Preliminary Adults class, Madeleine Aquart continued her winning streak with a first place and Adult High Point Winner Award for the second time in a row. This award is given to the adult with the highest score overall on the day.

The Children’s High Point Award went to Basil Humphries on Storm in the USEF Training Level Test 3, who scored 67.727%.

In the rest of the classes familiar faces put their horses through their paces for the league with all riders being congratulated by the visiting judge, Victoire Mandl, for their excellent efforts. Full results are attached separately.

Victoire Mandl is originally from the Netherlands but now lives with her Austrian husband near Vienna. She has been judging dressage events for over 25 years and is a 4* FEI International Judge. She travels all over the world to judge international dressage events and her recent schedule has taken in Australia, Mexico, Korea, Russia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Ireland and the Netherlands. At 69, it’s an exhausting schedule for anyone, but Mandl does not seem to flag. “The show was surprising because there were many entries for a small country like this and I was very pleased with the perfect organization of the show by the CIEF. The average level of dressage riding in Cayman is as with all countries and the riders here are very keen to improve. There are also a few very talented horses and riders.”

As well as judging the weekend’s show, Mandl has been offering several days of dressage clinics to CIEF members to help develop their dressage skills further.

From Cayman, Mandl will travel to Barbados to judge and train their riders. CIEF’s Vice-President, Jessica McTaggart-Giuzio, who arranged the trip, said, “We are grateful to Barbados for sharing Victoire’s contact details with us. When we were looking for someone to come to Cayman and judge in January, the Barbados Equestrian Federation were kind enough to suggest Victoire do a joint trip to both islands, with our two equestrian federations splitting her costs. It’s great when Caribbean neighbours can help each other out like this for the benefit and development of riders in the region. Cayman has really enjoyed hosting Victoire and I know the riders have all learned something to take away from their coaching clinics with her.”

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