September 24, 2020

‘Puerto Rico success for Cayman Islands Riders’

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In 2013, one of Cayman’s youth show jumpers, Thea Millward, was the first Cayman rider to compete in the ’s Children’s Classic. The Federation Equestre Internationale, or ‘’ is the equestrian world’s governing body. Millward participated in the competition in nearby and competed successfully on a borrowed horse.

Last month, two more of Cayman’s young show jumpers, Phoebe Serpell and Hannah Fowler, decided to follow the trail blazed by Millward last year, and headed down to Puerto Rico to take part in the competition organized by the Federacion Puertorriquena de Deportes Ecuestres (the “FPDE”).

The ‘FEI Children’s Classic’ competition was established by the FEI to enable riders aged 14 and under living in remote areas to compete internationally on their own horses without leaving their own country. There are three different height classes within the competition; the ‘Gold Tour’ at 1.2m, the ‘Silver Tour’ at 1.1m and the ‘Bronze Tour’ at 1m. Riders choose one Tour to enter.

Although the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation (“CIEF”) hopes to organize this competition for the first time in Cayman in 2015, Serpell and Fowler age out this year so decided to gain some overseas competition experience by borrowing local Puerto Rican horses for the San Juan competition.

The Cayman riders were warmly welcomed by the FPDE who were delighted to welcome overseas visitors to their competition. Serpell and Fowler leased horses from local equestrian talent, Claudia Colon-Acevedo. Serpell was paired with a very energetic and forward going 8 year old chestnut thoroughbred gelding standing at 15.3 hands called ‘Made in China’ and Fowler with a seven year old 15.2 hand bay mare called ‘Pandora’. After a couple of brief lessons getting to know their borrowed horses, Serpell and Fowler prepped their horses for the in advance of the weekend’s competition.

The Vet Jog is compulsory at most FEI competitions and enables all the horses to be checked by a vet for lameness or other issues prior to the competition. Both Made in China and Pandora passed the Vet Jog and the competitors then turned their minds to the competition.

Fowler and Serpell chose to enter the Bronze Tour and would consequently jump four different courses over two days, with fence heights set at 1m. Awards are given at the end of each day and for overall results at the end of the second day. Both riders were delighted to jump a clear round on the first course, despite wet and soggy conditions. In the second round, both riders collected four faults, Fowler for a knock down and Serpell for a refusal. At the awards ceremony, Sophie Uldry of Puerto Rico took first place with two clear rounds, Cayman’s Hannah Fowler placed second, Daniela Vargas of Puerto Rico placed third and Cayman’s Phoebe Serpell came in fourth.

On the second day, Fowler was first into the arena in brighter conditions but caught two fences leaving her with eight faults. Serpell posted a clear round putting pressure on the local talent. In the final round, both Fowler and Serpell went clear. For the day this placed Serpell first, with locals Uldry and Vargas second and third, respectively, and Fowler in fourth.

As the results were calculated for overall positions, Uldry was named overall Champion with Serpell winning the overall Reserve Champion trophy, Vargas was placed third and Fowler was placed fourth.

In addition, Fowler was awarded the Best Presented Horse award in the Vet Jog.

Serpell said of her experiences, “Riding in Puerto Rico was great fun. Everyone we met was very friendly and we made some lovely new friends. I had never ridden a horse like Made In China before but I really enjoyed the challenge and was really happy that we got on so well.”

Secretary-General of CIEF, Pamela Fowler, who attended the competition with the riders, said “CIEF is extremely proud of both our riders. They were competing against riders riding their own horses and so both did really well. As a Federation, we hope to be able to organize this competition in Cayman in 2015 so our riders can ride their own horses at home. It will be another welcome milestone in our development as a Federation; hard work, but worth it for the opportunity it affords our pool of young riding talent. Having said that, it is always great for development when our riders can gain overseas experience on borrowed horses, and we know both girls really enjoyed the experience and are eagerly looking for their next opportunity to compete overseas.”

 

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