CI riders compete in world contest on home soil

| 26/02/2014

(CNS): Qualified dressage riders from across the Cayman Islands will compete in the Federation Equestre Internationale’s World Dressage Challenge (WDC) on Saturday 8 March when Olympic hopeful, Jessica McTaggart will also be looking for a chance to gain her second qualifying score for the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games. Since October last year, Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation riders have been training to qualify for the WDC an annual dressage competition between countries in the Caribbean region developing in the 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.

McTaggart with her eye on the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games which will be held in Veracruz, Mexico in November said she was really pleased to get the first qualifying score she needed last month.

“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 said. “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.

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.

“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, “officials from the local equestrian federation said.

The event takes place on Saturday 8th March at 3pm at the equestrian centre, off the Linford Pierson highway George Town.

Entry is free and all are welcome.

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