Winning local riders jump into regional contest

| 23/04/2014

(CNS): Isabelle Smith (Left) and Hannah Fowler will be representing the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean Equestrian Association’s Show Jumping Competition (CEA JSJC) against Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica next month after taking the U16 and U14 titles respectively in the first ever Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation last weekend. The teen riders will now be training hard in the run up to the contest next month as they turn their attention from the recent grace and style of their successful dressage games for the speed and accuracy of the jump arena.

Six riders from the Equestrian Centre (EC) and one rider from Cayman Riding School (CRS) competed in the debut local contest which Sharon Hinds, newly-elected President of CIEF said was a great experience for horses and riders.

“It is also helpful for different stables to share the load of hosting the growing number of shows in the CIEF calendar. We really appreciate all the hard work that volunteers have put in to prepare this venue for its first CIEF show and we look forward to many more here in the future.”

Visiting horses from the EC settled in easily and seemed to take their new surroundings in theirstride. The random draw settled the order of go for the three rounds of competition in each of the age categories, under 16 and under 14.

Three experienced riders from the EC competed in the Under 16 age category, Thea Millward, Polly Serpell and Isabelle Smith; in the Under 14 age category,  three seasoned riders from the EC, Madeliene Arquart,, Phoebe Serpell and Ashley van den Bol were joined by Hannah Fowler from CRS.

Given the new surroundings for the visiting horses, riders were asked to ride their own horses in the first round, switching onto their competitors’ horses for rounds 2 and 3.

Competition was tough as few rails fell in the opening round. Six of the seven riders jumped clear and took a clean sheet into the second round. The course changed for each round and in the second round the same six riders maintained their clean slate going into the final round.  Those who remain clean in the final round,have their times from all three rounds added, with the lowest overall time bagging first place.  At this stage riders always have to choose whether to gamble on the course to ‘shave’ time at the risk of forcing an error and bringing down a rail or two in the field.

Both Millward and Smith held their nerve in the final round to finish clear in the Under 16 category and Fowler, Phoebe Serpell and  van den Bol followed suit in the Under 14 category leaving spectators none the wiser as to who had clinched the top spots.

They didn’t have long to wait for the announcements. Smith took first place in the Under 16 category with a combined time of 128.15 seconds and will represent Cayman in that category in the CEA JSJC against Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica next month.  Millward finished second with 134.78 seconds and is the Reserve Team Member for the U16 and Polly Serpell finished third with 8 faults and a combined time of 133.20 seconds.

In the Under 14 category, Fowler took first place to win the trial in the younger age group with a combined time of 124.5 seconds. Phoebe Serpell was a close second with a time of 125.14 seconds and will be the Reserve Team Member for the U14s. In third place was  van den Bol with 133.8 seconds and in fourth place was Arquart with 4 faults and a combined time of 134.05 seconds.

CIEF is actively seeking corporate sponsors to assist with staging this weekend-long event and anyone interested in sponsoring the event should contact or 916 4312.

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