Rising stars shine in Wellington

| 16/05/2014

(CIEF): For twelve weeks at the beginning of every year, Wellington, Florida is host to WEF, the Winter Equestrian Festival, which draws in the who’s who of the international show jumping world. The 2014 season did not disappoint, but was so marked by the dominance of British show jumpers, that organizing CEO Mark Bellisimo joked that next year’s festival would be renamed the BEF – the ‘British’ Equestrian Festival. Two rising show jumping stars of Cayman were lucky enough to meet one of those British stars, Ben Maher, whilst catching the end of the festival. The youth riders were in Wellington to compete in the Second Annual FEI Group IV Caribbean Challenge.

Polly Serpell and Thea Millward travelled to Wellington at the beginning of April to compete in a three day Challenge event against other young riders from the Caribbean. The Challenge was organized by a combination of WEF, the US Equestrian Federation and the FEI’s Group IV members and a number of Caribbean countries each sent two riders. The visiting riders borrowed horses from a pool lent by riders from North America who also attended and competed at the Challenge.

After a warm up competition, the first event to kick things off was the Group IV Classic. Thea Millward had a great round and was delighted to finish in 2nd place, highest placed in the Caribbean, with Polly Serpell finishing 11th. At the next event, the Group IV Championship Competition, Millward had an unlucky refusal and was eliminated but it was Serpell’s turn to excel and she finished fifth, the highest placed Caribbean rider on the second day. Serpell was also awarded ‘Best Horse’ for the horse she borrowed, Montego.

For Serpell, this is priceless show mileage in preparation for her attendance at the Youth Olympic Games in August 2014, where she will compete for Cayman against the best youth show jumpers in the world. Serpell has been competing consistently in Florida since she qualified for the Games last year.

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