McTaggart’s hopes riding high

The Cayman Islands Equestrian
Federation has again reached another milestone in its short history as a
non-profit sports federation. 

For the first time ever, Cayman had
representation in equestrian at the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games
thanks to the support of the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee.

Competing as an individual in
dressage, Jessica McTaggart and her horse Ray of Light, placed 14th out of a
field of 28 riders in the preliminary event riding the International Equestrian
Federation Prix St. Georges test with a 63.53 per cent. This easily earned them
a spot in the Intermediate 1 finals that were held two days later.

McTaggart and Ray made the
equestrian association and the Cayman Islands proud as they competed against
seasoned CAC, Pan Am and professional riders. The pair finished 17th overall
with a combined score of 61.86 per cent ahead of the other three individual
riders from Trinidad, Barbados and Honduras. All other participants were part
of a full three or four-man team. The gold medal went to Colombian Marco Bernal
and Farewell IV with a 70.79 per cent.

Accompanying the duo to Puerto Rico
were Jessica’s mother chef d’equipe Mary McTaggart, coach Cynthia Thaxton, and
groom Alexander Abrams.  Jessica, 25, was
also chosen by the chef de mission Dalton Watler to carry the Cayman flag at
the opening ceremony for the games, an event she says was the proudest moment
in her life. 

Additionally, McTaggart is
currently sitting in seventh place in the USA at the Prix St. Georges level and
11th at the Intermediate 1 level in the adult amateur division. She will
compete at the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Region 3 Dressage
Championships 15-17 October in Conyers, Georgia, and aims to claim the blue ribbon
at both levels. 

McTaggart is proof to the Caymanian
equestrian community that hard work and dedication can pay off, as she has
invested her life and her savings into the intensive training and showing
schedule necessary to reach her CAC goal. Her riding career spans over two
decades and she pays homage to the Equestrian Centre riding school and the
Cayman ponies and horses that taught her over the years. Bon Bon, Rambo, and
Cisco Pop saw her through her secondary education, while Kartouche became the
mare who brought her through the dressage levels whilst at university.  Her sights are set on the Pan American Games
in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011. With her scores from CAC she is two-thirds of
the way through the qualifying process already. McTaggart is seeking
sponsorship from the Caymanian community to help her become the first
equestrian athlete to represent Cayman at these the Games.

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