McTaggart springs surprise

The Cayman Islands Equestrian
Federation has seen another triumph from Jessica McTaggart and her horse Ray of

They finished reserve champions at
the FEI Intermediate Level Adult Amateur division last week at the United States
Dressage Federation Great American Region 3 Dressage Championships. Their 65
per cent score earned them second place out of a field of 10 competitors. 

They were also fourth out of 18
qualified competitors in their Prix St. Georges Championship class also with a
65 per cent score. USDF Region 3 encompasses five states – Georgia, Florida,
Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina. McTaggart and Ray qualified for the
championship class earlier in the year with their consistent scores above 60
per cent. 

McTaggart said: “Region 3 is a very
competitive region being that many of the country’s top riders are based in
Florida.  To be second and fourth in this
region, at this level is a big deal.

“Our warm-up on the Saturday for
the PSG was exquisite, he was attentive, relaxed and ready to go for the
win.  Unfortunately, being such a
sensitive horse, Ray spooked before we entered the arena and the tension that
ensued cost us the blue ribbon.  My
second ride on Sunday was at 8am and it was only 38 degrees. Ray was shivering
as I was getting him ready so it was a difficult warm-up trying to get his
muscles warm, relaxed and supple. He did however hold himself together mentally
and with no spooks or disobediences was able to earn the red ribbon. Ray has a
fan club that follows him around the show grounds, he truly is a special

“Those two placings earned us spots
in the mounted awards ceremony. I didn’t know how Ray was going to behave so I
went prepared wearing my helmet rather than the top hat. The first day he
freaked when the music for the victory lap started playing, but the second day
he became very proud as they put the neck ribbon on him and he acted like a
true professional throughout the whole ceremony. I could not have been prouder
of him.”

The equestrian federation is
looking for corporate and private sponsors to assist in getting McTaggart and
Ray of Light to the Pan Am Games in October 2011.