All dressed up to impress visitors

Equestrian has quietly trotted along in Cayman for some time. The sport can only hope that its showing at a notable international tournament sparks more interest.

Eight riders represented Cayman at the Federation Equestre Internationale 2011 World Dressage Challenge. The Cayman leg of the competition took place at the Equestrian Centre in George Town this week.

Mary McTaggart was the lone adult rider on the day and competed at the elementary class level. She had a final score of 62.4 per cent on her horse Partenon.

Four teenage riders took part in the preliminary adult class, which was the biggest group of the event.

Elsie Boone and her horse Apache would be the top finisher with a score of 66.5 per cent. Bone also received an additional trophy as the top rider in the adult category of the event.

In second place was Ashley Scaletta and her horse Rambo as they posted a 63.45 per cent score. Joe Jackson, the lone male competitor, was in third with a 59.3 percent score on his horse Monroe Carr.

In fourth spot Meghan Millwood and her horse Iggy Pop who had a score of 54.3 per cent.

Over in the youth category three riders aged 12-15 competed at the preliminary level.

Polly Serpell came first on My Shadow with a score of 64.8 per cent. Serpell claimed an additional trophy as the top junior rider at the event.

In second was Charlotte Hinds on Posh with a score of 62.76 per cent. Thea Millward on Storm came third with a 59.1 per cent score.

Two judges from the international body were in Cayman to judge the riders.

They were Janine Rohr-Cicurel from Argentina and Ricardo Rojas Cruz of Costa Rica.

Cayman is one of four Caribbean countries taking part in the Dressage Challenge. The other nations are Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda, Jamaica and Barbados.

Haiti was slated to be part of the competition but pulled out due to the lingering devastation from last year’s earthquakes.

Vice President of the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation Jane van der Bol was the show organizer. She states the event was a success. “What a fantastic day we had,” van der Bol said. “The weather was perfect, our horses and riders did an excellent job and our scores seem to be above average compared to the other Caribbean countries in our zone so far.”

A pair of dignitaries attended the Dressage Challenge in Cayman Islands Olympic Committee president Donald McLean and director of sports Collin Anglin.

Both were pleased with the staging of the event with Anglin stating government is fully behind equestrian.

“The challenge gives a good idea of where we stand in the region,” Anglin said. “To me it represents the best form of assessment these young riders can get. The judges give good feedback to the riders on how they can better their scores.

“The interest and support of government is there. Equestrian is an Olympic sport and with the president of the local Olympic body there it gives an idea as to the level of support coming from the sport’s stakeholders.”

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McTaggart was the lone adult taking part.
PHOTO: EUGENE BONTHUYS