Judges like how our riders flex

Based on the feedback of visiting
judges at an international tournament, equestrian in Cayman has a bright

Two judges from the Federation
Equestre Internationale were in Cayman last week for the 2011 World Dressage
Challenge. They were Janine Rohr-Cicurel of Argentina and Ricardo Rojas Cruz of
Costa Rica.

The Cayman leg of the competition
took place at George Town’s Equestrian Centre and featured eight local riders.
They were Mary McTaggart on Partenon (adult elementary class), Elsie Boone on
Apache, Ashley Scaletta on Rambo, Joe Jackson on Monroe Carr and Meghan
Millwood on Iggy Pop (all in the adult preliminary class), Polly Serpell on My
Shadow, Charlotte Hinds on Posh and Thea Millward on Storm (all in the youth
preliminary category).

For judge Rohr-Cicurel it was her
first time in Cayman and she was pleased with the talent on display.

“I’ve been in equestrian for 15
years and this was my first time to the Cayman Islands,” Rohr-Cicurel said.
“I’m very pleased with the tournament as there was a good turnout. With the
riders they all have a good seat, which is the most important thing in riding.
They need more experience but it’s good to see the growth of young people’s
enthusiasm in the sport.

“Next year I’ll be back looking to
see improvement. I hope some of the riders I saw will participate in big
competitions in the future like the Olympic Games, Pan-American Games and
Central American and Caribbean Games.”

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 pulled out of the competition
due to the lingering devastation from last year’s earthquakes.

While the Argentinean judge is new
to Cayman equestrian, Rojas Cruz is well aware of the potential in local
riders. He was on-island for last year’s challenge and states he has already
seen growth in the last 12 months.

“I can see development,” Rojas Cruz
said. “The horses, the organization of the tournament and the facilities have
all improved tremendously. I saw some fine riders. The improvement is there and
I see where there are a lot of incentives for riders in Cayman. I can say that
Cayman is firmly part of the whole equestrian scene in the Caribbean.

“By the way I’ve been in equestrian
seven years and it took a long way to become a judge. First you have to be a
rider at the highest level and then you go to seminars to receive proper
training. You have to do a lot of study as well so it’s a second career for
most people as the pay is not great. But we come here for these tournaments to
see the development, that’s the main thing.”

Among the local dignitaries on hand
for the dressage was director of sports Collin Anglin. He states the event was
an opportunity for Cayman to gain regional exposure through sports.

“It went pretty well and it was a
great opportunity for our athletes,” Anglin said. “It’s pretty impressive that
for a country our size the facilities are so good. Obviously the local federation
will look for room for expansion, which is the same for any sport here. But I’m
impressed with the facilities here.

“Sports put Cayman on the map in
different ways. Those judges not only saw if we could compete but also took in
a bit of Cayman. In turn they can share that experience with their colleagues
and help spread the word about our little paradise in the sun.”

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