Jessica set for Pan Ams

Local rider Jessica McTaggart and her horse Ray of Light have again made history, becoming the first equestrian duo to qualify for the 2011 Pan American Games.

In preparation for the Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, McTaggart completed a heavy schedule in Wellington, Florida, between January and March, which included four international FEI competitions where they earned their last qualifying scores.

The pair’s scores improved throughout the competition season, culminating in personal best scores at the 65 per cent average mark in both the Prix St. Georges and Intermediate 1 tests in front of a panel of three international judges.

Competing against all the North, Central, and South American riders that are also vying for spots on their Pan American teams, McTaggart was pleased with their performance. She said: “We had our ups and downs this season, but overall we were consistent and achieved what we came here to do, to improve our scores, get more experience at the international level and establish ourselves as viable competition.”

From now until October, McTaggart and Ray of Light will compete in national shows and continue training with Colombian Marco Bernal, who has also qualified for the Games.

In addition to a placing at Pan American Games, McTaggart has her eyes set on London Olympics 2012, which she says has never felt more possible. They competed as individuals in dressage in the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games last summer, placing 17th overall.