Van der Bol fancies Jamaican jumping

The sport of equestrian is looking for more brilliance next month.

After a stellar showing in Trinidad, the focus now is on a top finish in Jamaica for the last leg of the Caribbean Equestrian Association Junior Jumping Competition. That event is slated for 5-6 November.

Representing Cayman are junior riders Polly Serpell and Thea Millward. Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation vice president Jane van der Bol states she is confident that Cayman can excel.

“We are looking strong, feeling confident and would like to bring home the winning trophy from Jamaica,” van der Bol said. “With a win in Jamaica, we could give Barbados and Jamaica a run for second place. Barbados started the year strong with two wins and a second place. Jamaica has been a steady second except for the competition in Trinidad. So a win for Cayman in Jamaica will bring excitement to the final results for the year.”

Cayman are coming off a first place showing in Trinidad. Serpell competed in the 16 and under age division while Millward took part in the 14U category. In fact Millward was the only competitor to have four clear rounds in the entire event. Both faced eight jumps at different heights as the 16U segment tackled one metre while 14U section faced an obstacle of .80m.

The competition was held over two days with each rider riding twice a day. Cayman was among the visiting countries that used “borrowed” horses to compete. The final results saw Cayman place first with only eight faults while Barbados was second with 19 faults. Trinidad came third sporting 64 faults and Jamaica was last having 66 faults.

Van der Bol states their efforts should be commended.

“Polly stepped up to the 16U division for this show and did a fabulous job jumping higher jumps on bigger horses. Thea was the only rider from all four countries that had four clear rounds with no penalties. Both riders did an excellent job and won the trophy.

An under-stated part of the girls’ success is the training of Mary McTaggart at the Cayman Equestrian Centre in George Town. With noted rider and Mary’s daughter Jessica McTaggart also contributing, the young ladies had exceptional coaching.

Van der Bol states the Cayman girls, who competed in Barbados and on home soil here in Cayman for the earlier legs of the competition this year, are inspired by the efforts of the McTaggart family.

“Mary has done a fabulous job in bringing the level of riding in Cayman to a higher level. By offering opportunities for our young riders to travel abroad and compete in both dressage and jumping we are exposing them to higher levels of performance and experience. The results of the last two international shows have shown our riders are riding at a competitive level against other countries in our region.”

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