Cayman riders faced stiff competition in Trinidad.
The third leg of the 2012 Caribbean Equestrian Association Junior Show Jumping competition was held this month at Hidden Valley Stables in Trinidad.
The teams were as follows: Trinidad – Mariel Lanser (16 and Under), Adelle Stollmeyer (14U), Jamaica – Sayan Johnston (16U), Tyla Herrera (14U), Barbados – Heather Walker (16U), Rosa Mackenzie (14U) and the Cayman Islands – Polly Serpell (16U) and Thea Millward (14U).
Day one of the competition started with a good amount of cloud coverage allowing the first round to be completed in slightly cooler weather. Halfway through the morning, torrential rain started and the competition had to be halted, which is never ideal for riders as it can affect their focus and preparation.
The riding started again, as did the rain, and due to time constraints, it was decided that the riding should continue in the rain. This is the second year the Cayman riders participated in the competition. The rules of this event allow each country’s rider to ride two horses on two different courses with a total of four courses on four horses.
For the visiting riders, they would not have ridden these horses before and riders only have five timed minutes on each horse. Afterwards, they enter the jumping arena to tackle a course of eight jumps in their division and height. So, for Cayman’s girls, there was little time to get to know and understand the horse and, obviously, there was always a home advantage.
Hidden Valley Stables are in Santa Cruz, which is a lush and tropical part of Trinidad about a 30-minute drive outside of Port of Spain. The second day also was slightly overcast and cloudy and although there was no heavy rain, there was some light rainfall.
Millward displayed some wonderful riding and placed first in her division. Her mounts included one very tricky pony, Starlight, and a handful of a horse named Morocco. Serpell, 14, placed third overall in the 16U category after mastering two very challenging and strong horses called Brutus and Porto Cervo.
The combined results of both riders from each country saw hosts Trinidad finish first with 41 faults. Barbados was second with 43 faults, Cayman third with 45 faults and Jamaica fourth with 112 faults.
Mary McTaggart, Cayman’s national coach, expressed her thoughts on the team’s performance.
“Our young riders were well prepared and rose to the challenge of riding several very challenging horses,” McTaggart said. “They are still both two of the youngest riders in the competition but rode well and made me very proud.”
Cayman is now placed joint first with Trinidad as both countries have 10 points with Barbados not far behind with nine points. The final leg of the competition, which is to be held in Jamaica on 8-9 December, is going to be particularly exciting to see who will carry home the 2012 trophy.
In the meantime, local riders are busy preparing for a fun show on 6 October and the upcoming Caribbean association dressage competition in November.