Myhre gives riders passing grade

One of Norway’s top equestrian figures is impressed with local talent.

Kjell Myhre judged the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation’s first dressage show of 2013. Taking place at the Equestrian Centre over the weekend, the meet attracted some 15 riders.

Myhre, 48, states the Caymanian girls have shown great improvement.

“This is my third time here and in Cayman, you see a lot of the same riders with some of the same horses,” Myhre said. “You see development in the consistency of the riders. They have grown and I want to see them up to another level.”

Jessica McTaggart emerged one of the meet’s big winners, claiming the Adult Prix St. George category on her horse called Ray on Light at 66.579 per cent and topping the Adult Elementary class on Partenon at 65.270 per cent.

Polly Serpell topped the Adult Preliminary segment, riding Calidad to a score of 67.759 per cent. Melanie McTaggart, on Smart Racer, won the Adult C Test at 61.750 per cent.

Phoebe Serpell won the Children’s Elementary segment on Me and My Shadow at 56.351 per cent. Thea Millward, on Iggy Pop, claimed the Children’s Preliminary category at 63.103 per cent. Petra Pinkerton nabbed the Children’s C Test crown on Durango at 54 per cent.

A Fédération Equestre Internationale four-star ‘O’ judge, Myhre was in Cayman for a week before leaving on Monday to return to his native Norway. While here, he staged dressage clinics, which the federation, in a press release, stated were a great benefit.

The statement reads, “This is the third year that Mr. Myhre has visited Cayman and assisted our riders with dressage clinics. This training allowed many of our dressage riders to have the benefit of training clinics prior to the show, which made a significant difference to their riding during the show. The show also gave riders, who had never qualified before, the chance to apply and qualify for the World FEI Dressage Challenge which will take place in Cayman on 6-7 March, 2013.”

Most of the riders qualified for the challenge, which required a score of 55 per cent or better. In addition to her class win, Millward placed second on Storm in the Children’s Elementary group at 55.945 per cent. Charlotte Hinds, on Munroe Carr, was second in the Adult Elementary category at 58.378 per cent.

Placing second in the Children’s C Test was Ashley van der Bol, on Pony Up, at 52.250 per cent.

In the Children’s Preliminary, second place went to Phoebe Serpell on Me and My Shadow at 62.241 per cent. Madeleine Aquart on Zeus placed third at 58.621 per cent with Hannah Fowler on Shirley Temple fourth at 57.750 per cent.

The Adult Preliminary segment saw Jessica McTaggart, on Dublin’s Bay, second at 66.379 per cent and Melanie McTaggart third on Smart Racer at 60 per cent. Fourth went to Michelle Boucher on Katrina at 54.310 per cent, fifth was Regina Nowak on Lenora at 53.103 per cent with Amara Thompson placing sixth on Rumour Has It at 48.966 per cent.

Myhre, who was the president of the ground jury at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, explains the reasoning behind his scores.

“Some horses are older or younger than most and need different preparation time. I got to see what they can do during the week I was here. It’s not only the riders that are involved. The horses have their good and bad days, just like humans.

“It’s all taken into consideration. I look for happy horses that show a nice rhythm with no tension. It’s about showing the horse and rider are in harmony.”

Myhre oversaw a veterinary inspection, which encompassed a ‘jog’ for all of the competing horses. A local veterinarian was present to ensure horses were fit to compete. Hannah Fowler, who competed on Shirley Temple, earned the show’s ‘best presented horse and rider’ award.

Up next for Cayman riders is the Caribbean Equestrian Association’s Junior Show Jumping Competition in Barbados on 2-3 February and the world dressage challenge in March.

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