Millward, McTaggart impress Thaxton most at national show

The Autumn National Dressage Show attracted riders from all over Cayman.

Last Sunday’s meet at the Equestrian Center was the first of this season’s national dressage events held by the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation. As fans of dressage will know, a morning dressage show requires riders to rise before dawn. The discipline demands horses to be spotless and sparkling, hooves shining, manes braided, tails detangled, every inch of leather tack polished and every stirrup and buckle gleaming.

The Cayman riders did not disappoint, bringing their “bling” before visiting international dressage judge Cindy Thaxton. A long-time supporter of Cayman dressage, Thaxton has coached and judged Cayman riders for many years. She is based in Atlanta, Georgia, at her own equestrian center, High Point Farm, and spoke glowingly of the local girls.

“I was very impressed by the quality of the riders, as always, here in Cayman, and I am delighted to see and support the growth of great dressage talent on the island,” Thaxton said. Thaxton spent the week prior to the show coaching riders in classical dressage in preparation for the weekend competition. The day was divided into different classes of competition depending on the skill level of the horse and rider. The largest class of competitors was the Children’s Preliminary Test, which was won by Thea Millward on Snow White, with Hannah Fowler on her new horse, Colette, in second place, and Millward also taking third place, on Storm.

Jessica McTaggart took first and third place in the Adult Preliminary Test on her new horses, Loris 7 and Adara, and second place was awarded to Tracey Surrey, who made her debut on SonRise David, also a new horse to the island.

There were a number of dressage debutantes – both horses and riders – competing for the first time on Cayman soil, including Abbey Swartz, who placed first in the USDF B Test on Pony Up and Alexandra Bodden on Relation, who placed second in the Elementary Adult Test and third in the Medium Test.

There were 12 classes in all, and first-place ribbons were also awarded to Anja van Genderen on Karma, Charlotte Hinds on Monroe Carr, Thea Millward on Kartouche, Jessica McTaggart on Ray of Light, Regina Nowak on Leonora, Polly Serpell on Calidad, Phoebe Serpell on Dexter, Michelle Boucher on Katrina and Meegan Slattery on Max.

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