Boucher leaps above the pack

The Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation recently crowned winners for the 2013 National Show Jumping Championship.

Acting federation president Sharon Hinds is greatly encouraged by the number of riders turning out for the championship and the progression of riders up the levels within the league tables.

“Last year, we planned the National Jumping Series as a trial year to see how much support the competition would get from riders and how much it would benefit them,” Hinds said. “The response has been overwhelming with more riders than ever turning out for the fourth leg of this competition, which also served as the first leg of the 2014 competition.

“Younger riders, who had watched the progress of more experienced riders throughout 2013, were keen to join the competition for 2014 and we saw several new riders make their NJS debut at November’s competition.”
She added, “It is really encouraging for the board and all other volunteers who give up many hours of their time to put the competitions on, to see young talent encouraged and progressing as a result of this new league. It is definitely something that will become a staple in our calendar going forward.“

Early last year, a newly-elected federation board of directors designed an ambitious show calendar for its members that would stretch them and encourage them on all levels in all disciplines. One of the new initiatives for 2013 was the implementation of a National Jumping Series – a set of four jumping competitions spread throughout the year, effectively creating a league for show jumpers to progress in skills in a competitive environment.

The series gives federation members a regular chance to jump in a competitive environment, preparing them for eventual competition overseas on an international level. The different height levels offered means that beginners can compete in the lower level jump height classes and the more experienced riders can compete at the higher heights appropriate to their experience.

The Junior 0.6 meter class had a record number of entries and several young riders, including Eva Muspratt and Meegan Slattery of Cayman Riding School and Basil Humphries, made their debut and acquitted themselves well. However, it was Jenna Boucher, also making her jumping debut, who stole the show in this class with a blistering round on her horse Katrina, beating some ‘old hands’ and winning the group in a time of 46.31 seconds.

Following Boucher for Leg 4 of 2013 were Hannah Fowler on Shirley Temple (second) and Honeycomb (third) and Chloe Fowler on Shirley Temple. For Leg 1 of 2014, Chloe Fowler on Shirley Temple and Phoebe Serpell on Pony Up (third) and Rambo (fourth) were the runners up. After the year’s scores were calculated for 2013, the overall winner was Phoebe Serpell and the Reserve Champion was Hannah Fowler.

In the Adult 0.6m class, Tanja Braendle made her debut on a young Cayman pony, Harry. She was pipped at the post for first place by Juliette Forrester on her pony, Apollo, who won with a clear round and a time of 53.51 seconds. Forrester also took the overall title with Louise Foy of Cowboy Town Stables taking the Reserve Champion spot.

The Junior 0.7m class was as hotly contended as the 0.6m class, again, with a record number of entries. Hannah Fowler went into the fourth leg in the lead on points and managed to hang on to her lead, winning the class on her East End quarterhorse, Honeycomb, with a time of 44.76 seconds, the fastest time of the day. The results for Leg 4 of 2013 and Leg 1 of 2014 were the same as Hannah claimed the top two spots ahead of Chloe Fowler on Shirley Temple and Phoebe Serpell on Durango. Hannah emerged overall 2013 champion with Serpell as Reserve Champion.

In the Adult 0.7m class, Michelle Boucher took first place with a clear round on Katrina and Tanja Braendle was second on Harry. This gave Michelle Boucher the 2013 title and the Reserve Champion award went to Jessica McTaggart.

As the height of the jumps moved up, there were fewer competitors, but no less excitement and interest as riders prepared for 0.85m height class and above. With two clear rounds, Polly Serpell clinched first place on her horse Calidad in the junior 0.85m segment and the Open 0.9-1m class. Serpell, the 2013 junior champ, finished ahead of Madeleine Aquart on Durango with Amara Thompson the Reserve Champion. Serpell continues to lead Aquart in the junior ranks this year.

For the Open category, Serpell won leg four for 2013 and leg one for 2014 ahead of Thea Millward, on Storm (second) and Adara (third). Millward was the 2013 overall winner with Serpell the Reserve Champion.

Alex Rado on Larkin took first place in the Adult 0.85m class with Michelle Boucher on Katrina coming in second. Boucher was the 2013 winner while Rado was Reserve Champion.

Thea Millward took first place in the highest class of the competition, the Open 1 – 1.1m class, on Storm and was the 2013 winner. Millward won the first leg of 2014 ahead of Serpell on Calidad. The second leg of the 2014 championship will take place at the Equestrian Centre on Sunday, Jan. 12. Entry is free. Everyone is welcome to come and watch.

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