Riders go through their paces

The Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation recently hosted its first ever Federation Equestrian International (FEI) ‘CDN’ Dressage Show and the first national dressage show for 2014. 

The competition was held at the Equestrian Centre on Linford Pierson Highway. A ‘CDN’ Dressage show requires at least two foreign judges. The primary purpose of the federation hosting a CDN show was to enable Jessica McTaggart Giuzio and her horse Ray of Light to obtain one of two qualifying scores required to compete in the Central American and Caribbean Games, which take place every four years and this year will be hosted in Veracruz, Mexico.  

Kjell Myhre from Norway and Ricardo Rojas from Costa Rica were the two foreign judges. Both of these judges have visited the island several times before and are four-star and three-star international judges, respectively. Both judges confirmed their observations of the significant improvements of both the ability of Cayman riders and training of their horses.  

The competition started with an official jog of all horses, which involves all riders presenting their horses to both visiting judges and appointed vets. The purpose of a jog is to ensure all horses are physically well enough to participate in the competition. The judges were also observing the behavior, physical condition and turn out/presentation of the horse.  

All the horses passed the jog and were therefore accepted to participate in the competition. The judges’ decisions about the best presented horses were unanimous with Ray of Light placing first as Best Presented Horse in the adult category and Sunday’s Edition, owned by Phoebe Serpell, placing first in the children’s category.  

The federation welcomed back Cindy Thaxton, who worked with most of the riders in the days running up to the competition. Thaxton is no stranger to Cayman and has repeatedly helped prepare and train Cayman riders for important international competitions both at home and abroad.  

Jessica received a combined score of 63.62 percent in the Prix St George, which exceeds the minimum score required to qualify for the CAC later this year.  

The federation will host another show on March 8 to allow Jessica to obtain the second required qualification.  

Other highlights of the day included Tracey Surrey winning the Adult Preliminary class on Sonrise David, owned by Pamela Fowler, with a score of 65.17 percent, Anja Van Genderen scoring 61.08 percent in the Elementary Children’s class on her Cayman pony Karma, Meegan Slattery winning both the USDF B and C test that she entered on her pony Max and Phoebe Serpell, who claimed the highest score of day (70 percent) on her new horse Sunday’s Edition in the Children’s Preliminary class.  

The Children’s Preliminary class was the largest class in the competition and in second place was Ashley van den Bol on her new horse EWSZ Carmella with a score of 66.98 percent and third place was Anja Van Genderen on Kartouche scoring 62.93 percent. Thea Milward stole the fourth place on her new horse Zafira with a score of 60.86 percent followed closely by Isabelle Smith on Edson Arantes MB with a score of 60.52 percent in fifth place. Sixth place was Ashley van den Bol with her second ride of the day on Pony Up with a score of 59.39 percent and in seventh place was Hannah Fowler on Seligkeit with 58.79 percent.  

The Adult Elementary classes had two entries and Polly Serpell took first place on Partenon with a score of 62.90 percent with Alexandra Bodden very close behind in second place riding her horse Relation with a score of 62.63 percent. The Adult Preliminary class also included Regina Novak, who placed second on her horse Leonora with a score of 60.68 percent. Alexandra Bodden showed for a second time on Relation and scored 61 percent in the Medium test. 

High point awards went to Tracey Surrey on Sonrise David in the adult category and Phoebe Serpell in the children’s category.  

Many new, young dressage riders entered the national classes and organizers say they are looking forward to watching these riders’ dressage careers evolve.  

Cindy Thaxton returns to Cayman Feb. 19-23 when she will be offering dressage clinics to help all riders prepare for the upcoming World Dressage Challenge on March 8.  

For more information, contact Milly Serpell on 926-1551 or email [email protected] 


Jessica McTaggart Giuzio qualified for the CAC Games.