Dressage judges from Europe recently gave a favorable review of local equestrian riders.
Federation Equestre Internationale judges Elke Ebert of Germany and Anders Sucksdorff of Finland were in Cayman this month, grading riders from the Equestrian Centre and Cayman Riding School for the Cayman stage of the 2014 FEI World Dressage Challenge. Ebert said the quality of dressage talent here is impressive.
“Cayman has really improved in the past year with its dressage riders,” said Ebert, who visited the island 12 months ago to judge the same competition. “The improvements were self evident in the results.”
Ebert and Sucksdorff had already visited Barbados, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago and Bermuda to judge equivalent competitions in those countries before coming to Cayman. The initial results had Cayman in first place within the Caribbean overall, with only Jamaica left to ride this month.
Acting president of the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation Sharon Hinds says the judges’s evaluations provide a welcome morale boost.
“This year, Team Cayman consisted of Tracey Surrey from Cayman Riding School, Jessica McTaggart-Giuzio and Phoebe and Polly Serpell from the Equestrian Centre,” Hinds said. “Our riders have all been training extremely hard for this regional competition and we are really pleased with the improvement in the skill level of dressage riding in the Cayman Islands generally.
“We have a real pocket of talent here and it is one that we are committed to supporting and encouraging in every way we can. All riders in this competition have invested hundreds of hours of training in order to put Cayman quite clearly on the international dressage map.”
Twelve riders presented themselves at the mandatory Vet Jog the day before the main competition to have their horses inspected. As well as checking that every horse is sound, the Vet Jog is also an opportunity for riders to compete for the coveted “Best Presented Horse” Award. This year, the Best Presented Horse – Child’s Award went to Hannah Fowler and her dappled grey warmblood, Seligkeit, and the Adult’s Award went to McTaggart-Giuzio and her horse, Loris 7.
In the dressage challenge, the skill level of the riders increased with each class and the first to go were the children, riding the Preliminary Test. Phoebe Serpell coasted to first place on Sunday’s Edition with an impressive 70.86 percent. Second was Thea Millward on Iggy Pop, third Anya van Genderen on Kartouche, fourth was Fowler on Seligkeit, fifth Isabelle Smith on Edson Arantes MB and sixth Ashley van den Bol on EWSZ Carmella.
In the adult section, Tracey Surrey took first place on SonRise David with 69.66 percent. McTaggart-Giuzio was a close second on Loris 7, with Polly Serpell on Calidad in third and Regina Nowak in fourth on Leonora.
The Elementary Test was also divided into separate children’s and adults’ tests. For the kids, Phoebe Serpell took first place on Sunday’s Edition with Lexi Bodden winning the adult class on Relation. Second was McTaggart-Giuzio on Loris 7 and third was Polly Serpell on Partenon. Bodden and Relation also took first place in the Medium Test with Charlotte Hinds on Monroe Carr in second place. High Point Awards in the competition were awarded to Tracey Surrey, as the highest scoring adult, and Phoebe Serpell, as the highest scoring child.