Cayman girls ready to leap over regional opposition

Cayman’s equestrian community will be looking to impress by leaps and bounds. 

The Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation is staging the second leg of the Caribbean Equestrian Association’s Junior Show Jumping Competition this weekend. The Equestrian Centre off Linford Pierson Highway serves as the venue on May 10-11 from 8:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. each day. Cayman will be facing teams from Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Over the course of the competition, each competitor will be riding four horses over four different courses.  

The local riders consist of Isabelle Smith and Thea Millward (reserve) in the Under-16 category with Hannah Fowler and Phoebe Serpell (reserve) in the Under-14 group. Smith and Fowler won the Cayman team trials last month. 

Fowler is a newcomer to the national stage and was supposed to compete last year, but fell while riding just before the competition to end up in crutches. Fowler says last year’s mishap motivated her.  

“I was really disappointed to miss the competition last year and so I’m really looking forward to all aspects of the competition this year,” she said. “I am really proud to represent my country on home soil for the first time and I will definitely give it my all.  

“I’m also looking forward to meeting the visiting teams and spending time getting to know them and showing them some of what our beautiful island has to offer.” 

Millward and Serpell are the most established names within the squad, having numerous stellar performances over the years. Smith is donning Cayman colors for the second time, with her first appearance being in Barbados earlier this year for the competition’s first leg. Smith previously competed in equestrian events in Portugal with her horse Ed, before returning to Cayman for school at the beginning of the current academic year. 

Equestrian federation vice president Jessica McTaggart-Giuzio, one of Cayman’s most decorated riders, says their efforts have had corporate support. 

“We are really grateful to the Cayman Islands Sailing Club as one of their members has kindly agreed to host a boat trip for the teams,” McTaggart-Giuzio said. “We’ve also been overwhelmed by the support of the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee in our hosting of this international competition and our corporate sponsors. Maples are our headline gold sponsor, with Butterfield Bank, Cayman National Bank, Genesis Trust and Corporate Services Ltd and Stepping Stones coming alongside as our silver sponsors. 

“We really could not do this without them and the same goes for our tireless volunteers, who are coming out even on Mother’s Day to make this happen, so we owe a big thank you to all of them. We wish all the teams the best of luck for a safe competition.” 

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Local riders are enjoying corporate backing. From left, Milly Serpell of Stepping Stones, Jonathan Hawkes of Genesis Trust, Sharon Hinds, Thea Millward, Isabelle Smith, Hannah Fowler, Phoebe Serpell, Henry Smith of Maples and Calder and Shari Whittaker of Cayman National Bank.
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