Cayman hopes to leap over Trinidad

Based on their performances so far, local riders are set for more success in Trinidad.

The Cayman Islands is one of four countries preparing for the third leg of the Caribbean Equestrian Federation’s Junior Show Jumping Competition. Trinidad, competing along with Tobago, will serve as host in September with Cayman in joint first place with Barbados so far. Jamaica, the other country involved, will host the fourth and final leg of the series in November.

Cayman is coming off a successful staging of the tournament’s second leg back in May. The Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation would host the Caribbean’s best youth show jumpers with Cayman being represented by Isabelle Smith in the Under-16 category and Hannah Fowler in the Under-14 category. This was Fowler’s first time riding for her country after winning a spot during team trials earlier this season.

The first day of competition saw all riders in the Under-16 category go clear with Cayman’s Smith posting the fastest time. Fowler got off to a shaky start posting eight faults, leaving Hannah Deleon of Jamaica out front. In round two, Deleon was the only Under-14 rider to post faults, collecting eight in the field, with her competitors all posting clear rounds. The Under-16s remained pretty tight with only Amber Thompson of Jamaica collecting four faults in her round.

By day’s end, the teams were pretty well bunched together with Barbados out front with four faults and Jamaica and Cayman in joint second on eight faults with Trinidad bringing up the rear with 13 faults. On day two, Fowler went clear while the others picked up faults – Jamaica had 11, Trinidad 15 and Barbados a costly 17 – to thrust Cayman into the lead going into the final round. All four riders in the Under-16 category posted clear rounds.

In the finals, Barbados and Cayman collected time faults but Cayman’s lead by this time was so well established that they clinched the title nevertheless. A delighted Fowler and Smith took Cayman to first place with a total of 13 faults, with Jamaica in second on 19 faults, Barbados in third on 23 faults, and Trinidad and Tobago in fourth on 28 faults.

In the individual competitions, Fowler placed first in the Under-14s and Smith placed second in the Under-16s, which was a tough category with three of the four riders finishing on four faults and Smith missing out on the top spot by less than three seconds.

Jenna Boucher, who had kindly loaned her horse Katrina to the competition, was awarded a “Clear Round Horse” award as Katrina was only the only horse to go clear all four rounds.

Cayman’s success comes after a solid start at the competition’s first leg in Barbados. Isabelle Smith and Madeleine Aquart, both newcomers, guided Cayman to third back in January.

The federation, according to president Sharon Hinds, was delighted to partner with a number of sponsors for 2014, both new and old: Maples and Calder, Deutsche Bank, Butterfield Bank, Cayman National Bank, Genesis Trust, Corporate Services Ltd., Stepping Stones and a host of others.

“We were so pleased that so many corporate sponsors came on board this year to sponsor this event,” Hinds said. “We were not only able to fund the costs of the competition with their donations but we were also able to build a fabulous jump course with nearly every jump sponsored by a company and sporting their company logo. We are also very grateful for the support of the CI Olympic Committee this season and wanted to honour that support with an ‘Olympic’ jump built for them.

“These events are products of so many people and parts and we are grateful to all our sponsors, parents, volunteers, host families and coaches who made this event such a successful one.”

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