Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation riders traveled to the U.S. to participate in the Children of the Americas Dressage Invitational 2014 recently.
Hannah Fowler was one of them, having won her spot on the Cayman delegation to be sent to CADI earlier in the year at the Federation Equestre Internationale’s World Dressage Challenge held in Cayman in March. The athletes had to ride two dressage tests: the FEI children’s preliminary, which consists of specific elements in a predetermined order and the freestyle test, which is set to music and designed by the rider, the only requirement being the specific elements that must be performed.
CADI is run by Jane Karol, a U.S. Dressage Federation gold medalist, at her Bear Spot Farm in Concord, Massachusetts.
CADI is a fundraising benefit for the Bear Spot Foundation, which supports equine assisted psychotherapy programs.
The competition is divided into two divisions; one for riders on their own horses and the other for those on borrowed horses.
Participants this year came from Puerto Rico, Barbados, Guatemala, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago as well as the Cayman Islands.
The event is not all about winning the coveted first place ribbon, but about the whole experience of caring for the horse, operating in a team, fostering international friendships and interacting in a sportsmanlike way with the other competitors during throughout the event.
The first day of competition was the prescribed FEI Preliminary Test.
Hannah Fowler, coached by Dutch coach Gerrit-Claes Bierenbroodspot, was the first competitor of the competition to go and posted a score of 69 percent on her mount, a 16.2-hand Dutch Warmblood named Saffron.
Fowler’s score led the borrowed horse division for the day and after the last score was posted, she remained in pole position.
“I was delighted with this win,” said Cayman-born Fowler. “I trained really hard all summer so it was a great feeling to stand on top of the podium while they played the Cayman National Anthem.
“I was so pleased for myself, coach Claes and my Cayman coach, and so proud to bring this win home to Cayman.”
On the second day, it was the freestyle tests.
This time Fowler was almost the last rider to go and was chasing high scores posted by Puerto Rico and Trinidad.
Her freestyle music was a compilation of modern music played by military bands and whilst she had been anxious about fitting the music to her drawn horse, she executed the test extremely well and came in second, posting a score of 75.95 percent.
Fowler was delighted to be awarded Reserve Champion overall.
President of the CIEF, Sharon Hinds, said, “We are delighted that Hannah went to CADI to represent Cayman and did so well. This federation has a recent history of performing well in this competition overseas and we are extremely pleased that a new rider has had the chance to experience this competition.”