Two of Cayman’s top youth show jumpers competing for a place on the Cayman Islands team headed to Jamaica this month for the final round of the 2014 Caribbean Equestrian Association’s Junior Show Jumping Competition.
Phoebe Serpell, 14, and Isabelle Smith, 15, both put themselves forward to try for the place in the Under-16 category. In this category, riders are required to jump 1-meter height courses overseas on borrowed horses. Serpell has elected to compete in this higher height category, even though she is still eligible to compete in the Under-14 category at lower heights.
The selection process established by the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation to select the team member involves both riders riding two jump courses of 1m fence heights; one course on their own horse, and the second course on each other’s horse. The idea being that this assesses, to the extent possible, riders’ competence in a borrowed horse situation.
Over the course of the two rounds, Smith knocked one fence down, resulting in four faults. Serpell rode both rounds clear, giving her the win over Smith and the U16 place on the Cayman team for the Jamaica leg. Serpell will be joined by Chloe Fowler as the U14 team member. Fowler put herself forward for selection and was uncontested for the place.
Both girls will head to the final round with Cayman currently lying joint first with Jamaica. The Jamaicans will have the home advantage in this title-deciding competition. Mary Alberga of the Cayman islands Equestrian Centre will accompany the team as the national coach.
The federation’s next competition in Cayman is this Sunday, Nov. 16, and is the first of the national dressage shows for the 2014/15 season. Experienced dressage coach and judge Cindy Thaxton of High Point Farm, Georgia, has long supported Cayman’s dressage riders and will be coming to the island to judge the competition and offer clinics to riders to improve their performance.
The competition will be held in two venues for the first time, in order to maximize the number of entries and to make the competition available to as many riders as possible. The first half of the competition will take place on Sunday at the equestrian centre, off the Linford Pierson Highway in George Town, from 8 a.m. until noon and the second half of the competition will take place at Cayman Riding School on Hirst Road in Savannah from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Awards for the entire day will be presented at Cayman Riding School at 6 p.m. Both sections of the competition are free entry for the public and support is welcome. Refreshments can be purchased on site.