The Kingston Polo Club and Equestrian Centre in Kingston, Jamaica played host to the final round of the Caribbean Equestrian Association’s Junior Show Jumping Competition.
Eight riders from Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and hosts Jamaica met in a tightly contested final last weekend to decide who would be champions for 2014. Going into the final round, Cayman was joint first with Jamaica, with Barbados and Trinidad in joint third.
Phoebe Serpell represented Cayman in the Under-16 category and Chloe Fowler was the Under-14 team representative. Jamaica provided eight horses and each rider had to ride each of the four horses in their category over a show jumping course. The four rides required of each rider were split over two days of competition.
Borrowed horse competitions are always challenging for riders but give competitors invaluable experience. In a borrowed horse competition such as this, the advantage will always be with the home team, whose riders know the horses and how best to handle them. It should be noted that each team gets the opportunity to host one round during the year’s competition and thus takes turns having that advantage.
On the first day of competition, Serpell picked up eight faults in the first round and went clear in the second round. Her teammate, Fowler, fell from a challenging horse in her first round. Although unhurt, Fowler’s fall resulted in an elimination attracting 25 faults. In her second round, Fowler had a clear round.
On the second day, Fowler was first to go and had a run out and two time faults in her first round, resulting in a total of six faults. Her second round was clear. Serpell had a challenging horse in her first round who refused the fences twice, resulting in an elimination for Serpell attracting 25 faults. In her second round, she also went clear.
Jamaica led throughout the competition and when the points were totaled for round four of the competition, Jamaica was first, Barbados came in second with Trinidad third and Cayman in fourth place. Serpell placed fourth in the U16 category and Fowler placed third in the U14 segment.
The tallies for the end of the year were then made and Jamaica was declared the overall winners for 2014, with Cayman and Barbados in joint second and Trinidad coming in fourth.
Over the course of the year, this result has been a team effort and the Cayman team has been represented by five young women. In the U16 ranks, Cayman was represented by Isabelle Smith and Phoebe Serpell and the U14 category featured Madeleine Aquart, Hannah Fowler and sister Chloe Fowler. Thea Millward was a team reserve.
Mary Alberga, Cayman’s national coach, accompanied the girls to Jamaica and said it was a good performance.
“Both Phoebe and Chloe are at the youngest end of the age bracket in the categories in which they are competing,” Alberga said. “As such, they both did well and I think they learned a lot. This kind of competition is great experience and we look forward to seeing these two talents grow in the competition in 2015. I am pleased that a number of different riders were able to represent Cayman this year and all five girls in the team during the year contributed to this win. It’s a good result, yet gives us something to work on for next year when we hope to retake the title.”
Local show jumping continues as the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation is putting on a show on Nov. 23 from 8 a.m. at the Cayman Islands Equestrian Centre off Linford Pierson Highway. Riders will be competing in the first of four legs of the National Jumping Championship, with jumping courses ranging from 0.6 meters to 1.2m high. Entry is free and refreshments are available for purchase.