From left, Chloe Fowler, coach Jessica Thaxton and Ashley van den Bol

The Cayman Islands equestrian team of Chloe Fowler and Ashley van den Bol brought home Reserve Champion trophies after a tie-breaker with Bermuda at the recent Caribbean Junior Jumping Competition sponsored by the Pan American Equestrian Confederation.

The competition, held at the Savannah (Georgia) College of Art and Design, included six Caribbean nations and the U.S. over three days last weekend. Participants rode horses loaned by SCAD’s equestrian program.

The first day, each participant rode two different horses in a clinic with SCAD head coach, Ashley Henry, who is originally from the Bahamas. The second and third days were devoted to the competition, for which each rider was paired with a new horse to get to know for just five minutes of warm-up and four jumping efforts before entering the arena, a press release states.

The competition was designed with an initial round followed by a jump-off for those who garnered no faults. Placings were determined by referencing the time taken to complete the course in the jump-off to the optimal time, defined as four seconds faster than the time allowed, with those closest to the optimal time placing higher.

Van den Bol won the competition on the first day on the horse E.J., with a time less than 2/10ths of a second off the optimal time. It was a tight contest, with less than 2/10ths of a second separating the first four finishers. Fowler, riding Peia, finished seventh despite having a double clear and being just two seconds off the optimal time.

Ashley van den Bol

On the second day, Fowler finished fourth on a horse named Sociable. Van den Bol, riding Bentley, knocked a rail midway through the first round and ended up ninth out of 14 riders.

When the points earned by each country’s two riders for each of their two rounds were added up to determine the rankings, the Cayman Islands was tied for the lead with Bermuda with 40 points each. The total faults earned over the four rounds were used to break the tie, and that put Bermuda on top with zero faults to Cayman’s four, leaving the Cayman team with the Reserve Champion trophies. Trinidad and Tobago placed third with 35 points, followed by Barbados with 33 points, the U.S. with 26 points, Antigua/USA with 25 points and Jamaica with 11 points.

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