Local show jumpers compete internationally

Megan Swartz managed two clear rounds at .85 m, riding Zeus.

Under sunny skies Sunday, Cayman’s equestrians rode for the chance to represent the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean Equestrian Association’s fourth annual Regional Jumping Challenge.

The Regional Jumping Challenge is a competition between the Cayman Islands and its English-speaking neighbors of Bermuda, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad. What is unique about the event is that the horses and athletes do not travel in order to compete. Instead, each participating country builds a show jumping course to the exact specifications prescribed by the CEA.

The competition is held at three heights: 0.7 meters, 0.85 meters and 1.0 meter. The equestrians ride the course twice, and their final placing is determined by the total faults received in the two rounds, with those receiving the least number of faults being ranking higher. Ties in faults received are broken, using the time taken in the second jumping round, with the fastest rider being placed higher.

The fastest round of the day was clocked by Olivia Ziemniak riding Amarilla – an impressive feat given the horse is 20 years old and blind in one eye – but they won with two clear rounds. It was clear to the audience in the stands that Amarilla was thrilled to be back in the jump arena with her favorite rider.

Megan Swartz also posted an impressive double clear round on Zeus at the .85 meter level, which is a very challenging height for such a small pony to manage.

The Regional Jumping Challenge is both a team and individual competition. While all riders in the Caribbean participating in the event are ranked against one another, each country’s top rider at each height form a team, and their total faults and times are added together to give a country’s team score. As a result, the final results and ranking of all participating individuals and countries will not be released until each country has held its leg of the competition, which will happen in December.

Olivia Ziemniak riding Amarilla set the fastest round of the day.

This event marks the end of Cayman’s show jumping season. The dressage season starts with the first of three national shows on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, at the Equestrian Center, located on Linford Pierson Highway. Spectators are welcome and admission is free.

For a calendar of future shows and past results, visit www.ciefcay.com and click on the events tab.