Cayman equestrians rise to meet dressage challenge

Leah Alberga on her pony Moon Lady won at Training Level Test 1.

Last weekend saw the Cayman leg of the annual international equestrian competition between the Caribbean Islands of Antigua, Bermuda, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and the Cayman Islands take place at The Equestrian Center, located on the Linford Pierson Highway.

The Caribbean Dressage Challenge, an event organised by the Caribbean Equestrian Association and run locally by the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation, enables riders from member countries to compete against each other without having to travel with their horse. Instead, the judge travels from island to island, scoring each competitor’s ride at an officially organised horse show in each country.

Canadian judge Brenda Minor returned to score the event for the second year in a row. She is qualified to judge all international competitions other than the Olympics and world championships, and as such is one of the highest level of judges in North America.

Riders competing in the Dressage Challenge are ranked both individually and by country team. The country team consists of the top three adult and top three child riders, based upon the difficulty of the test they ride and the scores they receive.

Barbados and the Cayman Islands are the first of the six countries in the Caribbean Equestrian Association to hold their 2019 Dressage Challenge. Once all of the competing countries have completed their competitions, the final standing for Cayman’s riders individually and for the Cayman national team will be known.

Kayla Mannisto won two classes on Pony Up, and was also named Junior High Point Champion.

Last year, the Cayman children’s team placed third overall in the Caribbean, while the Cayman adult team placed fourth.

Based upon the weekend’s results, the Equestrian Federation has determined the Cayman Team for this year’s Challenge.

Representing the adult team are Jessica McTaggart, Gina Lomas and Cathy Osborne. Kayla Mannisto, Abbey Swartz and Leah Alberga round out the children’s team.

For the second year in a row, Kayla Mannisto, riding Pony Up and Jessica McTaggart riding Jolly Rancher were named Children’s and Adult High Point Champions, respectively.

Jessica McTaggart, right, receives the Adult High Point award from judge Brenda Minor.

Winners of each class

  • FEI Prix St. Georges (CEA); Jessica McTaggart-Giuzio riding Loris 7
  • First Level Test 3 – Adult (CEA); Jessica McTaggart riding Blue Ridge Dream On
  • First Level Test 3 – Child (CEA); Kayla Mannisto riding Pony Up
  • First Level Test 1 – Adult; Cathy Osborne riding Joey
  • Training Level Test 3 – Adult (CEA); Jessica McTaggart riding Jolly Rancher
  • Training Level Test 3 – Child (CEA); Kayla Mannisto riding Pony Up
  • Training Level Test 1 – Child; Leah Alberga riding Moon Lady
  • Introductory Test C – Child; Olivia Ziemniak riding Zeus
  • Introductory Test C – Adult; Tami Maines riding Partenon
  • Introductory Test B – Child; Rosana Stroh riding Me and My Shadow
  • Introductory Test B – Adult; Tami Maines riding Partenon

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