The Cayman Islands placed 2nd overall in the third annual Caribbean Equestrian Association’s Regional Jumping Challenge Sunday 26 November at the Equestrian Center in George Town. Cayman finished with a total scored of 369.70 with 20 faults, just behind winner Bermuda who scored 315.66 and 0 faults, while Barbados placed third with 24 faults and a score of 310.37. Organized by the CIEF under the rules of the CEA, the Regional Jumping Challenge is a competition between the Cayman Islands and its English-speaking neighbors of Bermuda, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Senior rider Jessica McTaggart-Giuzio says team Cayman performed with confidence.
“We’ve had a great morning, riders are riding really well. They’re going for the jumps, they’re excited to be here. I’m thrilled with the overall competition today.”
Each participating country builds the show jumping course to the designed specifications of the CEA. The competition is held at three heights: 0.7 meters, 0.85 meters and 1.0 meters. Athletes 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 ranked higher. Ties in faults received are broken using the time taken in the second round, with the fastest rider being placed higher. The CEA 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, the top two riders from each country at each height form a team, and their total faults and times are added together to form a team score. Veteran rider Chloe Fowler says the structure of the event gives riders some added intrigue.
“It’s definitely interesting to see where you place on the grand scheme of things, there are lots of riders that compete so it’s definitely tough.”
In addition, two of Cayman’s riders returned home to compete in the event. Ashley van den Bol, 16, who attends boarding school and rides competitively in the United States, clinched top spot in the 1 meter class with just 4 faults riding Whindlass. Jodie McTaggart, who had not competed in show jumping for a number of years, wowed the crowd with a blisteringly fast double clear on her new horse Nala in the 85 cm class. Afterwards, McTaggart said she was happy with her performance.
“The keys for me we’re just trying to just keep a steady pace. Often Nala can get a little ahead of herself and rush the fences and that causes you to get complacent and knock some fences down. So really just trying to keep her at a nice steady pace.”
The team of Megan Swartz and Charli Milgate at 70cm both had double clear rounds and excellent times, placing them 2nd at the 70 cm level in the region. The team of Jodie McTaggart and Abbey Swartz placed 4th overall, while the team of Ashley van den Bol and Jessica McTaggart-Giuzio placed 3rd in the region. Based on their combined scores,all six riders led Cayman to a second place finish overall for the event.
Results of the Cayman Islands leg of the RJC follow:
70cm Team First Place – Megan Swartz riding Zeus
(2nd in the Caribbean) Second Place – Charlie Milgate riding Fly By Me
85cm Team First Place – Jodie McTaggart riding Nala
(4th in the Caribbean) Second Place – Abbey Swartz riding Blue Ridge Dream On
1.0 meter Team First Place – Ashley van den Bol riding Whindlass
(3rd in the Caribbean) Second Place – Jessica McTaggart-Giuzio riding Sunday’s Edition
The next show jumping event will be the second leg of the CIEF’s four-part National Jumping Series, taking place 28 January at the Equestrian Center starting at 8:00 am.