Cayman’s equestrians meet the international challenge

Kayla Mannisto won two classes on Pony Up and was also named Junior High Point Champion. (Photos by Joanna Humphries)

by Eve van den Bol

This past weekend, the Cayman leg of the annual international equestrian competition among the Caribbean Islands of Antigua, Bermuda, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and the Cayman Islands took place at The Equestrian Center located on the Linford Pierson Highway.

The Caribbean Dressage Challenge, an event organised by the Caribbean Equestrian Association (CEA) and run locally by the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation (CIEF), enables riders from CEA 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.

Brenda Minor, a Canadian FEI 4* judge, returned to score the event for the second year in a row. With the FEI 4* designation, Ms. Minor 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 all of North America.

“Part of our sport development efforts include bringing in internationally recognised judges to the Cayman Islands for our shows, especially as we are preparing our elite athletes to compete at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, FL in 2020 and 2021 and the CAC Games in 2022,” explained Tanya Ziemniak, Chairperson of the CIEFs Horse Show Committee.

Riders competing in the CEA 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 islands in the CEA to hold their 2019 Dressage Challenge.

Once all of the countries in the CEA have completed their competitions, the final standing for Cayman’s riders individually and for the Cayman national team will be known. Last year, the Cayman Children’s Team placed 3rd overall in the Caribbean, while the Cayman Adult Team placed 4th.

Based upon this weekend’s results, the CIEF 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.

Jessica McTaggart receiving the Adult High Point award from judge, Brenda Minor

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, of the CEA Dressage Challenge. Kayla and Pony Up were also named Children’s High Point Champion at the CIEF’s last dressage show in February. In addition to holding the CEA Dressage Challenge, the CIEF held other dressage classes for interested riders.

Winners of each of the classes held this past weekend are listed below in order of most difficult to least difficult test ridden. Dressage Challenge classes are noted with the words CEA.

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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