Local show jumpers compete internationally

Olivia Ziemniak riding Amarilla (Story and images by Eve van den Bol)

Under bright sunny skies this past Sunday,25 November, Cayman’s equestrians rode for the chance to represent the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean Equestrian Association’s (CEA), 4th Annual Regional Jumping Challenge.

Organised by the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation (CIEF) under the rules of the CEA, the Regional Jumping Challenge is a competition between the Cayman Islands and its English-speaking neighbours of Bermuda, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad. What is unique about this event is that the horses and athletes do not travel in order to compete. Instead, each participating country builds the show jumping course to the exact specifications set by the CEA.

The competition is held at three heights: 0.7 meters, 0.85 meters and 1.0 meter. 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 ranking higher. Ties in faults received are broken using the time taken in the second jumping round, with the fastest rider being placed higher.

Megan Swartz riding Zeus

The fastest round of the day was clocked by Olivia Ziemniak riding Amarilla, which was an incredible feat given the horse is 20 years old and blind in one eye, but they won with two clear rounds by taking all the inside turns and executing flying lead changes to save time. It was clear to the audience in the stands that ‘Ami’, as she is affectionately known around the barn, 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 Cayman-bred pony to manage.

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, each country’s top athlete at each height form a team, and their total faults and times are added together to form a country’s team score. As a result, the final results and ranking of all participating individuals and countries won’t be released until each country has held its leg of the competition, which will happen in December.

Gina Lomas Riding Sunday’s Edition


Winners of each height (who also make up the Cayman Islands team) were:

1.0 Meters Gina Lomas riding Sunday’s Edition

.85 Meters Megan Swartz riding Zeus

.70 Meters Olivia Ziemniak riding Amarilla


The CEA Regional Jumping Challenge marks the end of the CIEF’s show jumping season. The dressage season starts up with the first of three National Dressage Shows at 8:00am on Sunday, 3 February at the Equestrian Center located on Linford Pierson Highway. Spectators are welcome and admission is free.

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