Young equestrians compete in US

Megan Swartz (l) and Kayla Mannisto (r) holding the Cayman Flag at CADI.

Caymanian equestrians, Kayla Mannisto and Megan Swartz attended the Children of the Americas Dressage Invitational (CADI) which was held recently at Faith Hill Farm located just outside of Providence, Rhode Island.

CADI is an annual dressage event for youth aged 12 to 14 from the Americas. Participants must meet certain qualifications and be nominated by their national equestrian federation, which in Cayman is the CIEF – the Cayman Island Equestrian Federation.

In addition to the two Cayman riders, the other 14 participants at CADI this year hail from Bermuda, Barbados, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti and the United States. The four-day event consists of training exercises, lectures and demonstrations, as well as a competition on borrowed horses. This year, lecture topics included Sport Horse Nutrition, Saddle Fitting and Equine Massage.

Megan Swartz practicing her Freestyle at CADI

For the competition, the children had two days to practice and get to know the horse to which they were assigned. The remaining two days were spent competing in two phases: First was the FEI Children’s Preliminary Test A and the second was a Freestyle test designed by the rider and set to music of their choosing. Mannisto and Swartz placed 6th and 8th respectively.

According to Mannisto, in addition to getting to know her mount in a short period of time, creating her own Freestyle test, and then putting it to music, was one of the most fun, yet challenging parts of the event. Swartz said the highlight for her was making new friends from the USA, Central America and the Caribbean.

Kayla Mannisto on her borrowed horse at CADI

Many of the CADI participants went on to compete for Faith Hill Farm at the 2019 Youth Dressage Festival, a competition open to equestrians up to the age of 21, that is held at the HITS showground in Saugerties, NY. Given the enthusiasm generated locally by this year’s CADI experience, the CIEF is committed to sending a full squad of young Caymanian equestrians to both CADI and the Youth Dressage Festival in 2020.

The CIEF is a registered non-profit founded in 1997 to serve as the national governing body for equestrian sport in the Cayman Islands. It hosts seven horse shows locally each year and supports Cayman’s elite equestrian athletes who compete at the international level overseas.

The first CIEF horse show of the 2019-20 season is the National Jumping Series #1 which will take place on 13 October at 8:00am at the Equestrian Center located on the Linford Pierson Highway. Spectators are welcome and admission is free.

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