After a rough period, Equestrian Bahamas (EB) finally got a stamp of approval from its international body, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), at the 2019 FEI General Assembly in Moscow, Russia, from November 16-19, 2019.
Eight young riders made their way into Bahamian sports history last week by participating in the Selection Trials Competition held by Equestrian Bahamas at Mariposa Riding Club. The riders competed for the chance to represent The Bahamas at the first ever IEA International Invitational competition, to be hosted by the U.S.-based Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) in Conyers, Georgia, in February 2020.
Last week’s competition was historic in several respects. For the first time in over 30 years The Bahamas held a qualifying event for an international equestrian competition. It also marked the first time that riders from outside the United States have been invited to compete in an IEA competition. Now in its 18th year, the IEA has over 14,000 members across the United States riding and coaching Hunt Seat, Western and Dressage disciplines. On hand to observe the proceedings were IEA Founder Roxane Durant, and Simon Towns, IEA Zone Captain and Zone 4 Administrator.
The eight riders competing for the honour to represent The Bahamas were Nicholas Astwood, Hannah D’Aguilar, Taylor Haines, Alexis Neymour, Elle O’Brien, Mila Sands, Maya Tilberg and Peyton Wong.
The competition was held in a three-phase format, two rounds of jumping over fences and one round where the riders’ positions and techniques were tested ‘on the flat’. The Judge was Linda Mancini, a USEF R-rated Judge from Warwick, New York. Riders rode a different, randomly selected horse in each phase of the competition and was awarded a score from 0 to 100. When the cumulative totals of each rider’s three scores were announced, the five finalists were Mila Sands, Elle O’Brien, Nicholas Astwood, Maya Tilberg and Peyton Wong.
Equestrian Bahamas President Cathy Ramsingh-Pierre thanked the IEA representatives who were on hand for the event. “Their presence was an inspiration for our riders, who performed at a very high standard under great pressure.” she said. “Accolades are due to all eight riders, and particularly the five Finalists who made the team and will represent us in Georgia in 2020. Congratulations also to our coaches Erika Adderley and Kimberly Johnson for the wonderful job they are doing.”
Simon Towns, Administrator of IEA Zone 4 which will host the IEA International Invitational, complimented the Bahamian riders and coaches, saying, “The support and friendship shared by all was palpably evident…I am thrilled to host the first international show event between our two organizations, and look forward to a bright future for our young equestrians.”
Seven teams competed in the second show of this year’s Bahamas Interschool Equestrian League (BIEL) series, with the Windsor School Team emerging as victors for the first time since last year October.
The competition was held at Mariposa Stables and was judged by USEF R-rated judge Linda Mancini of Warwick, New York. At the end of an exciting day riders and coaches settled down to listen as Judge Mancini gave a clinic aimed at improving rider performance. Referring to her notes and even to specific riders and horses, Mancini reminded the competitors of the importance of mental preparation and gave tips on how to catch (and keep) the judge’s attention in a crowded field of competitors. She reviewed scoring rules and emphasized the importance of focusing on the details.
After the judge’s clinic it was time for the presentation of awards! The results were as follows:
1st place – Windsor School
2nd place – Lyford Cay International School
3rd place – Queens College
4th place – St. Augustine’s College
5th place – St. Andrew’s School Team A
6th place – Tambearly School
7th place – St. Andrew’s School Team B
The Bahamas Interschool Equestrian League was founded by Equestrian Bahamas to make Equestrian sport accessible to all young Bahamians by offering competition opportunities in a collegiate format at no cost to riders. The League is now in its third year and continues to grow. Derron Donaldson, Secretary-General of the Bahamas Olympic Committee, and Dorian Roach, Vice-President of the Bahamas Olympic Committee, were on hand to present awards to the successful teams.
Spectators at the Mariposa Holiday Horse Show last Saturday got a special treat when Judge Linda Mancini stepped down from the judge’s booth to present awards to riders who placed as Finalists in the 2019 Princeton Equestrian League. Finalists were awarded certificates and rosettes as well as prizes bearing the Princeton Equestrian League logo.
The Princeton Equestrian League is dedicated to providing high quality competitions for Hunter, Jumper and Equitation riders. The league provides an opportunity for members to compete throughout the year and qualify for the prestigious Princeton Equestrian League National Finals at Princeton Show Jumping in Skillman, New Jersey.
“Equestrian Bahamas is proud to partner with the Princeton Equestrian League,” said Federation President Cathy Ramsingh-Pierre. “Our members who joined the PEL had the opportunity to rank their performance at our shows head to head with riders in shows from all over the United States. Their success is proof of the quality of riding here in the country.”
The Finalists were as follows:
- Sara Gottberg- Champion (Children’s Equitation 3’)
- Sienna Tinker – 3rd place (Cross Rails Equitation)
- Riley Harper and Camperdown Equestrian Centre’s Trade Secret – 4th place (Leapfrog Jumpers)
- Hannah D’Aguilar and Camperdown Equestrian Centre’s Trade Secret – 4th place (Itty Bitty Jumpers)
- Elle O’Brien/ Lila Cafferata – 5th place tie (Children’s/Adult Medal 2’6”)
- Lila Cafferata and Erika Adderley’s Casino Royale – 5th place (Pre-Children’s Jumper) Emma Johnston – 6th place (Mini-Stirrup Equitation)
- Elle O’Brien and Erika Adderley’s Valhalla – 7th place (Pre-Children’s Jumper)
- Sienna Tinker and Camperdown Equestrian Centre’s Kokopelli’s Dance – 8th place (Cross Rails Hunter)
The Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) along with Bahamas Interschool Equestrian League (BIEL)-a division of Equestrian Bahamas will hold a Hunt Seat Invitational and Selection Trials on Sunday, December 8th at Mariposa Stables in Nassau, Bahamas. In addition to conducting regular rated horse shows, Equestrian Bahamas, a recently ratified member of Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI), is in their 3rd year of developing BIEL – a team-oriented riding program using a draw-based competition format similar to IEA.
The competition on December 8th will be judged by ‘R’- rated Hunter/Jumper judge, Linda Mancini of Warwick, New York and will serve as the Selection Trials for five riders who will advance to the first ever IEA International Invitational in Conyers, Georgia on February 15, 2020. These top five riders from grades 9-12 at the Selection Trials will represent the Bahamas as an upper school team in both fences and flat classes. The International Invitational will be held in conjunction with the IEA Zone 4/Region 1 Finals at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers.
President of Equestrian Bahamas, Catherine Ramsingh-Pierre, whose son is an alumni of IEA and rode on the Carriage Hill Farms IEA Team, contacted IEA Co-founder and Executive Director, Roxane Durant over a year- ago to discuss ideas on collaboration between the two organizations. Durant, along with IEA Zone Captain and Zone 4 Administrator, Simon Towns, will travel to Nassau this weekend to help conduct the Selection Trials and to learn more about the unique BIEL program.
“We are thrilled to be able to have this opportunity to expand outside of our U.S. boundaries and to witness the enthusiasm and talent of these young riders in the Bahamas,” stated Durant. “IEA has always been open to the idea of expanding our programs to include other countries and we look forward to hosting BIEL riders in February.”
“Equestrian Bahamas is excited that our high school equestrian athletes have been granted this tremendous opportunity to compete in the IEA International Invitational. As Bahamians we consider it an honor to be the first country outside the U.S. to be invited to participate in IEA competition,” stated Ramsingh-Pierre. “We look forward to welcoming our guests at the selection trials this coming weekend. Hopefully this is just the first step in a long-lived partnership!”
ABOUT INTERSCHOLASTIC EQUESTRIAN ASSOCIATION (IEA)
Now in its 18th year, the IEA has over 14,000 members across the United States riding and coaching Hunt Seat, Western and Dressage disciplines. The non-profit (501(c)3) IEA was organized to promote and improve the quality of equestrian competition and instruction available to middle and secondary school students and is open to public and private schools and barn teams. There is no need for a rider to own a horse because the IEA supplies a mount and tack to each equestrian for competitions. Its purpose is to set minimum standards for competition, provide information concerning the creation and development of school associated equestrian sport programs, to generally promote the common interests of safe riding instruction and competition and education on matters related to equestrian competition at the middle and secondary school levels. For more information, please visit rideiea.org.
It is with great pride and pleasure that Equestrian Bahamas announces that we have been ratified by the FEI General Assembly in Moscow, Russia, as the official National Federation for Equestrian Sport in all International and Olympic competition. This ratification comes as the culmination of six years of dedicated work by many. The Board of Directors wishes to thank all officials, riders, parents and other supporters who helped to make this possible. In particular we wish to extend thanks to the Bahamas Olympic Committee for their unflagging support in our efforts to promote equestrian sport in The Bahamas.
The second horse show of the Equestrian Bahamas 2019-2020 season took place last weekend at Camperdown Equestrian Centre. The show was judged by USEF ‘R’-rated judge Mr. Scott Hofstetter of Ocala, FL. Saturday’s events included equitation classes at all levels (which continued into Sunday due to rain stoppage!) and featured great rides by Mila Sands and Sara Gottberg who were Champions in the Children’s and 15-17 Equitation Divisions respectively, as well as Alexis Neymour who won the Marshall and Sterling Children’s Medal and Elle O’Brien who placed first in the Bahamas Junior Classic Qualifier.
Sunday’s competition featured the first show of this year’s Bahamas Interschool Equestrian League (BIEL) series. BIEL continues to grow and and Sunday’s event was the largest in the three-year history of the series, with seven teams competing for the first time.
First place went to the Lyford Cay International School team, with Windsor School beating Queen’s College for second place by just one point. St. Augustine’s riders posted an impressive fourth place despite a team of just two riders, while Tambearly School and St. Andrew’s School placed 5th and 6th.
The next BIEL competition will be at the Annual Mariposa Holiday Jumper Show, on December 7-8, 2019.