Bahamian collegiate rider Carisa Brogdon and the Roger Williams University Equestrian Team wrapped up the Fall season this past weekend at the University of Rhode Island Horse Show. Brogdon and the RWU Hawks compete in Zone 1, Region 1 of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), placing second overall for three consecutive shows.
The Hawks’ strong showing was powered in part by the performance of Brogdon, a sophomore at RWU. Although this is her first year competing since competitions last year were canceled due to Covid-19, Brogdon cemented her place on the team by competing in multiple classes and earning at least one first place in every show this semester.
Brogdon is the only sophomore on the RWU Equestrian team. Her multiple blue ribbons at the Limit and Novice levels mean that next season she will likely represent RWU in higher level divisions. In the meantime she will continue to train with her team until competitions resume.
Congratulations to the CEC Show Organizing Committee on successfully hosting the first Equitation/Jumper show of the year on November 13-14. Thanks to all riders, trainers, sponsors, volunteers and parents for their support and participation!
Congratulations to the Camperdown Equestrian Centre Sand Dollar Varsity Team (Hannah D’Aguilar, Alexis Osazuwa, Eve McLeod and Arielle Arthur) and the Mariposa Gold Drops Futures Team (Katarina Coello, Kaia Kull, Emma Johnston and Anouk Formige) who emerged as Champions in the first BIEL/IEA show hosted by the LCIS Dragons at Mariposa Stables on Saturday, October 30.
Competition was stiff, with the CEC Sand Dollar Varsity and CEC Blue Marlins Varsity teams finishing tied for first place! The tie breaker was decided by points awarded in the over fences classes.
Congratulations also to Kim Johnson and Frances Doyle, coaches of the winning teams.
The format of the show reflected BIEL’s new identity as a member region the US-based Interscholastic Equestrian League (IEA). As a result of this partnership riders will have the opportunity to compete in IEA competitions abroad and have access to multiple college recruiting and scholarship opportunities.
Special awards were also granted. Kathryn Goulandris won the Sportsmanship Award for her selfless attitude and outstanding contributions to her team and fellow riders during the show. Casino Royale was voted by the Judge as the Horse of the Show, being the horse who showed a willing attitude and kind disposition to every level of rider who drew him as a ride.
The show was judged by Mr. Woody Dykers of Georgia, USA. As a top-rated Judge with the United States Equestrian Federation, a Past President of the Georgia Hunter-Jumper Association, and a former equestrian coach of the University of Virginia with over 40 years of riding and coaching experience, Mr. Dykers was impressed with the performance of all the riders.
Final Varsity Team placings were: 1st place – CEC Sand Dollars; 2nd place – CEC Blue Marlins; 3rd place – Mariposa Monarchs. Final Futures Team placings were: 1st place – Mariposa Gold Drops; 2nd place – LCIS Dragons; 3rd place – Mariposa Swallowtails; 4th place – CEC Blue Marlins Futures. Complete team and individual point standings will be available on the IEA website within 14-21 days.
Riders returned to the ring on Sunday for an instructional clinic with Judge Dykers, who also took the time to answer questions from riders, coaches and parents about the keys to success in the show ring from a judge’s point of view. Students asked questions about show procedure and listened intently as the judge emphasized the importance of form, balance, and awareness.
The riders will have the opportunity to put into practice everything they learned when competition resumes in two weeks, this time at Camperdown Equestrian Centre’s Annual Horse Show which will take place on November 13-14.
The collegiate equestrian competition season is off to a promising start for Peyton Wong. The University of Tampa sophomore made her debut last weekend in the first show of the season for Zone 5, Region 5 of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA). Wong made an immediate impression on the judges, competing in four different classes in the Open Division and winning a ribbon in each against stiff competition.
The show took place over two days in Ocala, Florida, and featured hundreds of riders from eleven teams across the southeast, including the University of Florida, University of Central Florida, Savannah College of Art and Design, University of South Florida, Florida State University, and of course Wong’s University of Tampa team.
Wong rose to the challenge, placing 5th and 6th in her classes on Saturday, and then improving to place 2nd in the Open Varsity Under Saddle and 5th in the Open Varsity Over Fences on Sunday. She praised her teammates and the team coach, Karey McGee, as being “super supportive of each other”. Despite her strong showing Wong noted room for improvement. “Even though I didn’t place as well as I hoped I felt that I rode well and learned a lot,” she said. “The Open division is the highest division and is the hardest, so I have to continue to improve and get stronger as a rider.”
In IHSA competition the horses are furnished by the host colleges and are randomly assigned to riders by drawing lots. No schooling or preparation is permitted, a format designed to challenge the horsemanship of the athletes. This posed no challenges for Wong, who was captain of the Queens College Equestrian Team back home in Nassau and rode in Bahamas Interscholastic Equestrian League (BIEL) shows which follow a similar, horse-drawn, format.
“The Bahamas Interscholastic Equestrian League was founded for this very purpose,” noted Equestrian Bahamas President Cathy Ramsingh-Pierre, “to allow non-horse owners access to quality competition, and to prepare our riders for the collegiate riding format. Congratulations to Peyton! Her success speaks to her dedication and talent, but also to the value of BIEL as a development path for our school-age riders.”
The opening Bahamas Interscholastic Equestrian League competition of the 2021-2022 year will take place at Mariposa Farms on October 30, 2021. Spectators are welcome but Covid-19 protocols such as required masks and social distancing will be strictly enforced.
Last week marked an exciting milestone for Equestrian sport in The Bahamas, as 17-year-old Reine Pagliaro’s successful ride in the FEI World Endurance Championship for Young Riders and Juniors marked the first time ever that The Bahamas has competed in an Equestrian event at the World Championship level.
74 riders from 20 countries vied for top honours over a technically demanding 120km course which took riders through open fields, wooded sections, and hilly terrain in Ermelo, the Netherlands. The course was so demanding that over 45% of the competitors failed to finish. However, Pagliaro rode a strategic and determined race in partnership with her horse, the 11-year old grey Arabian gelding Beautiful Knightmare (affectionately known as Beau). The pair finished the course in 38th place, clocking a final time of 8:09:35 at an average speed of 14.706 km/hr.
Saeed Salem Almuhairi of the United Arab Emirates was the individual first place winner, followed by his teammate Abdulla Ali Alamri. Rut Badia Marfa of Spain finished in the bronze position The young athletes from France won the Team gold, Team Malaysia won the silver behind France, and Belgium earned the Team bronze.
Endurance, one of the fastest-growing equestrian sports, is best described as a marathon on horseback. Strategy, fitness, and a keen understanding of horse welfare are necessary for success over varying terrain and environmental conditions. A Junior World Championship level course is 120 km long, comprised of four loops of varying lengths with a mandatory veterinary checkpoint at the end of each loop. “Welfare of the horse is paramount,” explained Mr. Eric Lamsma, organizer of the event.
So when Pagliaro crossed the finish line after over eight hours of riding, her first thought was for her horse. The priority was to ensure that his hydration and metabolic levels were good and that he was not injured or lame in any way. Once the final vet check had been cleared, it was official, and the Bahamas flag was on the board at the FEI Junior World Championships!
“The feeling is absolutely indescribable,” exclaimed a jubilant Pagliaro, acknowledging that her World Championship performance was the culmination of “years of hopes, dreams and ambitions”. She was quick to praise her equine partner, calling him her “true champion”. “No matter what the day brought, he went the extra mile and gave the extra push,” she said. “For this, I am truly thankful.”
Pagliaro was also full of praise for her support team: her coach, Mary Kathryn Clark; the team veterinarian, Dr. Carter Hounsel, DVM; the ground team who met her and Beau at each stop with water jugs, hugs and support, and above all the Chef d’ Equipe, Peggy Clark, whom she called “the backbone and brains behind the whole experience.”
Trainer Mary Kathryn Clark was equally as ebullient at the finish, heaping praise on Reine, on Beau, and the entire team. “Today was a day of many firsts…first world championships for this talented rider, first world championships for her trusted mount, first world championships for an amazing federation back in The Bahamas…I’m honored to have been part of such an amazing and fun team.”
Despite the time difference with the Netherlands, Federation officials back at home watched the leaderboard intently as the race progressed, cheering when Reine finally crossed the finish line. “We are tremendously proud of Reine and Beau,” said Equestrian Federation President Cathy Ramsingh-Pierre. “Their performance has brought the international presence of Bahamas Equestrian to a whole new level. We congratulate Mary Kathryn and Peggy Clark on the expert training and superb conditioning regimen that allowed Reine and Beau to successfully finish a course that defeated so many other worthy competitors. We extend our thanks to Dr. Hounsel and the entire ground team for their support. This is a wonderful way to begin a new season!”
Equestrian competition has been on hiatus since March 2020 locally due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Plans for the new show season are underway, with the first show scheduled to take place in October.