Bahamian Equestrians Shine in Grand Caraibe Debut

Equestrian athletes Katerina Coello and Sienna Tinker made the most of The Bahamas’ first-ever invitation to the Grand Caraibe Equestrian Competition Tour, using the golden opportunity to showcase their talents and the quality of Bahamian equestrian sport.

The Grand Caraibe Tour is a prestigious, internationally renowned show jumping event highlighting exceptional equestrian talent amongst the southern Caribbean nations of Suriname, French Guyana, Martinique and Guadeloupe. In recent years the competition has begun to involve other nations in the region as the organizers recognize the potential to offer a unique platform to foster inter-Caribbean exchanges.

Top junior riders Katerina Coello and Sienna Tinker did the honours for The Bahamas in our debut, competing as Individuals in the Espoir (1.0m) category in the Martinique Leg of the Tour, which took place at the EquiLibre facility in Le François, Martinique. 100 athletes from 8 nations (Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Bermuda, French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Martinique and Suriname) competed at three levels (Espoir, Elite and Grand Prix) on Martinique-based horses dedicated especially for the competition.

Coello, riding Kenybest, and Tinker on Valentino des Graves rode superbly throughout the two-day competition, making easy work of French Course Designer Joseph Martin’s initial track of 12 obstacles and a 6-obstacle jump-off. On Saturday Tinker (Valentino des Graves) and Coello (Kenybest) placed 6th and 11th respectively out of 43; on Sunday, Coello and Kenybest made the jump-off and finished 13th. Tinker and Valentino had a strong round but finished with four faults, dropping them out of the ribbons.

The athletes rode under the guidance of the Bermudian Grand Prix rider Raishun Burch and Level 3 FEI Official Heidi Mello, who most recently served as Chef d’Equipe for Bahamian rider Millie Vlasov at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games. Equestrian Bahamas Federation President Cathy Ramsingh-Pierre, who also made the trip, thanked Burch and Mello for their expertise and willingness to guide the Bahamian athletes. At the same time, she praised the athletes’ local coaches. “Our athletes’ performances were a testament to the excellent technical foundation that they have received in their training programmes at home. So their success has been a victory for our entire equestrian community.”

Ramsingh-Pierre also thanked M. Didier Bigot, President of the Comité Régionale d’Equitation (CRE) Martinique, for the warm welcome offered to the Bahamian delegation. “My goal in accompanying the riders was to connect with the organizers of the Grand Caraibe Competition Tour, and to secure invitations to future events so that our riders can be a part of the robust competition series that exists in the southern Caribbean,” explained Ramsingh-Pierre.

Mission accomplished: The Bahamas looks forward to competing in the fourth and final leg of the 2023-2024 Grand Caraibe Tour which will be held in Guadeloupe, May 8-12, 2024. The Federation hopes to field a complete team, accompanied by local coaches, for the event.