Brogdon Wins Big for RWU Equestrian

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.

Senior riders Judging Clinic

Back in the Saddle: CEC Sand Dollars and Mariposa Gold Drops are winners in first horse show of the year

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.

Peyton Wong finishes in the ribbons in debut Intercollegiate Equestrian Competition

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.

Pagliaro Finishes Strong at the Junior World Endurance Championships

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.

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Congratulations to Maya Tilberg

Congratulations to Maya Tilberg

Congratulations to equestrian student- athlete Maya Tilberg. Maya is studying at the Honors College at the University of Missouri. A proud recipient of the Mark Twain Award, she is currently planning to major in Biomedical Sciences with a Pre-Med focus.

Davis Triumphs in Canadian Show Jumping Classic

Bahamian show jumper Marcus Davis wrapped up an intense June campaign of training and competition in the best way possible – standing alone atop the podium, at the Angelstone Headwaters Cup Tournament in Ontario, Canada!

Davis and his mount, El Porvenir Corro, started strong and improved with each outing over the four-day tournament. In the 1.15m Open Jumper Speed class Davis and Corro finished just in the ribbons, placing 8th out of a field of 54. As the fences rose in height the pair got stronger, riding a clear first round and a fast jump off with just one fence down to finish 4th overall in the 1.30m/1.40m Junior/Amateur Jumper. Davis entered the final leg of the competition – the $1,000 1.30m Jumper Classic – with one goal in mind: to win!

Davis and Corro negotiated the technically demanding Classic course with speed and style, slicing turns in the jump off to go clear in a fast time of just 37.199 seconds. The ride was a personal best for Davis, his first win of a 1.30 Classic!

The entire weekend was a triumph, as not only did Davis win the $1,000 1.30m Jumper Classic, he and El Porvenir Corro finished as overall Division Champions at Angelstone, Canada’s fastest-growing Equestrian Show Jumping Tournament venue.

Davis will continue competing this summer in Canada as they progress toward their goal of representing The Bahamas in Santiago, Chile, at the next Pan Am Games.

Vlasov and Etos HBC are Superb in France

Equestrian athlete Millie Vlasov and Etos HBC shone in illustrious company at the Laiterie de Montaigu 1.40m Grand Prix Event at Bourg-en-Bresse, France, on Sunday, May 23. Vlasov placed 5th out of a field of 52 Grand Prix riders, which included competitors from Sweden, Ireland, Great Britain, Turkey, Spain, Mexico, Switzerland, Australia and France.

Vlasov took the lead in the competition early, attacking the challenging 1.40m course designed by French course designer Gregory Bodo with style and verve. She and Etos soared clear in the first round and posted an efficient jump off time of 43.53 seconds, making her the rider to beat and prompting the French announcer to declare the pair “superb!”

Ultimately the performance was strong enough to secure 5th place in the large field, with just 4 riders, including Brice Brassart (France) and Charlotte Mcauley (Sweden) able to beat Vlasov’s and Etos’ fast time. Vlasov was delighted and gave all the credit to Etos, declaring: “I’m so happy! He was amazing”.

The high placement at the Bourg-en-Bresse competition at 1.40m marked the pair’s highest achievement to date as they progress toward their goal of representing The Bahamas in Santiago, Chile, at the next Pan Am Games.

Pagliaro continues the road to Young Rider World Championships; Ties for 2nd at Broxton Bridge

The FEI Endurance Young Rider World Championships are rapidly approaching. As the first ever to represent The Bahamas at this event, Reine Pagliaro and her mount Beautiful Knightmare (known as Beau) are training, refining, and doing all the research necessary to represent The Bahamas to the best of their ability. The competition will be held September 6-10 in Ermelo, The Netherlands.

To put it simply, Endurance is a cross-country marathon on horseback. An FEI 2* event, the Young Rider World Championships distance is 75 miles (120 km). The qualification process has been grueling: first Pagliaro and Beau had to complete a certain number of qualifying races before moving up to the International, or FEI, level. After achieving FEI status, the pair then had to finish two 120 km races which was accomplished in March 2020.

Reine rides with the Stiyu Endurance Team at Muscogee Farms in Eatonton, Georgia. The Stiyu research team has been scouting competition venues with weather and footing similar to that of The Netherlands. Luckily, the weather in middle Georgia where the pair train is almost identical to the weather in Ermelo. To ride a course with footing similar to the Worlds course, Reine and Beau headed off for the Broxton Bridge Plantation Endurance Races in South Carolina, held January 29-30, 2021.

“Endurance isn’t just running as fast as you want to,” explains Peggy Clark, owner and manager of Muscogee Farms. “That leads to injury, mental fatigue, and physical problems. Endurance racers know that you increase speed, or distance, not both. Reine and Beau have achieved the distance element many times. Now they are working on increasing the speed element.”

This was the plan at Broxton Bridge. Along with Mary Kathryn Clark, her trainer and Beau’s owner, Reine left the start line for the first loop of 15 miles (24 km) at a crisp pace. They were back at the first checkpoint in 90 minutes…a pace of 16 kph/10mph, perfectly on plan. After a thorough veterinary exam and a mandatory rest period – all regular procedures in Endurance races to ensure horse welfare – the riders were back on the trail for the last segment of their race, 16km/10 miles. It was time to kick up the speed a notch, and Reine and Beau finished the last loop in 44 minutes at a pace just over 12 mph. The pair tied for second place.

Not content with the great performance at Broxton Bridge, Reine is continuing to train every weekend with Beau, overcoming the elements as for the past weeks Georgia has been inundated with wave after wave of near-freezing rain!

Vlasov Rides High in First Show of the Year

There was no brushing off the rust for equestrian athlete Millie Vlasov as she began the 2021 show season with a successful weekend of showing at the Oliva Nova Mediterranean Equestrian Tour in Valencia, Spain.

Vlasov competed in the Oliva Met Bronze Tour at the CSI 1* level with two of her horses, Gulliver du Chȇne and Etos HBC.

Vlasov was pleased with the performance of both horses. Gulliver, whom she affectionately calls her “pocket rocket” because of his small size and fast speed, completed clear rounds all weekend and was just out of the ribbons in the 1.30m class, finishing 13th out of 34 competitors. Competing at an even higher level with Etos HBC, Vlasov was thrilled go double clear over a 1.40m course, completing her jump off in a time of 37.78 seconds. “He was so good. I’m so happy!”, said Vlasov.

As a result of the pair’s strong performance, this coming week Vlasov will aim to ride Etos HBC over more challenging courses at Oliva, possibly competing at the 1.45m level in a CSI2* Grand Prix Silver Tour competition.