Family affair for Minors in Colombia
Ki-Juan Minors will complete a family ambition when he rides his thoroughbred Just Ask Eric at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Bogotá, Colombia, this week.
The show jumper and his younger brother Dage Minors, who will compete in athletics in Colombia, had hoped to join their sister Tse, a former Bermuda field hockey player, at the previous Games.
But with Bermuda missing out on entering a show-jumping team and Dage unavailable because of school commitments, the pair were unable to make it a triumvirate of Minors in Veracruz, Mexico, in 2014.
Four years on and it is the brothers’ chance to shine, with Tse — who is now the Bermuda assistant coach — suffering a serious injury and the field hockey team failing to qualify.
“We were trying to do a trio [in Colombia] but unfortunately my sister had a terrible injury,” Ki-Juan said.
“It’s cool that all of my dad’s [Delbert Minors] kids have got to the CAC Games. It makes him feel amazing. He’ll be there to support us.”
Ki-Juan plans on travelling to Barranquilla — about 1½ hours away by flight — after his event to support his 22-year-old brother in the 800 and 1,500 metres.
“If all goes well, I’d like to be there to support Dage,” said Ki-Juan, who competes from Thursday to Sunday. “Luckily for him, he gets to be in 75-80F (24-27C) weather compared to me in Bogotá.”
Weather could be a determining factor in the show-jumping competition, according to Ki-Juan, with the 50F (10C) temperatures and high altitude expected in Bogotá a far cry from the sunshine in Wellington, Florida, where he is based.
“Temperatures are going to be a high of 50F each day and you also have the high altitude to deal with,” Ki-Juan said.
“[Just Ask Eric] pretty much tells me how he feels, so I’ll go with that.
“My coach [Victor Segovia of Venezuela] believes the thin air could work to our benefit as it’s not just one or two days of jumping, it’s multiple days and a lot of jumping.
“That takes a lot of endurance and we’re thinking that the cool air will keep [Just Ask Eric] jumping fresh.”
Ki-Juan, who has been competing on the East Coast for the past 15 years, believes a top-ten finish is within his reach.
“I know I’m going to be up against some really talented veterans of the sport,” he said. “That doesn’t really mean much, though; it all comes down to the day and unlike other sports we’re also dealing with an animal.”
Ki-Juan also qualified another horse, Carvelo Z, for the CAC Games but opted for ten-year-old Just Ask Eric, who he has only been riding since April. The pair finished sixth at the $25,000 Fox Lea National Grand Venice, Florida, in April.
“It was a great warm-up,” he added. “That was our plan and it worked out well.
“From the moment we first tried him, he’s been a very keen animal. Regardless what facility we take him to, he does a good job and he’s always ready to go.
“We’re pretty confident of representing the island quite well. It’s absolutely the pinnacle of my career.
“I’m completely honoured and it’s been a dream of mine for a very long time.”
The 36-year-old’s equine passion started at a young age growing up in St George’s, his grandfather, Winslow “Bronkie” Minors, was also a keen horseman.
“My grandparents always had horses and I was drawn to them from a very young age,” Ki-Juan remembers. You can ask anyone in St George’s — if they saw me, I was usually running around like a lunatic, acting like a horse!
“I went in that direction from a very young age. When I realised I could pursue that as a career I took that path and continued.”