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Island’s riders in Jumping Challenge

Giant leap: Kirista Rabain, the 2016 winner, will be among the Bermuda riders taking part in FEI Jumping Challenge over the next three months at the National Equestrian Centre in Vesey Street, Devonshire. Rabain will be heading off to the finals in Algeria in May, along with Phillip Correia (Photograph by Andy Gibbs)

Bermuda riders will once again take part in the Federation Equestre International Jumping Challenge over the next three months.

The competition will be held on Saturday, February 4, March 4 and April 1 at the National Equestrian Centre on Vesey Street. The event allows riders to compete with others around the world without having to leave their country thus avoiding the prohibitive costs of travel for both horse and rider.

The finals are then staged in a host country which also provides horses for the visiting riders. The top two riders in each of the ten world zones are invited to compete at the finals.

Historically, Bermuda has competed very successfully in this competition dating back to the Tarmac Jumping Competition which was funded by the Tarmac Corporation starting in 1984.

That year the local competition was won by Ann Roque who then went to Europe to be presented with her award. Since then Patrick Nisbett, one of our top international riders, has placed second in the finals and most recently Phillip Correia placed second in the 2015 finals in Morocco.

Kirista Rabain won both the 2016 local competition and our zone and so will be heading off to the finals in Algeria in May along with Correia who placed second in this region. This year, for the first time, the FEI has given competitors a world ranking with Rabain finishing 16th out of 257 competitors worldwide.

Correia, the other local competitor in Category A, finished in 119th position.

Riders can compete in three different height categories with Category A being the highest and the only one which, by winning this category in their zone, entitles the competitor to an invitation to the finals.

Category B and C are lower heights which are designed to encourage riders and horses to move up through the divisions to eventually compete in the A category.

Competition will begin at the Equestrian Centre at 8.30 with the veterinarian inspection, to be followed at 9.15am with the course walk before jumping begins at 9.30am.

Round one starts off with Category A, followed by Category B and then Category C. Round two will follow the same format.

The courses this year are designed by Brazilian Guilherme Jorge, who has designed courses for Olympics, World Cups, Nation Cup and Pan Am Games and numerous Grand Prix events. The courses are carefully measured and built to exact specifications by all competing countries.

The Bermuda Equestrian Federation invites all to come out and support the local riders. Admission is free.