Bermuda juniors capture regional dressage event
Bermuda’s junior team captured first place and the adult team second at the Caribbean Equestrian Association Regional Dressage Challenge.
Barbados took first place in the adult team category while other participating countries were Cayman Islands and Trinidad & Tobago.
Members of the junior team representing Bermuda were Scarlett Smale, riding Roseland, Grace Lightowler, riding Just Pete, and Natalia Tafu,r on Edelweiss. The adult team comprised Abby Bardgett, riding Up Up & Away, Dale Rochester, on Good as Gold, and Michael Rodrigues, riding Domino Effect.
This year’s competition was particularly exciting as it introduced a Freestyle division. Freestyle is a “form dressage competition where the horse’s movements/paces are set to music to create a competitive dance”.
Bermuda’s Junior Freestyle team of Natalia Tafur, riding Edelweiss, Grace Lightowler, riding Just Pete and Kayla Bardgett, riding Causing Chaos, rose to the occasion and secured first place.
First place in the Adult Freestyle division was awarded to Barbados.
In addition to country placings, the competition also provided for Overall Individual rankings and once again Bermuda’s dressage riders proved to be on top of their game with impressive results.
In the individual ranking for Children’s Training Level Test 3, Scarlett Smale, riding Roseland, secured the top spot with 72.241 per cent. In the Children’s Second Level Test 3, Kayla Bardgett and Causing Chaos captured took the top regional spot with a score of 67.309 per cent.
In the Adult Training Level Test 3, Michael Rodrigues and Domino Effect placed second with a commendable score of 71.207 per cent and narrowly missed first place, which was taken by Paula Galbraith, of Barbados, with 71.55 per cent.
In the Adult Second Level Test 3, Bermuda secured the top two placings. Claire Turner, riding Baltazar Olympus, scored 63.261 per cent, while Abby Bardgett, on Happy Feet, scored 63.142 per cent.
Initially, it was feared the event would have to be cancelled as the global pandemic made it impossible for a foreign judge to travel to competing Caribbean countries. Fortunately, the Caribbean Equestrian Association permitted each country to forward video coverage of their competitors to this year’s officiating judge, American Heather Stalker, thereby alleviating the need to travel.
Acknowledging the challenges of training as well as the logistics of hosting a “virtual” event because of the global pandemic, the Bermuda dressage coach Angela Halloran-Smith expressed her delight with the results as well as the opportunity to host a virtual event.
“Bermuda’s riders did an excellent job in preparing for the event,” she said. “This year saw a number of new competitors who performed extremely well.
“Michael Rodrigues and junior competitor Scarlett Smale both received scores of over 70 per cent. With the Bermuda Junior team placing first and the Adult team placing second, this competition demonstrates the tremendous talent and potential on our island of Bermuda.”