Log In

Reset Password

Showjumping stars celebrate Caribbean Challenge victory

First Prev 1 2 Next Last
Ryan Wright and Sunny Days clears one of the fences in the mini challenge
Amber Howard competes in the Bermuda Mini Challenge

Bermuda Equestrian Federation president McKeisha Smith has led the plaudits for the island’s showjumping stars after their stellar performances in the 2022 Caribbean Regional Challenge.

Bermuda secured top spot in the Mini Challenge largely thanks to a competition-winning performance in the individual 0.50m category by Mackenzie Kowalski on Edelweiss, who finished first, but she was ably assisted by Helena Baillie who was awarded second place on Storm Watch.

In the 0.60m overall Individual division, Amber Howard riding Storm Watch placed third with Ryan Wright & Sunny Days a commendable second in the 0.70m jumping class.

The more senior riders also performed well with Bermuda finishing second in the Regional Challenge.

Logan Flood riding Storm Watch, Caitlin Neijmeijer on Helsinki Van De Heffinck and Stephanie Kempe aboard Good as Gold were the island’s representatives with Kempe taking top honours in the 1.05m individual category.

Smith was thrilled with those results after a tough couple of years and is delighted to see hard work rewarded

“I was very pleased with results,” Smith said. “I used to chair the local committee for this event and the format changed so that every country has to run the same course with the same specs, so for us to win over our Caribbean friends is really exciting.

“We haven’t been able to compete over the last couple of years due to Covid so for us to kick off the CEA this year and do well in the mini jumping challenge is great. They are the youngest riders and this is a developmental stepping stone so it’s really exciting.”

The Covid pandemic forced every sport to reassess but Smith revealed that a back-to-basics approach has paid dividends with a number of riders progressing hugely.

“Covid allowed us to go back to the drawing board and focus on our training when we could get out of the house and it did allow us to develop,” she said.

“These are kids I might not have been aware of before Covid and were not really on our radar but they have grown two foot taller and they are riding a lot stronger because of the time we have had to focus on our training.

“Amber Howard I know from a barn I was at previously, and she has grown and is a really talented rider. Ryan Wright is at the same barn as Amber and has grown into a good rider who is close to making a step up to that next level.”

The calendar has just ticked over to 2023 and Smith is hopeful that this year will see further development in the sport despite a fall in participants.

“We’ve just embarked on our first full season post-Covid, which runs from September to June,” Smith said.

“The hope is to develop our sport. As a board we have goals and that is to build an equestrian community. It’s not just our showjumping, it’s our driving, our pony racing, dressage and the Bermuda Hunt club. It’s a combination of all equestrian communities coming together and creating a community.

“I think in the past, we’ve been siloed, so the aim is to work together, collaborate and grow the sport. It is a very expensive hobby to keep a horse on island and we have seen a decline in numbers. We want to keep the sport alive and as a board it’s about meeting the need of our members and developing our youngsters to aspire to go overseas and compete.”

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published January 05, 2023 at 7:56 am (Updated January 05, 2023 at 8:10 am)

Showjumping stars celebrate Caribbean Challenge victory

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon