Eleven-year-old Hadley Rahael mounted “Zeus” to produce the best overall score of the T&T Equestrian Association’s annual Eventing competition held at the Valmont Stables in Santa Cruz from May 26-27. Eventing is considered the equivalent to the human sport of triathlon as it combines the three disciplines of Dressage, Cross-Country Jumping and Stadium Jumping. Dressage, the initial phase of the “triple play”, tests the obedience of the horse, as well as the rapport between horse and rider. Cross-Country Jumping, where the horse is manoeuvered through an open field jump course over solid, natural type jumps tests the bravery and stamina of the horse and the technical knowledge of the rider.
Lastly, the Show Jumping phase brings the horse and rider back into an enclosed arena with a jump course, where the jumps are easily knocked down if the horses hit them. In each phase, the rider/horse gains a score which is converted into penalties; the horse/rider with the least amount of penalties wins the event. Each phase of a three day event is called a “test,” because it tests the abilities of horse and rider. If any horse and rider fail to complete a test, they are automatically disqualified.
The weekend’s event brought together competitors at the beginner novice and training levels. The beginner novice category showed the most entrants and saw Rahael , who was the youngest rider of all, come out the winner. Rahael rode “Zeus” to an impressive total score of 56.25, ahead of Olivia Harford on “Rockstar” with 60.23 penalties. Garyck Jaggan on his “Audacity to Hope” was third with 61.25, and another of the youngest and upcoming riders, Amber Thompson was in fourth place with 83.25. Top Eventing Rider Hadley Rahael on “Zeus.”At the training level, Charlotte Morrison on “Alfie Meh Boy” managed to top arch-rival Sandhya Moll riding “Majestic 7”, by completing the event with a total of 70.98 penalties, with Moll unfortunately being eliminated in this category. Moll however, also entered the novice level on her young “Cadbury”and came out tops with 58.14 penalties.