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Vaz, Walter top showjumping
Orville Clarke, Freelance Writer
Justin Vaz and Jason Walter won the final leg of the Equestrian Federation of Jamaica showjumping league held recently at the St. Ann Polo and Equestrian Centre, Drax Hall, St. Ann.
This year, the outcome of the league was determined by an accumulation of points over five events by the same rider on the same horse. Winning the overall league indicates a consistent high level of performance over the year for both horse and rider.
Vaz, a 14-year-old student at Campion College, competed in League 'A' aboard his horse, Shabba Ranks, jumping of 3 feet 5 inches to top 14 riders during the course of the year with a total of 56 points.
Seventeen-year-old Hillel High student Bianca Fedele, riding CC Dusty, placed second with 40 points, while Adam Black-Charlebois on Tai Pan was third with 35 points.
Walter, a student at Wolmer's Boys, won League 'B' aboard Gemini with 40 points, jumping of 2 feet 9 inches, only two ahead of Kiara Williams aboard Bambi on 38 points, while third went to Stephen McConnell on Troubles with 23 points. Twenty-seven horses competed in this league.
Adam Black-Charlebois, riding Tai Pan, won the Grand Prix event.
National coach Betty Wates said the overall event was a success but expressed disappointment with the number of competitors in the final leg of the competition.
"Quite a few persons who started out during the year dropped out, which was quite disappointing," she said.
Commenting on the performance of Justin and Jason, Wates noted that Justin had won in every section.
An exceptional team
"This shows that he and his horse are an exceptional team ... As for Jason, he came from behind and was able to emerge the winner and this was quite commendable," added Wates.
She went on to point out that the standard of the league has improved and this has done a lot for showjumping in Jamaica.
"The addition of the leagues has shown an upswing and enthusiasm for showjumping," she stressed.
Due to the growing popularity of showjumping, she said there will be three levels next year as opposed to two levels.
As it relates to plans for 2008, Wates said Jamaica will be competing in Equador next month and Guatemala in February. The team will also compete in the Caribbean Equestrian Association's (CEA) Junior Jumping competition in Antigua, Trinidad and Tobago and Cayman Islands, with Jamaica hosting the final leg in November. Jamaica are defending champions.