#THE Bahamas Interscholastic Equestrian League (BIEL) swung back into action last weekend, holding its first show of the year at Mariposa Stables.
#Four teams comprised of 20 young riders from different schools participated in the competition, which was won by the Mariposa Gold Drops.
#Second place went to the Mariposa Monarchs.
#The Camperdown Equestrian Centre (CEC) Sand Dollars and the CEC Blue Marlins, both hampered by the fact that they were short a rider, placed third and fourth respectively.
#Founded in 2017, BIEL competitions have been a perennial favourite among junior riders because of the team emphasis and the unique format, based on collegiate competition rules, in which riders and horses are matched by random draw. “The horse draw is exciting,” said Hannah Ritchie, a member of the CEC Sand Dollars team and a 10th-grader at Saint Augustine’s College.
#“It’s a challenge to ride a totally unfamiliar horse in the show ring.”
#Equestrian Bahamas president Cathy Ramsingh-Pierre expressed relief that the BIEL shows are continuing to draw interest from riders.
#“BIEL was formed as part of our mandate to provide affordable competitions on a level playing field for all riders.
#“Last year we partnered with the US-based Interscholastic Equestrian League (IEA) with great success, but unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control this partnership is in hiatus.
#“So we are continuing to hold the shows at the local level only, but with the same spirit of teamwork and sportsmanship. It’s nice to see that the trainers and athletes continue to buy into the concept.”
#Last year 14 riders qualified through BIEL competitions to ride at the IEA Zone 4 Finals in Tryon, North Carolina, with four riders winning ribbons and one – Ella Saidi – qualifying to ride at the National Finals in Harrisburg, ultimately placing 2nd.
#“We hope to be able to work with the IEA again at some point,” said Ramsingh-Pierre.
#“In the meantime, the federation continues to actively explore opportunities to expose our athletes to international competition.”
#The Bahamas Interscholastic Equestrian League is a series of three competitions, culminating in a National Championship.
#The next BIEL competition is scheduled to be held at the Camperdown Equestrian Centre in February, 2023.