History was made as Barbados riders won the Caribbean’s first ever eventing medal. The trio of riders – Zoe Archer, Monique Archer and Laura Smith took team bronze at the Colombian based “Central American and Caribbean Games” (CAC) between the 19th and 22nd of July 2018.
Having competed in their first trials 10 months ago and with extensive travel between the island and the US (where their horses have been based recently) to prepare for the games, the win was a real achievement.
“They certainly pulled it out of the bag on the day,” team trainer Joss Gray said, adding that the win was “hugely rewarding” for everyone involved.
“I came to Barbados two years ago to try to go from having no eventing here whatsoever to qualifying horses and get to the games, so to get there and win a medal was fantastic.
“It was something I hoped for and something that was possible if all the stars lined up.”
Monique Archer was the highest-placed Barbadian individually, coming fifth on her dressage score of 41.9.
“The biggest worry was how the horses would adapt to the altitude; Bogota is up in the mountains at 2,640m and having not really dealt with horses at that altitude [I wasn’t sure what to expect], but they didn’t notice it in the slightest,” he said, adding that Liz Halliday-Sharp, the US eventer (who bases herself between Florida and the UK) also travelled out to help Laura Smith.
“The cross-country was demanding, it was a very twisty course with a few questions, which worked a little in our favour, held in a lovely big public park.”
With this result in the bag, it means that Barbados has now qualified for the 2019 Pan American Games. While riders will need to achieve their own minimum eligibility qualifications for the CCI2, this win and qualification shows the progress the team are making.