By Bejay Browne
AN equestrian club in Paphos is making its mark on the world of competitive dressage and show jumping and has just won an important accolade for the second year running.
The country’s top qualifying equestrians, all chosen from George’s Ranch in Peyia, Paphos, Cyprus have won the FEI World Dressage Challenge 2015 which was held in Nicosia on October 31.
The prestigious competition was developed to give riders the opportunity to compete internationally without the huge expense of travelling abroad.
The Paphos riders were chosen as the best of the best by the Cyprus Equestrian Federation – the CYEF – to represent Cyprus in the worldwide competition.
George’s Ranch was taken over by current owner, 32-year-old Caroline Scambler in 2004. Since then, she has expanded it from a tourist attraction into a fully-fledged equestrian centre.
“Horses are my life and I wanted to show that Cyprus can compete at world class level, we have some excellent riders here,” said Scrambler.
The horse lover said that whilst there are other instructors at the ranch who look after pony rides and tourist treks, she concentrates on competitions and students who want to take the sport to a higher level.
She also ensures that her students are provided with the best horses to ride, so that they may compete at a high level.
“I often travel to Europe to buy in horses. They are called sports horses and are difficult to find in Cyprus. It’s a big scene in Europe.”
She buys the horses when they are young, as when they are older and trained, they can be very expensive. She then spends a few years working with them and training them up to the highest level.
“They compete here almost every month at the CYEF, which hosts regular shows in dressage and show jumping.”
According to the FEI, (Fédération Équestre Internationale) the world governing body for the sport, the Cyprus team were the overall winner for zone four, with a total of 211 points.
Other countries in this group include, Malta, who finished second with a total score of 199 points, Israel, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
The centre is home to 38 horses in total, 15 are available for tourists and visitors to ride, 20 are privately owned and a further three are either very young or retired.
The ranch attracts riders as young as eight, and some are competing at the age of ten.
Scambler said that the ranch’s riders are now preparing for the upcoming a world show jumping challenge on December 5.
“We are entering and hope to take good places, we are training for it now,” she said.
One of her students, 18-year-old Joshua Ioakim, will be entering the show jumping challenge. He is the current Junior Cyprus Champion.
“He was also the Cyprus Children’s Champion. When he has more time and has finished his army service, I hope he will go for the Senior Championship as well,” she said.