Thu | Jul 19, 2018

Equestrian standout wants to spread sport

Published:Wednesday | January 25, 2017 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott

Jamaica's top equestrian for 2016 and the continuous face of Jamaica showjumping, Julian Hyde, says his focus for this year will be coaching and bringing new talent to the fore in an effort to give back to the sport.

However, he still holds ambitions of qualifying for international championship and representing Jamaica at the highest level in his sport.

"I am still with the horses, but right now I am more into coaching the younger riders. We have young riders we are trying to get into the fold, and we are doing the groundwork because we lost a lot of our older riders and we are trying to get new people interested," he said.

"I never saw myself as a coach, but the sport has given me so much over the years and it's just a way to give back. We have some really good talent out there ... and other potential riders to make Jamaica proud," he added.

One of Hyde's ambitions is to get more youngsters from the wider crosssection of the society more involved in the sport.

"For the sport in general, a goal is to get more people interested, not just those from the upper echelons of society, but get everyone interested. So my goal is to spread the word and get it out there so anybody can take a chance.

"The last two to three years, we have fell off because the older ones (riders) go away to the US for boarding school. But we still have a good little crop, good facilities and good coaches who bring young riders and get a lot of people interested.

"We need to improve facilities, the ringing at Caymanas Park needs work and sand to get it level. Also I would love more international horses in Jamaica, so instead of just horses from track, we would like to get some from overseas," he added.

Hyde, who has won the category award for equestrian at the RJR National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards on four occasions, returned home last year after five years overseas and is keeping his personal ambitions in tune.

"At the same time, I want to pursue my dream. It's a lot of work, but we are getting it done. And for this year, the goal is to qualify for the 2017 FEI World Finals," he said. "I will compete and should do well enough to qualify for the finals. We also want to work towards the CAC Games, which is a more realistic goal for us now than the Olympics, but that (CAC) would be a starting point for that (Olympic) journey."