Alex Granato and Criss Cross Wins $8,000 1.40m Open Jumper Classic

Alex Granato and Criss Cross. Photos ©Sportfot.

Taylor Alexander and Gypsy King Impress in U25 Welcome Stake; Daniel Geitner Takes $10,000 Pre-Green Carolinas’ Challenge Cup aboard Walk the Moon

Mill Spring, NC – October 14, 2016 – Alex Granato of Wellington, FL guided Criss Cross to victory in the $8,000 1.40m Open Jumper Classic presented by Nutrena®, earning the first ever victory on the Grass Complex at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). The duo took the win after completing the track in 36.433 seconds, while Emanuel Andrade of Wellington, FL and Cortina 186 followed closely behind to finish in second with a time of 37.256 seconds. Adrienne Sternlicht of Greenwich, CT and Raia D’ Helby collected third place honors with a time of 37.262 seconds.

Granato has been a mainstay at TIEC all circuit, as his farm Mad Season, LLC has been based in Mill Spring, NC since the spring. This is the pair’s first major win this season and Granato was ecstatic with the performance of Criss Cross, as the pair topped a class of 42 entries.

“I am very pleased with him and how he handled the grass. He has experience on grass as a young horse but this was my first time competing with him on grass since we got him last fall,” explained Granato. “He is a very game, careful jumper. We’ve taken our time getting to know him this past season and now we are really starting to hit our stride with him.

“I really liked the course. I thought it was a nice use of the field and asked good questions while still being welcoming to build for the Grand Prix on Sunday,” he added.

The $8,000 1.40m Open Jumper presented by Nutrena® was the first show jumping class to be hosted on the new Grass Complex at TIEC and Granato’s win marked a full circle cycle for the talented rider, who also claimed top honors in the inaugural grand prix class at the venue.

“I’m really excited about getting to win the first open class in the grass complex. We’ve really enjoyed showing at TIEC,” he said. “We’ve shown here off and on since the first set shows and I actually happened to win the inaugural grand prix here as well. We’ve been based here for the summer and it’s a great place to build our younger string of horses.”

Granato has been building a strong string of young horses throughout the year, highlighted by top performances from Criss Cross, as the pair has secured top placings in numerous classes throughout the summer and fall seasons. Granato and team will head to Florida to prepare for a competitive winter circuit after competition concludes at TIEC later this month.

“This series is our last show to wrap up our fall before we head south and rest the horses for the winter circuit. We want to continue strong and finish with confident horses ready to move forward and move up in Wellington,” he concluded.

Adrienne Sternlicht, who is competing at TIEC for the first time this year and has earned top results so far this week, was elated with the opportunity to compete on the new Grass Complex and noted that her horse handled the atmosphere exceedingly well.

“I thought today’s class on the field was great! My horse loves jumping on grass, and the addition of the derby field provides valuable diversity to the show jumping facilities here,” commented Sternlicht. “For me, it allowed me to place my horse in a class where she would be most successful, so hopefully we’ll have a similar result in Sunday’s Grand Prix!”

Taylor Alexander and Gypsy King Impress in U25 Welcome Stake

Taylor Alexander of Castle Rock, CO and Gipsy King earned top honors in the U25 Welcome Stake at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) with a speedy jump-off time of 35.709 seconds. Taylor Land of Atlanta, GA and For Edition took home the red rosette with a time of 36.334 seconds, while Alise Oken of Charlotte, NC and Iraola Del Maset stopped the timers at 38.054 seconds for third.

Taylor Alexander and Gipsy King
Taylor Alexander and Gipsy King

Alexander and Gipsy King, owned by Alexander LLC, have been partners since March of this year. Before traveling to TIEC, the pair competed in Europe this past summer, where they were very successful in multiple 1.40m and 1.45m classes.

Alexander was confident coming into the jump-off with Gipsy King, a Belgian Warmblood gelding (Wandor Van De Mispelaere x Lys De Darmen), having the advantage of already riding the tough track set by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) on her first mount Ryanair De Riverland, on whom she placed fourth.

“Ryanair De Riverland is quicker and covers more ground, and I tried to make up my time in the turns but that caused me to have a rail. With Gipsy King, I wanted to do the same thing but not have any down. He spends a little more time in the air and I had to make up more time in the corners,” Alexander said.

“Going twice is definitely an advantage. I already had a feel for the jump-off and I know Gipsy King really well from competing this summer,” she elaborated.

Alexander touched on how she has had to adjust her riding style for Gipsy King because he is very straightforward but is quite sensitive in the mouth.

“I have had to look past the sensitivity, and learning how to ride him well on the flat has helped me tremendously in the show ring,” she explained.

Securing the win and a fourth place finish set Alexander on the right foot as she looks forward to the U25 Grand Prix on Sunday. Alexander and her team will remain in Tryon this weekend and next week for the highly anticipated CSI 5* and are planning to continue contesting the U25 classes.

“This was a great way to start off the weekend, especially looking ahead to the U25 class on Sunday. My horses have not jumped since Gold Cup which was four weeks ago, so this was a positive note to come in on.”

Alexander wrapped up talking about her first time competing at TIEC, saying, “It is really, really nice. This is a great stop for us in the fall.”

Daniel Geitner Takes $10,000 Pre-Green Carolinas’ Challenge Cup aboard Walk the Moon

Daniel Geitner of Aiken, SC and Walk the Moon, owned by Lynn Seithel, took top honors in the $10,000 Pre-Green Carolinas’ Challenge Cup with a two round score of 175. Robert Carey of Bolton, OH guided First Watch, owned by Barbara Mitchell, to a second place finish after receiving a 170.5, while Caroline Weeden of Lake Forest, IL piloted In Time, owned by Glory Days Farm, LLC, to third place with a score of 166.

Geitner and Walk the Moon impressed the judges receiving an 87 in the first round and an 88 in the second round. Carey and First Watch also laid down two smooth courses in the George H. Morris Arena to earn an 86 and 84.5, respectively. Caroline Weeden and In Time also earned two scores about the 80 mark, collecting an 82 and 84 for their efforts.

The 2016 Tryon Fall Series presented by Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District offers six weeks of hunter and jumper competition, including three weeks of internationally recognized FEI show jumping featuring two FEI CSI 3* weeks and an FEI CSI 5*. For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and surrounding amenities, please visit

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