Category Archives: Tryon

Strong Turnout for First FEI CSI3* Week of Tryon Fall Series

Andres Rodriguez and Caballito. Photos ©Sportfot.

Heather Caristo-Williams Tops $34,000 Horseware Ireland FEI 1.45m Speed Stake; Hunter Competitors Continue to Shine

Mill Spring, NC – October 18, 2015 – Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) hosted the first of two back-to-back weeks of internationally recognized FEI CSI 3* competition this past week, spanning four days in the George Morris Arena, and marking the eighth FEI competition hosted at the facility during the 2015 season. The finale of the six-week Tryon Fall Series will begin on Wednesday, October 20, and conclude on Sunday, October 24, with another strong week of CSI 3* competition ahead.

Recording the highest number of FEI horses presented at an international competition hosted at TIEC this year, Tryon Fall 5 saw 78 horses jog before the FEI ground jury. An impressive 62 entries tested the $34,000 FEI 1.50m Suncast® Welcome designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA). Andres Rodriguez (VEN) piloted longtime mount Caballito (Contendro x Arabesque) owned by ARAO Enterprises LLC and stopped the jump-off timers in 37.07 seconds for the win. Andrew Kocher (USA) and Uppie De Lis (Andiamo x Lorraine) owned by BTS Entertainment & Sales followed in second with a double clear effort and a time of 37.95 seconds. Rodriguez also finished in third place aboard S.F. Ariantha (Corland x Uriantha) owned by Robert and Sofia Castro with a time of 39.63 seconds.

“Riding two horses in this class is definitely a luxury and either one of them has the chance to win any class in the world. They’ve both been at the CSI 5* level before and really can compete at any level. It’s just a big luxury and I’m very happy to be here,” said Rodriguez.

“This is my second day here in Tryon and I’ve heard great things. I was very impressed with the facility and this place has a great future for the sport of show jumping. Everything here, the lifestyle around the grand prix arena, people staying in cabins, five or six different options for restaurants and everything – I just think the future for Tryon is great and I’m looking forward to coming more often,” he commented.

Besting a class of talented entries, Rodriguez, who has had a phenomenal 2015 season thus far, remains fully aware of the importance of winning and how it impacts an individual’s confidence heading into the bigger ranking classes.

“When you win a class it’s supposed to be what we do. I don’t think people ride for second place and everyone wants to win, which makes for great rides. There were a lot of top riders in the class and there was a horse that I love, one of Ronan McGuigan’s, and he was in the jump-off with us and that always makes it very exciting,” he continued. “When you have a horse that you like so much and it’s in the jump-off with you it makes it pretty fun and good competition.”

Caballito is Rodriguez’s longtime partner who has been a mainstay in his top string for a number of years. Detailing their partnership, Rodriguez explained the importance of Caballito in his barn. “He is my old time partner. I won my first ever FEI ranking class on him five years ago and he’s been winning ever since. He won a great class this year in Barcelona and it was such a fast class. He’s a really awesome horse and he’s very consistent.”

While continuing to amass wins throughout year, Rodriguez has earned several top place finishes at some of the biggest competitions and venues around the globe including Spruce Meadows and the Furusiyya Nations Cup™ in Barcelona, Spain, this past September.

“We’ve been having a great year and I’ve been showing almost every week. I’m looking forward to a little bit of a rest in December, but still I have this coming week here in Tryon and then I go to HITS Thermal and Vegas. After that the year is over for us,” explained Rodriguez. “Next year is huge because of the Olympics and I think they’re going to come up so fast after Wellington in April and we’ll only have three more months until they start and the horses will need to be rested. I also need to be in a good mindset to be able to perform too.”

With the 2016 Olympic Games to be hosted next July in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Rodriguez already has an idea of which lucky mount will be aimed towards the historic event next summer. S.F. Ariantha has steadily improved throughout the season and has a talent that is unmatched according to Rodriguez. The duo also placed in finished fifth in the $127,000 Suncast® Grand Prix FEI CSI 3* hosted on Saturday, October 17, during Tryon Fall 5.

“I’ve never had a horse with that type of quality. She’s truly special. Everything she does is unique and she jumps her heart out. She was born to jump and she does it in such a way that we’re definitely preparing her for the Olympics next year and she’s going to try her first main CSI 5* class in a few weeks. Next year we’ll do a few of the big grand prix classes in Wellington and maybe Hamburg and Aachen, some of the big shows in Europe,” stated Rodriguez as he continued to praise the talented mare. “The Olympics are a dream for everyone and that’s a horse to dream with. She’s the first horse who has made me feel that I can actually dream like that.”

With another week of international competition ahead, Rodriguez will look to continue riding with the same winning prowess and determination he possessed throughout Tryon Fall 5, while simultaneously preparing for the conclusion of the 2015 season. Commenting on the hopes of returning to TIEC in the near future, Rodriguez elaborated, “I think the more and more Tryon has good riders and good levels I only see it improving. I think a lot of riders are going to come here and like it and I think the location of this place is in the middle of where we do most of our jumping which is in Florida and New York. I’m very happy that I made the choice to come here,” he noted.

Heather Caristo-Williams Tops $34,000 Horseware Ireland FEI 1.45m Speed Stake

Heather Caristo-Williams (USA) and Wistful, owned by Ralph Caristo, captured a major win in the first FEI class of the week during Tryon Fall 5, hosted on Wednesday, October 14, in the $34,000 Horseware Ireland FEI 1.45m Speed Stake. The duo stopped the timers in 63.86 seconds after finishing a quick and efficient round, which would be unmatched by any other combination in the class boasting 42 entries. Andres Rodriguez (VEN) and Caballito, owned by ARAO Enterprises LLC finished just behind Caristo-Williams in second place with a time of 65.15 seconds. Fellow Venezuelan rider Emanuel Andrade rounded out the top three aboard his own Bon Jovi, crossing through the finish in 65.29 seconds.

Heather Caristo-Williams and Wistful
Heather Caristo-Williams and Wistful

“I was really happy with my round today. She did absolutely everything I asked and I really don’t think I could have asked for any more from her. She was just so fast and careful. I had seen a couple of people go before me and they went quite fast and I wasn’t sure where I would be able to make up the time,” said Caristo-Williams. “When I walked the course before the class I thought it looked great. There were a lot of tight turn backs and I was pleased because my mare just handled them beautifully. It was a fantastic track. When we got to the last jump I was just holding my breath and you always want to go clear but the last jump was tricky and you weren’t done until you were all the way through the timers.”

Caristo-Williams took the ride on Wistful at the beginning of the winter circuit in 2015 and took an ample amount of time to get to know the 2003 Dutch Warmblood mare (Be A Grand Star x Power Lady) before testing her on the international stage.

“This is one of the biggest tracks that we’ve done together and I just feel very privileged to work with a mare as talented as she is. We’re going to head to Florida a little bit early this year and do some nice trail riding and give her some downtime before the start of next season,” explained Caristo-Williams. “I’d love to have her as my speed horse. She seems to love to go fast and she’s so careful. I also just love to go fast on her too. I’m very happy to just keep competing her in speed classes and you know if we get to go bigger then we do but if we’re very happy and competitive right here than I’m really happy here too.”

Caristo-Williams represented the United States in equestrian competition during the Furusiyya FEI Nation’s Cup series throughout the summer in Europe, including an appearance for Team USA at the CSIO 3* in Lisbon, Portugal. Continuing to work towards her goal of competing for the United States in major international competition, Caristo-Williams described her surreal summer and the impact it has had on her goals moving forward in the sport.

“My summer has been unbelievable. I keep thinking if I’m dreaming please don’t wake me up because all of my horses have really stepped up and the highlight has been being able to compete for the U.S. on Nations Cup teams in Europe this summer. That was really amazing for me and honestly just a dream come true.”

Caristo-Williams added comments about her team’s experience at TIEC in their first visit to the venue this year. “The show grounds are beautiful and with the barns, where the stalls are, everything is just so well thought out. The complex is incredible and I really think it is just amazing. We’re so happy to be here and I’m only sad that it took us this long to get here this year. We’re very excited to come back in the future.”

Hunter Competitors Continue to Shine at TIEC

Hunter competition continued throughout the week at TIEC, offering a variety of classes and divisions for riders of all ages and experience levels. Liza Boyd, a name well-known on the AA-circuit and based in nearby Camden, SC, took home top honors in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby aboard 2004 Oldenburg mare Fieona owned by Kelly Maloney and Jack Towell. The duo also picked up a blue ribbon in the Performance Hunter 3’3″/3’6″ presented by Bruno Delgrange before their impressive performance in the only hunter derby of the week.

The duo earned a score of 87 in the first round of competition and returned to receive a 91 in the second round to finish the class with a total score of 178. Amy Nunnally of Charlottesville, VA and Cailler, owned by Carilynn Peyton, finished in second place after earning an 84 and 88 respectively for a final score of 172 while Amanda Forte of Glenmoore, PA piloted Look Again, owned by Rebecca Baker, to a total score of 167, which earned them a third place finish.

Amy Nolan of Wilmington, NC and Extra Credit, a 2006 Warmblood gelding owned by Missy Luczak-Smith, earned the tricolor in the Adult Amateur Hunter 3’6″ & Over division after collecting two first and two second place finishes in the over fences portion of the division. The duo also won the $500 NAL/WIHS Adult Hunter Classic 3′ with a two-round total score of 161.

For more information and to see a full list of results from Tryon Fall 5, please visit www.tryon.com.

Please “Like” Tryon International Equestrian Center on Facebook to become eligible for various contests and promotions!

About Tryon International Equestrian Center

The Tryon International Equestrian Center is destined to become one of the premier centers in the equestrian world. This new facility opened in June 2014 with sanctioned horse shows and initial supporting amenities including 10 riding arenas, 850 permanent stalls, a covered riding facility and fitness center. Future expansion includes a sports complex, two hotels, sporting clay course, and an 18-hole golf course plus a full calendar of equestrian competitions and activities. It is a spring, summer and fall haven for eastern and northeastern American equestrian competitors and enthusiasts. For more information, call 828-863-1000 or visit www.tryon.com.

Paige Johnson Triumphs in the $127,000 Suncast Grand Prix CSI 3* aboard Luke Skywalker 46

Paige Johnson and Luke Skywalker 46. Photos ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – October 17, 2015 – Paige Johnson (USA) and Luke Skywalker 46 made a fast move to the top of the leaderboard in the first FEI sanctioned grand prix of the fall season at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in the $127,000 Suncast® Grand Prix FEI CSI 3*. Johnson bested the class of 31 international entries with a blazing time of 40.24 seconds in the jump-off to cap their night with a win. Ali Wolff (USA) followed in second place aboard Brianda completing their jump-off round in 42.02 seconds, while Sharn Wordley (NZL) piloted Casper to a third place finish with a time of 42.96 seconds.

Johnson went early in the first round, drawing fourth in the order of go, earning the first clean effort around a tough track set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA). Consulting with coach Kent Farrington throughout the night, Johnson commented that “Luke” jumped beautifully in the first round giving her confidence moving forward into the jump-off, where they would finish as only one of four double clear trips.

“I went in early in both rounds and wanted to stick with my plan. I just wanted to do the best I could and it worked out. I know him really well now. We got him when he was eight and now he’s ten so we’ve grown up together and I trust him completely,” she remarked. “Once we went clear I made sure to go over my plan with Ryan and Kent, who work together, and they talked before I went in. Kent called me and he had watched my first round. They both told me to do the seven in the last line and I just tried to execute. I have a great team around me.”

In an electric moment that excited the crowd and lit the atmosphere in the George Morris Arena at TIEC, Johnson went for the very forward seven strides in the last line, proving to be a difficult feat to beat as she maintained her lead through the jump-off, which was contested by ten combinations.

“It was a long seven, but I always knew that I was going to do seven. I just didn’t let up. I knew that if I wanted to win, I needed to do seven and sometimes you have to take a gamble and it’s nice when the gamble works out. You have to trust your team, your horse, and your ability. At the end of the day, that’s all you can ask for and hope it’s your day or your night,” she explained with a smile.

Luke Skywalker 46 (Lord Pezi x Shakira) has recently become Johnson’s top mount and has shown strength in his ability to accumulate quick and careful rounds in his first year at the grand prix level. Johnson elaborated on the gelding’s natural talent, “Everything about him is special. This is his first year doing grand prix and there have been some ups and downs, nothing crazy, but a couple of rails here and there. He’s a very careful horse and when you have a horse like that you have to take your time with them because they can get scared easily.”

Ali Wolff and Brianda
Ali Wolff and Brianda

Eager to improve on mistakes she felt had previously kept the duo out of the winner’s circle, Johnson decided early in the night that she wanted to focus on correcting the small errors and capitalize on the opportunity to compete under the lights.

“Each jump-off we’ve had there’s been a little bit of a mistake here or there and I went in wanting to fix those mistakes but also wanted to try to win the class,” she noted. “All of the pieces came together tonight and I feel like we finally finished the puzzle.”

The duo’s next appearance will be at the National Horse Show in Lexington, KY, where they will look to tackle an indoor atmosphere before beginning preparations for the winter circuit in Wellington, FL at the Winter Equestrian Festival.

“I think it will be a good test for him in Kentucky in the indoor there and then in Florida we’ll have him do some of the big classes during the Saturday Night Lights series,” she noted.

Bringing two new horses with her to TIEC, Johnson commented on the layout of the facility and felt that the experience for all of her horses during the week was beneficial before looking towards the 2016 season.

“The stabling here is just incredible. For the horses that is the most important thing. Having stalls with built in fans and rubber mats is amazing because you can’t expect them to perform to the best of their ability if they’re not comfortable. I just think it’s fantastic,” she explained. “The arenas are so nice and there are so many places to flat your horses. When people are jumping all the time it’s hard to flat your horses and do it properly. I just think the layout of the space is really nice and Mark [Bellissimo] has done an incredible job.”

Johnson’s groom, Sergio Molina, was awarded with the Groom’s Initiative Award, which is presented to the winning duo’s groom for each grand prix class hosted at TIEC. The Groom’s Initiative Award has been implemented to honor those who continue to provide their dedicated services to top horse and rider combinations.

For more information and a full list of results from this week’s FEI competition please visit www.tryon.com.

Please “Like” Tryon International Equestrian Center on Facebook to become eligible for various contests and promotions!

About Tryon International Equestrian Center

The Tryon International Equestrian Center is destined to become one of the premier centers in the equestrian world. This new facility opened in June 2014 with sanctioned horse shows and initial supporting amenities including 10 riding arenas, 850 permanent stalls, a covered riding facility and fitness center. Future expansion includes a sports complex, two hotels, sporting clay course, and an 18-hole golf course plus a full calendar of equestrian competitions and activities. It is a spring, summer and fall haven for eastern and northeastern American equestrian competitors and enthusiasts. For more information, call 828-863-1000 or visit www.tryon.com.

Fall “Saturday Night Lights” Series Kicks Off September 19 at Tryon International Equestrian Center

An aerial view of TIEC during the Grand Opening Ceremonies on June 6, 2015 ©ErikOlsen.

Save the date for family fun, first-class equestrian competition, live music, and theme-park adventure at Tryon International Equestrian Center this September and October

Mill Spring, NC – September 14, 2015 – After a stellar summer series showcasing the talents of Olympic level riders, legendary performers, craft beer festivals, a shag dance off and even a classic car show, Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) is launching its fall “Saturday Night Lights” event series to complement the grand prix competitions from Saturday, Sept. 19 through Saturday, Oct. 24. From carnival-style entertainment to Carolina-inspired festivals, TIEC is Western North Carolina’s hub for premier family entertainment. Even better are the free activities offered as part of TIEC’s “Saturday Night Lights” such as face painting, airbrush tattoos, busker performances, and rides on a hand-painted Venetian carousel. TIEC admission and parking are free. Event gates will open at 5 p.m. and competition begins at 7 p.m.

Click here to watch the TIEC Grand Opening video featuring the Special Forces Associates Parachute Team.

Food and restaurant options are as varied and bountiful at TIEC as the entertainment. Choose between Roger’s Diner, a 50s-inspired diner serving up burgers, shakes, salads, breakfast all day and more, or Legends Grille delivering a first-class dining experience and gourmet menu items prepared with locally sourced ingredients. Both Roger’s Diner and Legends Grille are open year round to the public. During competition weeks, visit one of the many other onsite restaurants offering sushi, summer treats, coffee, or a vendor cart on grand prix nights selling carnival favorites like lemonade, popcorn, cotton candy and ice cream.

Each “Saturday Night Lights” evening culminates with a sponsored grand prix competition held under the stadium lights in the George Morris International Arena.

Please “Like” Tryon International Equestrian Center on Facebook to get the latest news updates and events happening around the venue!

About Tryon International Equestrian Center

The Tryon International Equestrian Center is destined to become one of the premier centers in the equestrian world. This new facility opened in June 2014 with sanctioned horse shows and initial supporting amenities including 10 riding arenas, 850 permanent stalls, a covered riding facility and fitness center. Future expansion includes a sports complex, two hotels, sporting clay course, and an 18-hole golf course plus a full calendar of equestrian competitions and activities. It is a spring, summer and fall haven for eastern and northeastern American equestrian competitors and enthusiasts. For more information, call 828-863-1000 or visit www.tryon.com.

TIEC Announces Release of 2015 Fall Series Prize List Highlighting Two FEI CSI 3* Weeks

Aerial shot of the official opening ceremony on June 6th. Photo ©ErikOlsen.

The 2015 fall series prize list is now available online

Mill Spring, NC – August 31, 2015 – Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) has announced the release of the 2015 Tryon Fall Series Prize List now available online at www.tryon.com to competitors and spectators wishing to compete at the world-class facility during the highly anticipated Tryon Fall Series, set to begin on Thursday, September 17 and conclude on Sunday, October 25. The series will host six consecutive weeks of competition including two FEI CSI 3* weeks (October 14-25).

The Tryon Fall Series will begin on Thursday, September 17, highlighting the first “Saturday Night Lights” event of the series, as the venue hosts the $25,000 Tryon Estates Grand Prix at 7pm in the George Morris Arena on Saturday, September 19. Fall 1 will also offer a week of B-rated hunter competition.

Tryon Fall 2 and 3 will increase prize money within the grand prix series offering the $15,000 Suncast® Welcome on both Thursdays of each week and back-to-back “Saturday Night Light” classes with a $40,000 Grand Prix and the $40,000 Tryon Equine Grand Prix. Hunter competitors will contest a continued week of B-rated competition.

Hunters will take the main stage at Tryon Fall 4, as the venue will offer AA-rated competition throughout the week and showcase the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby and the $10,000 Tryon Fall Pre-Green Classic. The $25,000 Nutrena® Grand Prix on Saturday, October 3, will accompany the largest hunter week of the Tryon Fall Series.

The last two weeks of the series will play host to the largest competition weeks of the season with back-to-back FEI CSI 3*competitions. Fall 5 will offer FEI riders the $34,000 1.45m Horseware Ireland Speed Stake, $34,000 Suncast® Welcome Classic, as well as the $127,000 Suncast® Grand Prix on Saturday, October 17. Fall 6 will mirror Fall 5 with an equal number of FEI classes, including a $34,000 1.45m Horseware Ireland Speed Stake and $34,000 Suncast® Welcome, while capping the fall “Saturday Night Lights” series with the $127,000 Tryon Estates Grand Prix on Saturday, October 24.

“We’re looking forward to hosting another successful series at Tryon International Equestrian Center and will look to build upon the momentum and feedback we received from the first three series this year,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner for the Tryon Equestrian Partners. “It is important to give riders of all ages and experiences the opportunity to compete and learn. We are excited that we can forge that appreciation and passion for the sport here at TIEC.”

Please visit http://bit.ly/1X7snKe to access the 2015 Fall Series Prize List online!

Tryon International Equestrian Center offers competitors, visitors, and families several on-site lodging options to help make competition visits as simple and convenient as possible. With multiple cabin sizes, as well as the newly opened Stable House Inn, both located within walking distance of the facility and stabling, lodging at TIEC also ensures easy access to vendors and restaurants located on-site.

With a limited number of one-bedroom, three-bedroom, and five-bedroom cabins available for booking, contact lodging@tryon.com or call (828)-863-1015 to reserve your cabin for the Tryon Fall Series today!

The Stable House Inn is the newest addition to the on-site lodging options at Tryon International Equestrian Center. With 50 rooms, each room furnished with two queen sized beds, a full bathroom, and smaller amenities such as a mini-fridge, microwave, and coffee-maker, The Stable House Inn is the perfect destination for a short or long term stay at TIEC. For more information regarding nightly and weekly rates, please contact lodging@tryon.com or call (828)-863-1015 for more information.

Lodge on Lake Lure, recently acquired by the Tryon Equestrian Partners, will also be accepting lodging reservations for the Tryon Fall Series. Outfitted with 17 beautifully furnished rooms and located only a short 18-minute drive from TIEC, Lodge on Lake Lure offers guests access to a beautiful lake-front patio deck, a variety of watersport activities, and is home to one of the area’s finest restaurants, Tree Top Restaurant. To reserve a room at Lodge on Lake Lure, please visit http://www.lodgeonlakelure.com or call +1(800)-733-2785 for more information.

TIEC also offers visitors and guests several popular dining venues located around the facility including Roger’s Diner, Legends Grille, Blue Ginger Sushi & Sake, and Tryon Café. On-site favorites, Open Road Coffee and Tryon Treats, will also open to exhibitors and visitors during each of the competition weeks during the Tryon Fall Series. Tryon Tack is also available on-site providing competitors and spectators with all of their equestrian retail needs.

The Legends Club, overlooking the George Morris Arena in Tryon Stadium, serves breakfast and lunch buffet options to patrons daily during the competition week, as well as table seating during the highly attended “Saturday Night Lights” Series, which will span the six-week duration of the 2015 Tryon Fall Series. To reserve a table in the Legends Club, please contact lodging@tryon.com or call (828)-863-1015 for more information.

Please “Like” the TIEC Facebook page at www.facebook.com/tryonresort to be eligible for various contests and promotions.

About Tryon International Equestrian Center

The Tryon International Equestrian Center is destined to become one of the premier centers in the equestrian world. This new facility opened in June 2014 with sanctioned horse shows and initial supporting amenities including 10 riding arenas, 850 permanent stalls, a covered riding facility and fitness center. Future expansion includes a sports complex, two hotels, sporting clay course, and an 18-hole golf course plus a full calendar of equestrian competitions and activities. It is a spring, summer and fall haven for eastern and northeastern American equestrian competitors and enthusiasts. For more information, call 828-863-1000 or visit www.tryon.com.