Mark Bluman and Uitteraard. Photos ©Sportfot.
Holly Shepherd and Longstreet Claim $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby
Mill Spring, NC – May 29, 2015 – Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) offered a day of rest from FEI competition today, but that did not stop top international talent from taking to the George H. Morris Stadium in the $5,000 1.45m Challenge. Mark Bluman (COL) and Stransky’s Mission Farms, Inc.’s Uitteraard finished atop the class of 16 entries, crossing the timers in the jump-off round at 33.289 seconds. Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Ashland Stable’s Uppie De Lis finished second with a time of 34.262 seconds, and Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Spy Coast Farm, LLC’s Beluga placed third in 35.459 seconds. Competition continues tomorrow with the largest class of the week being the showcase $127,000 Kingsland FEI CSI 3* Grand Prix. The grand prix begins at 7pm with doors opening to the general public at 5pm.
Bluman, who began riding for the Stransky family at Stransky’s Mission Farms this year, has enjoyed a very successful start to the summer season with top placings aboard several horses, including a top-ten finish in the $34,000 Suncast® FEI Tryon Welcome at TIEC this week. Stransky’s Mission Farms is currently building a summer base in Tryon and Bluman is looking forward to spending his time at TIEC during the summer months.
“I was here last fall and the expansion is unbelievable. I love this place and our horses love this place. I don’t ever have to leave the show. I stay in one of the cabins and can be with my horses at the barn in two minutes,” said Bluman. “It’s so quiet and peaceful. It’s really unbelievable. I’m really happy to be here and they’re doing a great job. I’m also so thankful to Lily Stransky and Stransky’s Mission Farms for giving me this opportunity, and to Step-by-Step Foundation who I also ride for. It’s nice to win for them.”
Uitteraard, a 2001 Dutch Warmblood gelding, has an extensive FEI record, competing in competitive international classes throughout his career. Bluman has enjoyed riding the experienced gelding, as he always delivers in the ring.
“This has been a season to get to know my horses since I joined Lily Stransky and Stransky’s Mission Farms earlier this year in Florida. The horses are great. The horse I’m riding is very experienced and has jumped 1.60m with other riders. He is the easiest horse,” commented Bluman about Uitteraard. “He’s just a sweetheart in the barn and a solid citizen. He does his job every time he goes in the ring and always tries his hardest.”
The class saw seven clear trips move forward to the jump-off round, where Bluman was able to ride to the top of the class finishing one second faster than Wordley. He also finished fourth aboard Stransky’s Mission Farms, Inc.’s Copa Cabana. The course was designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA), who has been the course designer for each of the FEI classes this week at TIEC.
“The course today was built great for the class and it was competitive. It’s nice to have a class like this available alongside the FEI classes here this week,” added Bluman. “There were several clear rounds which made the jump-off very fast and I was really pleased with both of my rounds.”
Bluman is set to ride Stransky’s Mission Farms, Inc.’s Califa LS in tomorrow night’s $127,000 Kingsland FEI CSI 3* Grand Prix. The experience of competing under the lights with a large crowd is always a highlight for Bluman, who is looking forward to riding in the competitive class. He also is aiming his mount Califa LS at the Pan American Games, which will be held in Toronto, Canada in July.
“It’s going to be a really competitive class. It is always nice to jump under the lights and there’s a little bit more excitement. It’s great to have people cheering and yelling for you during your round,” concluded Bluman. “I’m really looking forward to staying here through the remainder of the season and I’m hoping that it allows me to qualify for the Pan American Games. That’s my main goal right now.”
Holly Shepherd Takes Top Honors in $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby
Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, AL and Barbara Risius’ Longstreet scored an impressive 178 in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby to handily take the class of 23 original entries.
“Both of my horses were really comfortable today and they’re not the most experienced at the 3′ level, but I felt like they really went out there and gave me consistent rounds,” said Shepherd. “I think I was the only trip to do a double inside turn in the handy round on Longstreet to the trot fence which definitely helped add to my score.”
Shepherd, who has dominated the circuit so far at TIEC, continues to accumulate top finishes in both the jumper and hunter rings aboard several different mounts.
“I’ve been riding him since Gulfport in February and we’re planning on doing Tryon for the Summer Series and then we’ll head to Chicago for the Derby at the end of July and of course Derby Finals in Lexington, KY in August,” she stated. “The big plan is to keep doing really well across the board and in the FEI classes for my jumper horses. We’ll have a pretty light week next week, but I have several clients who are shooting for the moon right now,” she smiled.
Continuing the season at TIEC is a highlight for Shepherd, who enjoys the convenience the facility offers to riders with horses in both the jumper and hunter classes throughout the day.
“The horse show has been fantastic both times I’ve been here, including last fall. We’re really happy with everything and everybody has been tremendously nice and so helpful,” commented Shepherd. “The crew is amazing. They help to make my job so much easier. It’s great to be able to have a team to help me balance all of my horses and have a great show staff that is so willing to adjust and work with us.”
Margaret Camp and Cascaron finished in second with a 172 and Paige Caskey aboard Waterford VDL rounded out the top three with a total score of 170.
Competition continues at TIEC with the highlight $127,000 Kingsland FEI CSI 3* Grand Prix tomorrow, May 30, beginning at 7pm and the $25,000 Grand Prix on Sunday, May 31, starting at 2:15pm.
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.