Year in Review: Hunter/Jumper Competition at TIEC

Nov 26, 2021 - 1:43 PM

Take a Deep Dive into 2021 Hunter/Jumper Results with Us!

Sarah Madden for TIEC

After a long previous year of virtual events and competitions hosted sans spectators, it follows that the lead story at any equestrian competition venue might be the return to normalcy or record crowds after a pause in participation. While the post-lockdown story is also true, at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Tryon Resort, our media team was struck by a different trend: 2021 saw a remarkable number of winning streaks, repeats, and “firsts” by competitors. From the Welcome Series in March to the waning ends of the Tryon Fall Series in November, the similarities in results and trends from highlight competitions were undeniable, across all levels and seasons.

Meet Your Tour Guide

As the PR & Marketing Manager at TIEC, I write, edit, and publish hundreds of press releases per year, and our team spends the whole season interviewing riders in every ring, from pony kids to Olympians. As the last ribbons are awarded and the competition season pauses until the next calendar year, I’m taking a look back at the thrilling back-to-back wins, milestone moments, and consistent winners at Tryon in 2021. Read below to see what trends I found among FEI and National Grands Prix, Sunday Classics, Welcome Stakes, Speed Stakes and Power & Speed Stakes, plus National and International Hunter Derbies.

Disclaimer: While I pored over thousands of results from selected classes to create this recap, I can almost guarantee that I missed something amazing in all of these wild trends. I believe that only makes this year’s equestrian sport that much more amazing! Let’s see what jumped out at me – and into the headlines – this season at TIEC.

When you’re hot, you’re hot!

More than ever this year, we saw riders holding onto winning streaks for class after class, week after week. These hot streaks occurred in every series, starting off with Doug Payne (more on that below!) and Taylor Land in the Tryon Welcome Series. Taylor Land (USA) and Get Go topped two national Grand Prix competitions in a row, scoring first in the $15,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix and $25,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix during Tryon Welcome 3 and Tryon Welcome 4. Land and Get Go would go on to claim a third national Grand Prix win during Tryon Fall 1, landing the $25,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix in addition to winning the $5,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake the same week. 

DSC_7738-2Taylor Land and Get Go
©TIEC

“Grumbles,” is one of Land’s younger horses that stepped up after her other rides incurred injuries, and has started competing at the FEI level this year and continues to excel at national contests. “I actually moved him up to some FEI classes here [at TIEC] this summer,” Land shared in the fall. “It was so fun! He did his first two and three-star here in July. He’s such a special boy and he loves Tryon. He’s been jumping here since he was a young horse, so he always feels really comfortable in this ring.”

The Tryon Spring Series was packed with repeat winners, including Erynn Ballard’s (CAN) incredible nine-class podium streak throughout Tryon Spring 4, Tryon Spring 5, and Tryon Spring 6 with a deep string of horses: with Ceitasi, in the $25,000 Tryon Resort Sunday Classic; aboard Really Electra Xango – a brand-new mount! – in both the $6,000 Power & Speed Stake CSI 2* and $6,000 Speed Stake CSI 2* competitions; riding Bettina des Celtes in the $37,000 Power & Speed Stake CSI 3*; and with Classic Penny in the $37,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 2*. The only classes she didn’t win? The $73,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix CSI 2*, riding Classic Penny… in which she placed second. Plus, her third place podium finish in Tryon Spring 5’s $37,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 3*, riding Gakhir

BALLARDERYNNGakhirCAN-TR21brinkman6-3j1-3190Erynn Ballard and Gakhir
©Shannon Brinkman Photography

But wait: there’s more! Tryon Spring 6 saw even more podium placings from Ballard, collecting reserve in the $37,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 3* aboard Gakhir (improving their podium placing from the week prior), while she earned reserve in the $25,000 Tryon Resort Sunday Classic riding Verdict De Kezeg for a grand total of NINE podium finishes over three weeks. Talk about consistency!

“It never hurts to walk in the ring with three wins and one podium finish under your belt,” Ballard (CAN) admitted after collecting her fourth win in a row. “Also, when you have weeks like this, it’s very easy to be confident. It’s a lot easier to be confident when you’re riding off wins than when you’re not. We have to remember that it doesn’t happen all the time!”

But, contrary to Ballard’s belief that repeats are rare, the streaks did not stop with her in the Tryon Spring Series. Likely one of the only riders capable of cutting Ballard’s winning streak short, Kent Farrington (USA) and Orafina collected a pair of back-to-back wins of their own during Tryon Spring 5, claiming both the $37,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 3* and the $25,000 Tryon Resort Sunday Classic

FarringtonKentOrafinaUSA-TR21brinkman6-3j1-2926Kent Farrington and Orafina
©Shannon Brinkman Photography

For Farrington, his duo of wins showed him what the talented young mare could do at the lower levels, all as part of his development program, he explained. “She’s unbelievably careful, and she just needs rounds and experiences to grow her confidence. I’m really happy with her for the week,” he said. “I work, even when the classes aren’t very big like today, to teach them to follow the lines so that as they grow in their career they have experience rolling back short to fences, angling jumps, and things like that, as part of the evolution of producing a top-level horse.”

TR21brinkman6-5GP2-8553Ashlee Bond and Donatello 141
©Shannon Brinkman Photography

Tryon Spring 6 belonged to two riders in particular: Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Aaron Vale (USA). Bond and Donatello 141 grabbed the win in the Tryon Spring 5 $137,000 Cleghorn Gun Club Grand Prix CSI 3* to kickstart her streak, which included wins in the $25,000 Tryon Resort Sunday Classic and the $6,000 Speed Stake CSI 3*. “It’s been such a great time here,” Bond reflected after a successful three weeks. “My horses have performed really well. The footing is unbelievable. The environment has been really nice. I really love it; I can’t wait to come back here!” 

Vale-Elusive-web-slider-700x393Aaron Vale and Elusive
©Shannon Brinkman Photography

Aaron Vale and Elusive were unbeatable in Tryon Spring 6 competition, claiming back-to-back CSI 3* wins: the $137,000 Cleghorn Golf & Sports Club Grand Prix CSI 3* and the $37,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 3*. How yet another rider was able to dominate multiple highlight classes with Ashlee Bond AND Erynn Ballard still competing at the venue is just baffling, but Elusive was up to the challenge! 

If Erynn Ballard’s never-ending streak of podium placings left you puzzled, just wait until you learn what Conor Swail (IRL) was able to accomplish during the Summer Series! Over a period of three weeks, Swail brought home six WINS in a row, not counting numerous additional podium finishes. Swail concluded Summer 4 competition with a win in the $25,000 Tryon Resort Sunday Classic riding Koss Van Heiste before tackling Summer 5 in full force; Friday saw Swail win the $6,000 Speed Stake CSI 2* with Theo 160, while Swail and Vital Chance De La Roque won the $73,000 Cleghorn Gun Club Grand Prix CSI 2*. Collecting three wins in three days? Yes, all it took was a win in the $25,000 Tryon Resort Sunday Classic with Koss Van Heiste to seal the deal on the Tryon Summer 5 Hat Trick. 

07/07/2021 ; Tryon NC ; Tryon Summer 4Conor Swail and Koss Van Heiste
©Sportfot

Tryon Summer 6 was also good to Swail, starting off right away with a $37,000 Power & Speed Stake CSI 3* win aboard Count Me In. By the end of the week, Swail also grabbed the blue ribbon in yet another $25,000 Tryon Resort Sunday Classichis third Sunday win in a row! - aboard Theo 160. 

You mean there are still MORE winning streaks?! 

Oh, yeah. The Tryon Fall Series brought some impressive repeat victories in its own right. At this point, the TIEC media team was just watching and waiting for the next streak, after seeing so many unbelievable hat tricks and double hat tricks and streaks that defied all odds. Cathleen Driscoll (USA) won her first National Grand Prix EVER during Fall 3 with Blue Diamant, a great moment by itself, and then made a run of it by grabbing a second $25,000 Tryon Resort Sunday Classic win just a week later with Flotylla

IMG_8746Cathleen Driscoll and Flotylla
©TIEC/Reagan Ibach

After notching her first-ever Grand Prix win just a week prior, then following suit on a second mount to close out Tryon Fall 4, Driscoll joked that she was “leaving, so someone else can win! The last two weeks have been pretty unbelievable. At the end of every day, I just have to stop and remind myself that at some point this is going to end,” Driscoll acknowledged of her hot streak at the venue. “I just have such an unbelievable group of horses right now, and owners and sponsors and supporters behind me. I feel so blessed to be here and be doing this and be doing as well as I am at the moment.”

Samuel Parot (CHI) and Koblenz van de Vinusakker won the Tryon Fall 3 $37,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 2*, with Parot hitting repeat just one week later to dominate Tryon Fall 4’s $37,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 3* aboard Dubai

Tryon Fall 4 made more of our repeat win wishes come true for Daniel Pedraza Littlewood (MEX), who rode Santa Rosa Yalta to win both the $37,000 Power & Speed Stake CSI 3* and the $6,000 Speed Stake CSI 3*. “This is our first win with her, so we’re really happy!” Pedraza Littlewood revealed after his Power & Speed Stake win. “I knew it was a good course for her because she has a really big stride and turns really fast.”

Tanner Korotkin (USA) notched his first FEI win ever in Tryon Fall 5, winning the $37,000 Power & Speed Stake CSI 3* aboard Deauville S before earning a back-to-back win in Thursday’s $37,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 3*, this time aboard Volo’s Diamond. But Fall 5 also held a set of repeat wins in store for Margie Engle (USA), who guided mount Cesna M to his first FEI win in the $2,000 Power & Speed Stake CSI 3* on Wednesday before following up with a $6,000 Speed Stake CSI 3* victory on Friday. 

IMG_8054Margie Engle and Cesna M
©TIEC/Natalie Suto

Multi-discipline Magic

Before Doug Payne (USA) made it to Tokyo as part of the US Eventing Team, he came out in full force during Tryon Welcome 2. At the same time he was winning in the Jumping arenas, Payne was also bouncing back and forth to ride Dressage tests, galloping over the White Oak Cross-Country Course, putting in even more clear show jumping rounds, and even coaching at the Fork at TIEC. Payne and Quintessence claimed both the $15,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix and the $5,000 Welcome Stake at Tryon Welcome 2, while Payne dominated the ProElite® CCI 4*-S Division with Vandiver, his eventual Tokyo mount. 

IMG_0357-2Doug Payne and Quintessence
©TIEC

Payne and Vandiver were later named to Team USA while competing at TIEC in the Jumpers during Tryon Spring 4 competition, honored in a surprise ceremony at Saturday Night Lights.  During Tryon August 1, Payne and Quantum Leap earned a win in the $5,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake, just after returning from Tokyo. 

Hunter-Holloway-action-web1-700x393Hunter Holloway and Pepita Con Spita
©TIEC/Natalie Suto

Tryon Fall 3 was a winning week for Hunter Holloway (USA) in both Jumper and Hunter rings, where she earned a win in the $73,000 JTWG, Inc. Grand Prix CSI 2*  as well as in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Brooke Kemper (USA) was also a formidable force in both Hunter and Jumper disciplines, winning the Tryon Summer 5 $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby just before placing second in Saturday night’s $137,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3*.

664_1501-2Brooke Kemper and La Vida Loca
©Sportfot

The award for most consistent winning pair goes to…

Despite being a first-year Hunter horse, MTM Lolah LOL has risen to the top of the nation’s International Hunter Derby Earnings leaderboard in 2021, influenced largely by her two International Hunter Derby wins at TIEC with Dorothy Douglas (USA). Their first TIEC victory of the season was during Tryon Spring 6 in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, where the duo contested a strong field of 18 entries. Douglas and Lolah grabbed a third place finish in Tryon Summer 4’s $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, returning to the top of the podium in Tryon Fall 4’s $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Douglas and Lolah are the only horse-and-rider pair to duplicate International Hunter Derby wins at TIEC in the same year, and the fact that she’s brand-new to the Hunter discipline makes this feat even more impressive. I can’t wait to see what this mare does next!

DouglasMTM-LOLAH-LOLTJ21brinkman6-11jH4-1253Dorothy Douglas and MTM Lolah LOL
©Shannon Brinkman Photography

Hunter Holloway (USA) and Pepita Con Spita captured *three* FEI Grand Prix wins in 2021, making them the first duo to do so at TIEC in one calendar year. (Nobody has yet caught up to Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili’s career record of six FEI Grand Prix wins together, but Sharn Wordley (NZL) has twice collected two wins on the same horse within the same calendar year). Holloway and Pepita Con Spita captured the first FEI Grand Prix of 2021 in May, winning the $73,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix CSI 2*. Holloway and the mare claimed a second CSI 2* win in October, going first in the jump-off and staving off five other contestants to win the $73,000 JTWG, Inc. Grand Prix CSI 2*. Just one week later, the duo went first in the jump-off again, this time notching a CSI 3* win in the $137,000 Coca-Cola® Grand Prix CSI 3*

Hunter-Holloway-700x393Hunter Holloway and Pepita Con Spita
©TIEC/Natalie Suto

After every winning ride, Holloway emphasized her horse’s talent and cat-like reflexes over the jumps. “She’s super careful, super catty, and she is really good at going fast. I knew I definitely had a horse that was up to the task as long as I rode a good round. She’s always game to go fast, so I just let her rip!”

03TRYON_210521_MClark012-2Tori Colvin and Ipso Facto
©McKenzie Clark

Victoria Colvin (USA) gets an honorable mention in the consistency category, claiming Hunter Derby wins during both Tryon Spring 3 and Tryon Spring 5. Colvin collected a $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby win aboard Ipso Facto before earning a $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby win with Acclaim two weeks later. Beyond Douglas’ double International Hunter Derby wins, Colvin was the only rider to claim two derby wins at TIEC in 2021. 

First-Time Winners

2021 competition resulted in a notable number of first-time winners, including numerous riders claiming their first FEI wins, first Grand Prix wins, and more. Here’s a recap of some of just a few first-time podium toppers we saw in Tryon Stadium this season. 

186203810_2853741978208856_2159485409765544461_n-2Zayna Rizvi and Excellent
©TIEC

Young riders and young professionals scored big in 2021. Fifteen-year-old Zayna Rizvi is no stranger to the winner’s circle, nor to TIEC, but she claimed her first-ever Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake win during Tryon Spring 4 aboard Excellent. “Sometimes I definitely get nervous because a lot of the riders [I’m competing against] have done this multiple times, and I’m just kind of starting with the bigger classes, but I trust my horses so much, and I know they’re always going to have my back, so also, not really!” As we’ve already mentioned but can’t omit here, Tanner Korotkin claimed his first FEI win in Tryon Fall 5, then made it a double-podium week for good measure. 

Summer-3-GP_Kayla-800x450-700x393Kayla Savard and Bogota Nantuel
©Sportfot

First-time FEI Grand Prix winners Kayla Savard (USA) and Brittni Raflowitz (ISR) did so in exciting fashion: Savard broke a tie in the jump-off to claim the $73,000 Cleghorn Golf & Sports Club Grand Prix CSI 2* win in her first class under the lights. Raflowitz, a frequent competitor in Tryon Stadium and beyond, combined with her longtime partner Hilton van de Breepoel for their first FEI Grand Prix win on “home turf” in the $137,000 Night in the Country Grand Prix CSI 3*.I love Tryon. It’s one of our favorite horse shows. We have a farm ten minutes away from here. Really, it’s home for us, and that makes this win all the more exciting!” she shared. “I’m just so grateful to my whole entire team and to my horse. My horse is my heart and my soul, and I am just so happy that my first FEI Grand Prix win could be with him. To hear my country’s national anthem for the first time on the podium, I got so teary eyed. So now, we go home, we go back to work, and we see what happens next time!”

655_3472-2Brittni Raflowitz and Hilton van de Breepoel
©Sportfot

The Tryon Fall Series initiated several riders to the winner’s circle at the National Grand Prix level, including Jacqueline Ruyle (USA) and Cathleen Driscoll (USA). Ruyle grabbed her win under the lights in Tryon Fall 2’s $30,000 Nutrena Grand Prix, after a summer of learning the ropes at the Grand Prix level with San Chano. “We started jumping Grand Prix classes in the Spring. Here, in the Tryon Summer Series I had an amazing summer with him. I did my first FEI class, jumped a lot of clear rounds, placed in every class, and I was thrilled,” Ruyle recapped. “This is our first week back after the summer, and we picked up pretty much where we left off!” Meanwhile, as previously noted above, Driscoll earned her first Grand Prix win during Tryon Fall 3, repeating her winning performance just a week later. 

IMG_5519Jacqueline Ruyle and San Chano
©TIEC/Natalie Suto

Podium Crashers

2021 had its share of podium crashers. You know them well: the athletes who snag one or more podium ribbons in a single class, reflecting a deep string but also consistent talent in the irons. Here are just a few that caught my attention this year: 

629_5382-2David Blake and Hazel Rah
©Sportfot

Conor Swail (IRL), in addition to winning every class in sight during the Tryon Summer Series, placed second and third in the $37,000 Power & Speed Stake CSI 3* during Tryon Spring 6 as a precursor to his string of wins. David Blake (IRL) also scored first and second with his horses to take a chunk of the purse money home in the $5,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake during Tryon Summer 1. He would later walk away with a podium finish in the $25,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix just a few days later. After winning his way through the Tryon Spring 6, Aaron Vale (USA) brought multiple horses to the podium during Summer 5 competition, taking first and third in the $37,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 2*

Doug Payne (USA), returned from Tokyo in fighting form to grab first, third, fourth AND fifth in a single class – the $5,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake during Tryon August 1 competition. Abigail McArdle (USA) accomplished a similar feat, earning second, third, and fourth place in the $25,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix during Tryon Fall 1. 

Tommi-Clark-and-Extravagant-700x393Tommi Clark and Extravagant
©TIEC/Madison Ibach

There were stacked podiums in the Hunter rings, too! Tommi Clark (USA), a competitive Hunter Derby specialist at TIEC, bookended the podium during Tryon Fall 1’s $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby. “This is his first Derby win,” Clark revealed about her winning ride, Extravagant. “He’s been kind of right in there, so I’ve been waiting for him to break through. I don’t like to have favorites, but he’s my favorite horse, so it’s really cool to see him come through and have his first big win.” Augusta Iwasaki’s (USA) $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby double-podium finish, however, stands out as the most impressive of the season. This young rider not only piloted two rides to the very top of international derby competition, but did so on the exact weekend she accomplished the SAME results in 2020, where she took the top two honors in the 2020 Tryon Fall 5 $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Though the horses she rode were slightly different, her stunning results were the same.

HB7A8341Augusta Iwasaki and Attendu De Lannois Z
©TIEC/Bailey Beck

The Biggest Question… HOW?

There’s no way to know for sure what contributed to these remarkable repeats, streaks and consistencies, especially considering the ever-rotating roster of competitors, officials, competition ratings, and more throughout the calendar year. We saw familiar faces as well as brand-new ones achieve these stunning results, at numerous levels and throughout all seasons of Hunter/Jumper competition at TIEC. To walk into the ring at all is a feat worth celebrating in my book, which makes this year’s super-winners even more special.

Replay the Action You Missed! 

Of course, these are just a few of the incredible moments that unfolded in the Hunter and Jumper rings at TIEC this season, and this recap is a close-up on just one of the many equestrian sports hosted here throughout the competition calendar. Thankfully, if you missed any of these highlights, you can find live streaming from the entire season at www.tryon.com/streaming and watch your favorite horse-and-rider combos on-demand. 

Thank you for diving into the world of equestrian sports with us this season, and stay tuned for more exciting news, features and announcements to come in 2022! View 2022 competition information at www.Tryon.com/compete

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