Monday, July 21, 2014

Grand Prix

Sunday afternoon we went to Tryon, NC for the $75,000 Grand Prix at the new international horse park. It was amazing! Like watching the Olympics up close. There were two rounds and to qualify for the final jump-off the riders had 83 seconds to jump the course without knocking any of the bars off the jumps. One bar knocked down is four faults, two down is eight faults, etc.

See the pretty mountains in the background?

Look at this jump! The spread (multiple jumps close together) is amazing - the horse really has to stretch out over the jump. It's also known as an oxer. In Grand Prix jumping (the highest level of show jumping) the spread can be up to 6 feet 7 inches. 

The riders were from Canada, Ireland, Germany and the US. The tags in the parking lot were from Ohio to Florida and we heard lots of different accents. The event was sponsored by an Irish company who handed out Irish beer. Ryan was impressed!

Of the 20 riders in the first round, only nine made it through clean to qualify for the jump-off. This round they moved much faster as they only had 54 seconds to complete the course. We moved seats at this point and were sitting right in front of one of the last jumps.

The jumps were over 5 feet tall. And many of the horse cleared them with room to spare. 

Ryan was rooting for this guy - Brian Walker on Tamara - they ended up getting second. 

This is the horse and rider team who won - Jordan Coyne on Lazaro, a Dutch warmblood. 

An overview look at Tryon International Equestrian Center about an hour away from Greenville. This was the first part of a huge resort that is being built here. The announcer said they only broke ground four months ago. We will definitely be going back!

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