I was already excited to return to Tryon after experiencing it for the first time during the Spring series, but the USHJA Child/Adult Jumper Regionals they were hosting made Tryon Summer 2 a special weekend. The South Regionals consisted of both Children’s and Adult’s classes with riders from Zones 3 and 4 competing. Zone 3 covers Virginia, Maryland, D.C., Delaware, West Virginia and North Carolina, and Zone 4 covers Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and South Carolina.
The Regional rounds were held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Prior to the start of competition, there was an official horse inspection, just as there would be during an FEI event. Day One (Friday) was the first individual qualifying class. Day Two had a two round Nation’s Cup format, two rounds per rider over an identical course, for the Team Championship which doubly served as the second qualifying class for the individual championship. Day Three (Sunday) was the individual championship which concluded with the third individual qualifying class. All four full courses were speed classes with no fewer than twelve jumping efforts – one round Friday, two Saturday and one on Sunday. The Team Championship presentation was on Saturday and the Individual Championship presentation was on Sunday. The scores obtained by the riders were converted into points and calculated with penalties to determine the leaders.
The event gives younger riders an exciting opportunity to compete under the same format and guidelines as internationally sanctioned competitions and championships like NAJYRC very early on in their riding careers. The riders who participated also seemed to have a ton of fun, so I’m excited to share the action with you here!
One interesting aspect of the competition was that the course designer actually used the exact same course for the Grand Prix event on Saturday night for Sunday’s culminating individual competition, encouraging riders to come out and study the course under the lights before competing in the lowered version of it the next day.
One detail I really enjoyed is that each rider’s introduction by the announcer included a few sentences of biographical information about them and their horses. It added a personal touch to the competition, for example one rider was headed to Vanderbilt University in the fall and her horse was a big fan of Little Debbie’s Oatmeal Creme Pies.
The storm clouds rolled in on Saturday, giving some of the riders much more difficult courses than others as the torrential downpour came and went.
One funny coincidence is that the first and second place finishers’ horses, Ontario and Coritano, were 19 years old, and older than the riders themselves!
Here’s winner Will Kennedy with his dad, Oliver. Oliver is an announcer working at Tryon right now (and has also announced at WEF, WIHS, Pony Finals, and more), and he was actually working the event that Will won. It was truly a special moment when you could hear the emotion in Oliver’s voice as he announced Will’s win in the individual championship. Of course, Will’s first stop after the awards ceremony was the announcer’s tower.
I’m thrilled that this event was held at Tryon as everyone who participated seemed to enjoy themselves. My fingers are crossed that as the facilities grow Tryon will attract similar championship events for young riders who will return time and time again until they’re eventually competing under the lights on Saturday nights!