Scenes from Tryon Summer 3

Unlike in the Spring when I only had the chance to experience Tryon for one week (see that post here), this summer I was able to stay for two weeks and experience double the number of fun moments throughout the bustling Tryon Summer series. If you missed it, here are the scenes from Tryon Summer 2. After Tryon Summer 3, I drove to Lexington, KY for the North American Junior & Young Rider Championships (hence the slight delay on this post!), and there was a loooong train of cars traveling from NC to KY along with me on Monday the 13th. I counted at least five horse trailers within the first hour. I think it’s great that so many barns were at Tryon during the weeks prior in order to prepare for the championship, and the competitiveness of the classes during Tryon Summer could also speak for itself. But in between the hustle of the show day and a busy summer season, there were plenty of little moments to be captured, memories to be made, and faces to meet…

The show week started with the usual preparations.

Extensive research at Tryon has proven that having carrots waiting at the in-gate can improve your jumper’s speed by 90%.

Thursday morning’s $34,000 Welcome Stake featured a course that was causing all sorts of trouble for the 34 entries. Alison Robitaille, 20th in the order, was the first to go clear aboard Cassinja. No one else seemed to be able to conquer the course, with six other riders missing the cut by only one time fault. Enter David Blake and Binkie, winners of the Tryon Summer 1 Grand Prix and last to go in the order. David guided Binkie to a smooth clear round to force a jump off at the last minute, and gained the advantage as the second rider to go. Alison went for it in the jump off but had a rail down, setting up David’s steady clear round for the win.

Alison Robitaille was all smiles after her 2nd place finish.

David Blake and Binkie snatched another victory as the last to go.

This rider was bringing milkshakes from Roger’s Diner back to the barn for her friends. It was a very warm day and I had to restrain myself from asking if one was for me.

Horses and riders alike were staying hydrated between rounds.

Why a picture of this oxer with a rail down? Well, in one of the $34,000 Prix events over the weekend this rail mysteriously fell out of nowhere when the rider was about four jumps past it on course. This led to scrambling by all parties to see if it counted as a rail down. Unfortunately, it did.

I was walking toward the barns when this scene unfolded in front of me. ESI Show Jumpers rider Brittni Raflowitz gives her mare, “Queen B”, a hug as she heads out of her stall area toward the schooling rings.

Brittni and “B” were preparing to leave for the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships the following week.

Haley Gassel gives Kady Abrahamson a high five as Kady heads into the ring for her victory gallop after winning the week’s $5,000 Medium Jr/AO Classic.

This guy was napping in the judge’s booth and conveniently used the chair blocking his exit as a headrest.

There are all kinds of competitive pony classes at Tryon and I started scoping out the talent in preparation for Pony Finals.

This patient little brother was recording his sister’s round.

A trainer shouts last minute instructions as this pair heads down the line away from the in-gate.

“Can I take a picture of you with your pony?” “Which one?”

Junior rider Grace Howard competed in the Low Juniors for the first time and went double clear. In the background, her mom successfully catches it all on the iPad.

Trainer Jack Towell meets the smiling pair at the in-gate afterward.

I met Haley Gassel and Werner 61, aka “The Worm” before one of the two U25 Grand Prix events of the weekend.

Kira Kerkorian after taking the lead in the first U25 Prix of the week with a strong jump off.

Lucas Porter goes clear in his first round of the U25 before a big lightning strike nearby forced him to postpone his jump off.

During the rain delay, these guys arrived laughing at Ring 5 with water to water the plants… of all things.

Always time to catch up on a good book during a rain delay.

With the conditions quite different since he was last in the ring, Lucas prepares for his mid-downpour jump off.

It should come as no surprise that Lucas and Phineas had a great round, going clear but missing Kira’s leading time by half a second.

It appeared Kira had bested the class until Haley Gassel and Quite Dark 2 entered as the last to go. Haley went clear in her first round, then had a pristine jump off, stretching out here to hit the timer on the last jump and beating Kira’s time by only one tenth of a second.


Quite Dark 2, aka “Q.D.” cheesin’ after the win.

On Saturday, horses and grooms alike found relief from the heat under the shade of the wash areas.

Prepping lemonades for Saturday Night Lights.

The Saturday Night Lights during Tryon Summer 3 was “beach” themed, and there was also a very lively shag dancing competition.

As well as a competitive sandcastle building competition.

After much anticipation, the on-site coffee shop, Openroad Coffee, opened on Saturday.

Openroad is very popular local coffee shop that has a number of special creations, such as the beige latte. The owner, Stan Yoder (pictured), said the beige latte is a blend of vanilla, hazelnut, and maple, and it’s all based in agave. Openroad makes all of their syrups in house.

Stan spoke of Openroad becoming a part of Equestrian Center, “It’s pretty cool to be a part of this. When you’re here and you’re seeing the horses and everything around you, you can forget where you are. You can check out and be like, I’ve gone away for awhile. So that’s the fun part of it. I love [Tryon’s] drive for the locals as well. It’s special.”

It also has one of the best ring views of the entire show grounds.

I had to get a picture of these two with their matching Tryon riding discipline t-shirts before they did their carousel ride.

…and of their dad holding all of their stuff while they rode.

Tractors complete the ring drag and the sun continues to dip behind the mountains before the evening’s main event.

Local junior rider Emily Kocher took some time out of her busy show schedule to sing the national anthem.

It was another beautiful night under the lights at Tryon.

…and both horses and riders were ready to go!

Stop me if you’ve heard this before… but Schuyler Riley and Dobra De Porceyo made it two Saturday Night Lights wins in a row.

The next day, the hustle and bustle of the show continued. This horse still made time to stop and snuggle his rider during a busy day.

Studying the course for the second U25 Grand Prix of the week.

Keely McIntosh and Accordance (aka Pepe) after going clear.

In the end, Kira would exact revenge and win after Haley made another late challenge but dropped a rail on the final jump of the jump off.

“This is Panda.” “Is that his show name too?” “No, his show name is Panda Shamu.”

There was also a Hunter Derby during Tryon Summer 3.

Josh Dolan had an impressive victory in the Hunter Derby. You may also know him as one of the dads of the insta-famous “Peeps” the mini dwarf mare.

Two thumbs up waiting at the in-gate!

Okay, a little random, but these riding socks are awesome.

Candice King gives Bugatti VDL a treat after a solid round.

This rider had just finished a senate page program in Washington D.C. and it was her first show back.

And this is her horse’s waiting for the jog face.

And this, is the best license plate I’ve ever seen.

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