Jenny Caras and Trendy Fernhill Top Tryon International CCI4*-S Division

CarasTR20brinkman11-15x1ag-8612Jenny Caras and Trendy Fernhill. Photo by Alison Green for Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Jenny Caras and Trendy Fernhill carried their lead through to the finish in the CCI4*-S division, adding 20.80 penalties for time to their cross-country run and still keeping the lead score of 47.80. In second, Joe Meyer and Clip Clop, the 2003 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Crosstown Dancer x Wolverlife) owned by Madison Foote, Theresa Foote and John Meyer, cleared the White Oak Course with 12.40 time penalties for a total score of 48.50. Rounding out the top three, Nobie Cannon (USA) and Bust A Groove, her own 2004 Thoroughbred gelding (Busterwaggley x Groovy), were by far the closest to making the time on a muddy course, adding only eight time penalties for a total score of 52.20.

Caras mentioned that it was only the third Advanced competition for the 2011 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Ars Vivendi x Cruising) owned by Elyse Eisenberg, and that the atmosphere only added some nice spark to an already nice dressage test. “I was going for consistency and no mistakes, and I was happy with him overall,” she recalled. “He couldn’t have been better in the show jumping. I know that it can be hard to make the time in that ring, and he has a long stride and can be a bit slow, so I went in and rode forward. He’s such a great jumper and it’s nice to be able to just focus on the riding and the plan.”

Caras ended up walking the White Oak cross-country course many times due to schedule changes that occurred throughout, and said that the Tryon team “made cross-country happen in impossible circumstances. I couldn’t be happier with the way he handled the course. He was a little spooky in the first combination and so I just put him on his feet and kept him together. He finished well and confident, which I think is the most important thing.”

Caras concluded, “I think all of the riders are very grateful to Tryon for stepping in to host this event. All of the effort that they put in to make it so we could run cross-country was appreciated from all sides. It’s truly a privilege to be able to compete here.”

meyerTR20brinkman11-15xcTM-8150Joe Meyer and Clip Clop. Photo by Tanner Messer for Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Meyer rose from 15th after dressage with Clip Clop, who he called a “super quirky” ride but one that has serious talent. “He’s an awesome horse. I was originally sent him to be sold. He’s super quirky and has thrown me off time after time. He’s gotten better and better, and we’ve formed a partnership. Now, he’s done five-star competitions!”

The nearly-17-year-old acts more like a four-year-old, Meyer revealed, and has recently found a new level in the show jumping phase: “He’s fantastic. He’s always been a good show jumper, but now that he’s gotten older he’s awesome. It gives you an amazing sense of confidence as well. He’s hot on the flat, and that’s his only drawback. I do think that if he could do dressage as relaxed as he does at home, I would have an Olympic horse. I guess that’s just how it goes. There are only certain people that can ride him.”

Like many competitors, Meyer and Clip Clop found the Chimney Rock Combination to be a bit trickier than expected, in part due to Clip Clop’s drive to get through the flags at a faster pace than Meyer intended. “It’s funny, because I watched and watched yesterday, and had an idea in my head of what was going to go on, but it didn’t work out that way. I thought for sure I’d just pop down the Chimney Rock combination in five strides, and then another four [to the third wedge]. I went quiet to the top and saw a going distance, waited for one stride, he popped in, then just rocket-shipped down the hill,” Meyer recapped. “He landed and balanced and knew what he was doing because he’s experienced. He did one stride, slipped, but then picked himself right back up and looked for the flags!

“I want to thank everybody at Tryon: the organizers, officials, volunteers, and everyone else, for the effort that they put into getting the cross-country running,” Meyer concluded. “What they did was unbelievable! The course is beautiful. A massive thank you to everybody.”

CannonTR20brinkman11-15x2ag-19538Nobie Cannon and Bust A Groove. Photo by Tamer Messer for Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Cannon and “Busta” were the fastest pairs on course Sunday, and she reported that she felt comfortable with the footing even after a full day of competition running on the course the day prior. “Boy, the crew at Tryon did a crazy job getting the course back to where the footing was runnable,” she emphasized. “It was muddy in spots, but nothing that I felt was dangerous. We just went for it! He didn’t slip or anything. I was actually surprised when I looked down at my minute marker and wasn’t as far off as I usually am. It was exciting!”

Cannon is carefully considering when to retire her mount, and says that his performance this weekend couldn’t have been any better. “The dressage is never our strong point. We’ve been working really hard on it this year, since there haven’t been a ton of shows. He put in a really good test. He tried and he really stayed with me. With the show jumping, I got nervous in that atmosphere, to be honest. I could’ve ridden better to avoid those two rails that we had, but such is life! I think he could go a little longer, but I think we’re pretty close to the end for him because he’s done everything I could’ve asked from him. It was really cool that we got to end this way.”

A frequent competitor at TIEC, Cannon and Busta contested their first Advanced together at the Blue Ridge Mountain Horse Trials last September, and it felt fitting to conclude his career – for now, at least – at one of their favorite venues. “We keep coming back. The footing is great and the courses are always challenging, but ride well. I like that we can go eat at the restaurants. Tryon is a fun destination.”

MARS Tryon International: WebsiteFinal ScoresCoverage

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Coverage of Tryon International this weekend is brought to you by Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE). Diversity and inclusion in all equestrian sports are important, and we’ll be bringing you tidbits on what this new organization hopes to accomplish.