Mill Spring, NC - The inaugural "Saturday Night Lights" Grand Prix at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) served a monumental occasion for the venue, as a large number of members from the local community came to enjoy and support the first evening competition of the season. Brandie Holloway of Topeka, KS, and Lucky Strike topped the highlight class, The $50,000 Tryon Grand Prix. Holloway and Lucky Strike finished the jump-off just over one-hundredth of second faster than Nina Fagerstrom (FIN) and Flower who followed in second. Daniel Geitner and Kenwood finished in third, putting in a fast clear round in 44.719 seconds.
Holloway and Lucky Strike have had somewhat of an unusual beginning to their partnership, as "Lucky" was originally purchased as an equitation horse for Holloway's daughter, Hunter. The 2006 Holsteiner gelding (Lasino x Imandra I) is extremely talented and ended up exceling in the upper level jumpers with Brandie when Hunter took over the ride on her previous Grand Prix mount Any Given Sunday for equitation and hunter classes.
We had originally bought him for Hunter as an equitation horse and he was sidelined with an injury during USET Finals, so she borrowed my Grand Prix horse Any Given Sunday for the equitation," explained Holloway. "She took Sunny down to Palm Beach with her, which left me with Lucky, and I knew he was scopey so we started with the Level 6 and 7 jumpers and at the end of the month we were doing The HITS Million in Ocala."
The gelding cruised around both rounds of the class, flying through the finish in 43.318 seconds in the jump-off to secure the win. Holloway was thrilled with Lucky Strike, who has brought her back to Grand Prix scene in top form.
"It's been a while since I've been back into Grand Prix competition, and it feels awesome," she said. "Even though he's still somewhat green to this level, he is just the biggest hearted horse I've ever sat on. 'No' is not even in his vocabulary. I felt like it was a good course for him because he's big and scopey, and he can be a little catty. You needed a real horse for this class."
The Guilherme Jorge (BRA) designed course had some technical aspects, especially the oxer to oxer combination, which needed a forward and well-balanced ride. Holloway attributes some of Lucky Strike's performance to his excellent equitation background with her daughter Hunter.
"His equitation experience came in nicely because there were several areas where the strides were really open and then you needed to come back, especially from Fence 5 to Fence 6, and he did. He came back so nicely for me through there," she commented. "I just felt like it would be a great course for him and when I saw Candice [King] go in the jump-off I knew I just needed a good gallop because he has a huge step and that was my thought process from there, just smooth and fast."
As a true riding family, sharing is caring according to Brandie, as she detailed how she and Hunter tend to switch off horses and share depending on what they need throughout the season."She's stolen a few of mine, and now I'm going to steal a few of hers," laughed Holloway when asked if Hunter would now take Lucky Strike back for herself. "To be honest when we buy horses, we share them, we both ride them. We always try to buy something that both of us can ride, so if somebody's away we can keep them in training and so forth. We try to buy really conventional horses, the ones that can do everything and do it well."
Holloway and Lucky Strike are qualified for the Grand Prix at Devon Horse Show next week, which will be a highlight in their season schedule this year, but Holloway is looking forward to coming back to TIEC for more competition throughout the year. "We qualified for the Grand Prix at Devon next week, and I didn't ever plan on even competing there. A few months ago I never in the world would have thought that I would have a Grand Prix horse to do at Devon but here we are," she smiled. "But we could not be happier here. This is absolutely beyond our expectations. We're in a cabin down by the barn that is absolutely beautiful, and TIEC will be on our schedule for multiple weeks from here on out. The footing is incredible, and we are just so impressed."
Final Results for $50,000 Tryon Grand Prix
1. LUCKY STRIKE, 2006 Holsteiner gelding by Lasino x Imandra I
BRANDIE HOLLOWAY, Hays Investment Corp.: 0/0/43.318
2. FLOWER, 2005 Belgian Warmblood mare by Bon Ami x Release vh Lindehof
NINA FAGERSTROM, Finca Horses Inc.: 0/0/45.493
3. KENWOOD, 2003 Oldenburg gelding by Kannan x Gertie
DANIEL GEITNER, The Kenwood Syndicate: 0/0/44.719
4. VALINSKI S, 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Ninjinski x Rockina
CANDICE KING, Wyndmont, Inc.: 0/0/45.493
5. KISMET 50, 2001 Belgian Warmblood mare by Kannan x Famosa Z
CANDICE KING, Bellissimo LLC: 0/4/42.606
6. BON GIORNO, 1999 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Acacio 948 x Bon Ami
BRYN SADLER, Showcase 81, LLC: 0/4/44.074
7. BULL RUN'S TESTIFY, 2004 Selle Francais gelding by Dollar Du Murier x Marquise Des Monts
KRISTEN VANDERVEEN, Bull Run Jumpers, Inc.: 1/80.673
8. BALOUMINA DU RY, 2003 Oldenburg mare by Balou Du Rouet x Drosselfee
BRITTNI RAFLOWITZ, ESI Show Jumpers Inc., 3/82.704
For more information on TIEC and a full list of results, please visit www.tryon.com.