Mill Spring, NC - Catherine Tyree (USA) and Bokai rode to victory on the first day of FEI competition at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), kicking-off a competitive week of competition during Tryon May I.
The duo bested the $35,000 Suncast® Commerical 1.45m Welcome Stake CSI 2* with a jump-off time of 39.52 seconds, ahead of Santiago Lambre (MEX) and Hip Living who finished their short course in 41.98 seconds. Nick Dello Joio (USA) and Contiki rounded out the top three, crossing through the timers in 42.15 seconds. The Tryon May Series will continue through Sunday, May 28, featuring four weeks of international and national hunter, jumper, and equitation competition.
Tyree and Bokai, a 2006 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Up To Date x Olympic Ferro) owned by Mary Tyree, made their mark on the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit in Wellington, FL, representing the United States in FEI Nations' Cup competition and amassing an impressive list of top results in some of the most competitive classes throughout the winter season. The pair, who have taken time off from competing since the eleventh week of WEF, returned to the George H. Morris Arena in fine form to earn their first victory at TIEC.
"He had a nice long break after WEF. He felt really fresh and was jumping well today. He was a bit aggressive in the first round, but I couldn't have been happier with him and the way he went," said Tyree. "I really wanted to try and win today. I usually just want to set him up with a class before trying to go for the win in a qualifier, but I just wanted to go with it today and see how he would handle the pressure."
The pair managed to best a class of 25 entries as they prepare for tomorrow's $35,000 1.45m Tryon Challenge CSI 2*, the qualifying event for the $86,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix CSI 2* on Saturday, May 6. Thirteen pairs advanced to the jump-off track, while six pairs earned a double clear effort on the afternoon. Richard Jeffery (GBR) will serve as the FEI course designer for the week and presented a solid track on the first day of international competition at the venue.
"He really is such a smart horse. It only took three shows for us to really figure each other out. He adapted to my style of riding quickly and I met him halfway," explained Tyree. "Every time we go into the ring, I have such confidence with him. Jumping those Saturday night classes at WEF made me feel like our partnership was established and I always just feel comfortable when I'm in the ring with him."
Tyree and Bokai will now look to finish off their week of competition with competitive finishes in both tomorrow's class and the grand prix on Saturday, featuring the first "Saturday Night Lights" of the calendar year for spectators and equestrian enthusiasts. Tyree is looking forward to the potential of Saturday's class and thinks that it will be good exposure for the pair before they continue on with their summer travels.
"This facility is phenomenal. It's the first time that we've been here and I would love to come back and show here again. Everything is done right and the ring has a good feel to it. The seats sitting above the ring make it feel like you're the center of attention. I think that feeling like you're below everything else will make Saturday's class have a really nice and intense atmosphere," she commented. "He's always been such a great horse with his previous riders and for me. He's a phenomenal athlete and I'm really excited to see where our summer goes from here."
Competition at TIEC continues tomorrow with the $35,000 1.45m Tryon Challenge CSI 2* in George H. Morris Arena, beginning at 8:00 a.m. For more information on TIEC, please visit www.tryon.com.