Mill Spring, NC- Heather Caristo-Williams (USA) and Wistful, owned by Ralph Caristo, captured a major win in the first FEI class of the week during Tryon Fall 5, hosted on Wednesday, October 14, in the $34,000 Horseware Ireland FEI 1.45m Speed Stake. The duo stopped the timers in 63.86 seconds after finishing a quick and efficient round, which would be unmatched by any other combination in the class boasting 42 entries. Andres Rodriguez (VEN) and Caballito, owned by ARAO Enterprises LLC finished just behind Caristo-Williams in second place with a time of 65.15 seconds. Fellow Venezuelan rider Emanuel Andrade rounded out the top three aboard his own Bon Jovi, crossing through the finish in 65.29 seconds.
"I was really happy with my round today. She did absolutely everything I asked and I really don't think I could have asked for any more from her. She was just so fast and careful. I had seen a couple of people go before me and they went quite fast and I wasn't sure where I would be able to make up the time," said Caristo-Williams.
"When I walked the course before the class I thought it looked great. There were a lot of tight turn backs and I was pleased because my mare just handled them beautifully. It was a fantastic track. When we got to the last jump I was just holding my breath and you always want to go clear but the last jump was tricky and you weren't done until you were all the way through the timers."
Caristo-Williams took the ride on Wistful at the beginning of the winter circuit in 2015 and took an ample amount of time to get to know the 2003 Dutch Warmblood mare (Be A Grand Star x Power Lady) before testing her on the international stage.
"This is one of the biggest tracks that we've done together and I just feel very privileged to work with a mare as talented as she is. We're going to head to Florida a little bit early this year and do some nice trail riding and give her some downtime before the start of next season," explained Caristo-Williams. "I'd love to have her as my speed horse. She seems to love to go fast and she's so careful. I also just love to go fast on her too. I'm very happy to just keep competing her in speed classes and you know if we get to go bigger then we do but if we're very happy and competitive right here than I'm really happy here too."
Caristo-Williams represented the United States in equestrian competition during the Furusiyya FEI Nation's Cup series throughout the summer in Europe, including an appearance for Team USA at the CSIO 3* in Lisbon, Portugal. Continuing to work towards her goal of competing for the United States in major international competition, Caristo-Williams described her surreal summer and the impact it has had on her goals moving forward in the sport.
"My summer has been unbelievable. I keep thinking if I'm dreaming please don't wake me up because all of my horses have really stepped up and the highlight has been being able to compete for the U.S. on Nations Cup teams in Europe this summer. That was really amazing for me and honestly just a dream come true."
Caristo-Williams added comments about her team's experience at TIEC in their first visit to the venue this year, "The show grounds are beautiful and with the barns, where the stalls are, everything is just so well thought out. The complex is incredible and I really think it is just amazing. We're so happy to be here and I'm only sad that it took us this long to get here this year. We're very excited to come back in the future."
Finals Results for $34,000 Horseware Ireland FEI 1.45m Speed Stake:
1. WISTFUL, 2003 Dutch Warmblood mare by Be A Grand Star x Power Lady HEATHER CARISTO-WILLIAMS (USA), Ralph Caristo: 0/63.86
2. CABALLITO, 2002 Oldenburg gelding by Contendro x Arabesque ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (VEN), ARAO Enterprises, LLC: 0/65.29
3. BON JOVI, 2006 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Verdi x Whoopy C EMANUEL ANDRADE (VEN), Emanuel Andrade: 0/65.29
4. CAPALL ZIDANE, 2004 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Concorde x T RONAN MCGUIGAN (IRL), Ronan McGuigan: 0/65.32
5. HICKSTEAD'S AXEL, 2005 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Hickstead x Tiovanna SHARN WORDLEY (NZL), Ashland Stables: 0/66.7
6. SI BELLA, 2006 Selle Francais mare by Diamant de Semilly x Barones ADAM PRUDENT (FRA), Henri Prudent: 0/67.45
7. COSMA 20, 2003 Hanoverian mare by Couleur Rubin x Shakira ABIGAIL MCARDLE (USA), David McArdle: 0/67.49
8. O'SPLENDIDO, 2002 Selle Francais stallion by Burggraaf x Tivoli van het Bellenbos DAVID O'BRIEN (IRL), Spy Coast Farm, LLC: 0/67.62
For more information visit www.tryon.com