Tryon, NC - Life long horseman and seasoned course designer John Manning put top horse and rider combinations to the test this past weekend during the $25,000 Grand-Prix in Tryon, North Carolina. Manning believes that having extensive show jumping experience gives him an advantage building an appropriately challenging course.
"A rider understands what is a reasonable question to ask a horse and rider and what nuances in a course allow the best to rise to the top," Manning said." He continued, "I believe a safe, exciting and fair competition is what most course designers want. You hope both horse and rider are better for having competed over your course. We want to test their power, agility, speed, flexibility as well as courage."
Renowned young horse trainer Derek Petersen and his newly imported 10-year-old Belgium Warmblood, Forgiven, conquered the courses, taking home top honors in the class.
"It wasn't super huge but it was technical," Petersen said. "The vertical-to-vertical combination was short, and a lot of people had trouble with that. The out was a little bit difficult for people. It was an 1.50m out."
"I attempted to encourage the riders to think forward with a need to shorten midway and left a bending line option at the end," Manning noted about the challenging obstacles he included in the course.
Petersen knew the course would test the riders' limits. He was pleasantly surprised by the bond he and his new mount have formed, enabling them to make it to the top of the class.
"I imported him less than a month ago," he said. "I only saw videos of him before buying him and thought I could bring him over and sell him really quick. He impressed me. It was a good track and he didn't mind it being a little bigger."
"God blesses me more than I deserve," Petersen said. "I get to do what I love for a living. You never work a day in your life if you do what you love."
Manning had nothing but positive reactions from the riders in the class, as they thought it was fair and asked all of the right questions. "My greatest satisfaction is when, through feed back and observation, your courses helped riders get their horses to go better," Manning said.