Tryon CDE Opens with Dressage to Kick Off National Championships
Saturday, September 19, 2020
The Dressage phase of the inaugural ProElite Tryon CDE at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) at Tryon Resort featured ADS Preliminary and Intermediate competition alongside USEF Advanced divisions. Hosted September 18-20 at the venue, which last hosted Driving competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG), the ProElite Tryon CDE is closed to spectators due to COVID-19 protocols. However, live scoring and competition information are available at www.Tryon.com/Driving.
Photo - Bill Allen and Commander Mark (©Pics of You)
In the Championship Intermediate Single Horse Division, Bill Allen (SC) and Commander Mark, a 2009 Hackney horse gelding, produced one of their “best Dressage scores ever,” he shared. Though the only competitor in their division, they scored a 57.38 that Allen is thrilled to earn. “It was the first time I’d done this test in a competition, and we just moved up to Intermediate this year. I was very pleased with my horse’s performance. He was very steady.”
Allen has owned the gelding for three years and describes him as the ideal horse to drive because “he’s very forward, with lots of go, and he likes doing the hazards. You don’t want to have to push them to go forward… That’s no fun. This guy does his job. When he gets in the hazards, he goes for it. He’s just a joy to drive. It carries over into cones as well.”
As the 2019 ADS Preliminary Single Horse Champion in 2019, Allen is excited to get on the Marathon course Saturday, especially considering his experience as a volunteer at WEG two years ago. “I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this place would be hosting a Driving event. I signed up for it right away! I had volunteered for the WEG, so I knew the facility and what the course looked like. I knew it’d be a great place to drive, and it’s proven that. It’s been a really nice venue for competing. We’re really happy to be here!”
Allen’s wife Kim is competing with miniature horse Fudge in the Championship Intermediate VSE Division, and “I believe we have the potential to be the first husband and wife champion of an ADS program!” he concluded.
The Championship Preliminary Single Pony Division is currently led by Jim Hudson (SC) and Razel CAF, his 2004 Halfinger mare, on a score of 50.80. Following in second, Barbara Sims (SC) and Errisistable, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood pony mare, hold a score of 54.13.
Boots Wright (FL) currently leads the Championship Intermediate Pair Pony Division, scoring 49.76 with German Riding Pony Bax 3 and Welsh Cob Mista Q. Megan Fullgraff and her Dartmoor ponies, Bayshore Pastime and Dunbarton Double Stuff Oreo, sit in second with a score of 55.73.
The Advanced Single Horse Division resulted in Jennifer Thompson (WI) and Funnominal CG, the 2010 Dutch Warmblood gelding, topping the Dressage phase after a long hiatus from competition in 2020, she revealed. “We worked very hard this summer to build strength and improve. This is proof to me that what we were and are still doing is on the right track. This is really the first big competition since the first week of March.”
Thompson drove to a score of 33.84 to give her a comfortable lead heading into Marathon. In second, Nifty Hamilton (FL) drove Makari Design, the 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding to a score of 39.54, while Gabriele Grasso (ITA) and Hendrik, the 2012 Dutch Warmblood gelding, claimed third on a score of 39.74.
When competitions were paused in March for what ended up being the majority of the year, Thompson created a training plan with some mentors and zeroed in on specific skills, she explained. “I really took that time to back things up and dissect my training and the problems I was having with the horse or the areas that needed work. I really focused on those areas. I could really tell after a couple of months that they were really coming along.” After her scores today, Thompson is happy to see her work paying off, she relayed. “I think this is proof that it was the right thing to do, and now I’m starting to put things back together again. I’m very pleased. The time off for us did not hurt!”
Thompson and Funnominal CG have been together since he was three, “and have worked all the way to the top,” she recounted. “He has a one-of-a-kind personality. You have to work with him and convince him to try things – if you get in his face, he’s going to say no! He’s definitely one that you have to negotiate with and slowly work at things. He’s been that way from day one, and I wouldn’t have him any other way.”
A first-time competitor at TIEC, Thompson is eager to get on course Saturday, and noted that despite heavy rain in the area Thursday, the course is draining well. “TIEC is a lovely facility. Again, having never been here before, I was really happy that we were in real barns yesterday with Hurricane Sally coming through. I don’t think there’s anything too challenging out there. It’ll be interesting since we haven’t competed here before. It’ll also be interesting to see how the footing holds up since the rain we had. I can feel that several of the obstacles that were pretty squishy this morning are drying out significantly as of this afternoon.”
Though deeply familiar with her horse, Thompson noted that she’s still learning about competing at the Advanced level. “It’s the first time I’ve had a horse at this level, so it’s a learning experience. I’m an Equine Veterinarian, but I’ve had to step away and employ some other people. This whole thing is a team effort. None of this could’ve been accomplished without my navigator, groom, and staff. Behind every good Dressage test, good Marathon, or winning in the end, is a very vital support staff.”