So, in the interests of transparency, let me just start out by saying, I love TIEC, I REALLY DO! BUT, I also love to pull out on Sunday afternoon. It is a masterpiece, that's for sure. Everything you could possibly need is right there on the showgrounds, from restaurants to coffee shops to boutique shopping. You don't have to take fans for the stalls or eye hooks for buckets, or even hoses. Everything has been covered. But, for me anyway, by the end of a week I do start to miss a big old field of, well, just grass. Its how I imagine I would feel about a vacation trip to New York City. Amazing and stimulating whilst I was there, but a place I would be ok with leaving to go home to.
It is also a real horse show. There is no hand holding or babying. Be prepared for the warm ups to be cancelled pretty much every day. And don't ever count on there being a ticketed warm up in your ring in the afternoon. I'm ok with this, it just means you need to be prepared. The jumps are also substantial. Sometimes quite substantial. In fact, when Adi and I were walking one of her Childrens Jumper classes, one trainer remarked that it resembled a World Cup Qualifier. Gulp.
All in all though, it was a great show for us. There were some exciting firsts. Adi got to ride in the impressive International ring for the first time. Emma made her debut in the Jumper ring when the Taylor Harris medal suddenly got moved in there from the Hunter ring (like I said, be prepared for anything) and Cappie made his debut in the big ring.
Maren and Cappie
Aditionally, Kylie showed and held her own in a competitive large Pony division, in probably her toughest show to date in terms of atmosphere. She actually seemed less nervous than I have ever seen her! Great practice for the Walnut ring in August!!
Abbie earned great ribbons in a HUGE pre child division, riding very accurately and confidently, even in Sundays pouring rain. Abbie was another who seemed unfazed by the atmosphere the rings in Tryon provide.
Abbie and Ari
It was Remy and Colbie's first show back together since September, with Remy being busy in her first year of college at the University of South Carolina. Colby was a little fresh after his time away from the show ring, but relaxed a little more each day, getting back into the swing of things, and they ended up with some nice trips and ribbons in the younger Adults.
Remy and Colbie
Maren and Cappie were another pair with strong trips in the younger Adults, earning nice ribbons. The jumps were beautiful. A late lead change here or there kept them out of the top calls, but as Cappie gets stronger his lead changes are becoming more and more confirmed and are 80% solid now. He is so brave and so pretty across the ground, he really is one to watch for the future.
Emma won every Equitation class she did on Alabama, except for the Taylor Harris, (in said Jumper ring!), where she was 6th out of 22. Not too shabby. She showed Cosmo in the 3'3 Performance Hunters during the week, earning ribbons, but unfortunately heavy rain and thunder storms drove them out of the Junior Hunters on the weekend, leading us to play it safe and scratch. He is a new horse to us, and in that environment, with that weather, we wanted to be conservative.
Emma and Cosmo
Adi was so very consistent all week. she rode with more confidence than I think I have ever seen her ride with and it resulted in beautiful trips with her horse blowing over the tops of the jumps. She is learning exactly where to put her horses front feet at the base of the jumps. A cheap rail here and there kept her out of the top spots but her jump off times were quick enough to still land her in the top eight out of a big group of childrens Jumpers. She was another victim of the weather on Sunday, and was unable to do the classic, but instead entered a training class and blazed around double clean for the blue ribbon!
Adi and Cupid
All joking aside, I do like Tryon a lot, and appreciate having a world class venue so close to us. It provides an invaluable tool for us in terms of atmosphere and setting. It gives everybody the experience of the big leagues, and a legitimate platform to gauge strengths and weaknesses. I would never downplay how useful this facility is for these things.
But I sure would love to see a little more grass ......