Ilan Bluman and Enzo win the $25,000 Great American Grand Prix at the last Saturday Night Lights event at TIEC. Horse and rider combinations race the clock around a track of jumps set at 5’0” and above, which include tight turns, combinations, and water obstacles. Photo from Meg Banks/TIEC.
By Dasha Morgan- This coming weekend Olympic caliber athletes are competing at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. Well-recognized riders on highly trained horses are participating in a three-day “eventing” weekend in Mill Spring, NC. Many Team USA members, such as Boyd Martin, Lauren Kieffer and Bobby Costello, are all competing this weekend at the TIEC.
So what exactly is horse eventing? The horse and rider are expected to perform rigorous and arduous tasks. An eventing weekend could best be termed as an “equestrian triathlon” with three phases that test the horse and riders’ skills on the flat, over fences and galloping across the countryside. It requires an incredible amount of skill and ability. The dressage phase begins every evening competition. The cross-country phase tests the horse’s speed, endurance and jumping ability over varied terrain and obstacles. The show jumping phase ends the event.
The Tryon International Equestrian Center opened in June 2014. It now houses a sports complex which seats 6,000 in an outdoor stadium allowing spectators to easily view the activities, and best of all there is no charge to be a spectator. Just take a seat and watch the show. At the TIEC are regularly scheduled sanctioned horse shows, 12 riding arenas, 1,200 permanent stalls and a variety of restaurants, shops, and lodging options, plus a sporting clay course and a golf and sports club. Future expansion includes a 180-room a resort hotel, condos and apartments, additional mixed-used retail, visitor center, and sports complex. If you haven’t visited before, this Labor Day weekend may be the perfect time to acquaint yourself with this amazing facility and see some incredible riding events with world class top riders.
Fun filled activities for every member of the family are offered in the surrounding grounds during the sports events—a variety of dining options, such as Roger’s Diner and other Southern food options open seven days a week, Legends Grill with farm-to-table gourmet dishes, and sushi at Blue Ginger Sushi & Noodles with fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients. In addition there are many vendors offering hot dogs, hamburgers, homemade pastries and coffee. For the younger generation, there are fun filled activities, such as face painting, carousel rides, pony rides, kids bouncing tents, sword throwers, and possibly sand castle contests. There is something for everyone to enjoy—year round.
This Labor Day Weekend
The Nutrena® USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) takes place this weekend. It is presented by Land Rover and is the annual championship for each level of the sport of eventing offered in the United States. The public is invited to watch competitions and attend celebratory events throughout the week. TIEC was selected as the host site of the USEA American Eventing Championships for a three-year term. In addition there is a Welcome Party on August 31, the Cleghorn Adult Shoot Out on September 1, a Celebrity Bartender Showdown Prior to the concert and the Sounds of Nashville concert on September 3. (Some of these may require a ticket.)
Gates Ponder with his Papa, Danny Ponder, is about to enjoy his cotton candy. The Ponders drove to Mill Spring from Spartanburg.
However on Saturday night September 3, The Sounds of Nashville concert is a free concert featuring Nashville country music singers. presented by Coca Cola®. “Raised by the Radio” star Mitch Rossell, who has opened for the legendary Garth Brooks, is headlining the concert at 8 p.m. Country music singer Julia Cole, who has opened for country music sensation Hunter Hayes, will go on at 6:30 p.m. General admission to the concert is free and open to the public with gates opening at 5 p.m.
The sword thrower delights a group of youngsters with his ability.
Prior to the concert on Saturday TIEC will host an unusual and fun event as a fundraiser. This will be a “Celebrity Bartender Showdown” featuring many of USA’s best eventing athletes including Boyd Martin, Lauren Kieffer, Bobby Costello, Allison Springer, Jim Wolf. The celebrity bartenders will mix specialty cocktails and sign autographs to help raise money for Brooke USA. This is a 501 (c)3 charity located at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., which exists solely to support the overseas work of the Brooke, a large international equine welfare charity. For every $9 raised, a working donkey or equine in drought-ridden Ethiopia will be provided with a lifetime water supply. Donkeys and equines are the livelihood of families in this region of the world. (Note: Even Republicans will be allowed to participate in this!)
So get ready for a Friday, Saturday and Sunday Labor Day weekend packed with activity and fun for the whole family. Drive down to Mill Spring, NC. and check out what has blossomed in the last couple of years. TIEC is located conveniently off of exit 170 on US Highway 74. It’s an easy 25-mile distance from Hendersonville or 50-minute drive from Asheville. Street address for GPS is 4066 Pea Ridge Road, Mill Spring, NC. 28756. For more information go to www.tryon.coth.com