Mill Spring, North Carolina – May 27, 2021 – Erynn Ballard (CAN) went two-for-two to open the first week of international jumping competition at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC), claiming the $37,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 2* win with Classic Penny in a competitive 30.238-second jump-off round after Wednesday’s $6,000 Power and Speed Stake CSI 2* win.
The Nick Granat (USA) course design welcomed 59 entries in the first round, with ten pairs qualifying for the jump-off round. Ballard and the 2012 Norwegian Warmblood mare owned by Ilan Ferder took a crack at Ashlee Bond’s leading time and caught them on the last line of the track, Ballard assessed.
“Following Ashlee is not so easy, and the only place where I felt like she gave me a window of opportunity was the last line. She cut into the vertical, and ended up being wide and did eight [up the last line]. I really had no choice – I had to get there in seven [strides]. Even from the beginning, Penny was quite handy – it was just one of those days where everything went the way it was supposed to go.”
Ashlee Bond (ISR) and the 2011 Belgian Warmblood mare (Hickstead II x Cruising) owned by Hila Moverman and Stephex Stables, Lazy, were anything but, scoring reserve with a time of 31.914 seconds.
Lillie Keenan (USA) and Agana van het Gerendal Z, the Chansonette Farm LLC entry and 2011 Zangersheide stallion (Aganix du Seigneur x Topas), claimed third place after clearing the short course in a time of 34.653 seconds
Ballard explained that the CSI 2* level can be an interesting one to navigate, for both the course designer and athlete alike, as the field can host seasoned competitors and horses and riders who are just stepping up to CSI competition. Despite this challenge, she thought the course designed by Granat was “fair in height, and rails came down everywhere for what I think is a perfect result with ten clean. It made it an exciting jump-off.”
She continued, “I was quite happy with the course when I walked it. I think the two-star is tricky, especially this week. You’ve got five-star horses and riders and people who chose this week to move up because they were ready to do so at the end of the winter circuit.” With two chances at the first round aboard two mounts, Ballard acknowledged she had a bit of an advantage by the time she entered the arena with “Penny,” but that a win was just in the cards for the mare.
“With Penny, I had the advantage of having gone once already with Verdict. Anytime you get to ride two in a class, it always gives the second horse a little bit of an advantage. She just was on her game today, from start to finish. I think It’s nice for everybody to have a change of scenery. We’re using these three weeks as an opportunity,” Ballard revealed in conclusion. “It wasn’t our original plan to be here, but when things got canceled and moved and shuffled, we decided that this was our place to come and stay. So far, I think we made a good choice! It suits everybody, and it suits all riders. We’re happy to be here.”
Final Results – $37,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 2*
1) Erynn Ballard (CAN) & Classic Penny – 0 / 0 – 30.238
2) Ashlee Bond (ISR) & Lazy – 0 / 0 – 31.914
3) Lillie Keenan (USA) & Agana van het Gerendal Z – 0 / 0 – 34.653
Source: Press Release by Sarah Madden / TIEC – Tryon International Equestrian Center
Photos: © TIEC – Tryon International Equestrian Center / Reagan Ibach