Mill Spring, North Carolina, USA – October 24, 2021 – Fifteen-year-old Caroline Mawhinney (USA) and Stella Levista raced through the timers in 34.389 seconds in the $25,000 Sunday Classic at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC) for the victory to close out Tryon Fall 5 competition.
Mawhinney (USA) and the tiny-but-mighty Stella Levista, her own 2008 Hanoverian mare (Satisfaction FRH x Levisto), prevailed throughout the Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER) course to earn their big win in the Sunday Classic. “She’s incredible, I couldn’t ask for a better partner. She’s really small, but she’s the fastest horse I’ve ever seen and she loves her job.” Their two year partnership that began when Mawhinney (USA) was just 13 has developed into a talented duo over their years of hard work. “It took me a while to figure her out… she’s a little special, but once we got it, we got it,” Mawhinney (USA) said.
Second place honors were earned by Karl Cook (USA) along with E’Special P.S., the 2009 Dutch Warmblood mare (Berlin x Caruso 279) owned by Signe Otsby, right on the heels of Mawhinney with a time of 35.241 seconds.
Third place was awarded to Daniel Pedraza Littlewood (MEX) and Santa Rosa Yalta, the 2012 Mexican Sport Horse mare (Unknown x Unknown) owned by Proyectos Agricolas Sa De CV, with a time of 37.344 seconds.
Although Mawhinney is much younger than most competitors, she never allowed her nerves to overcome her and trusted her mount’s speed. “I was a little bit nervous and I knew that everyone was going to kind of take a similar track, but she’s so naturally quick across the ground, so I just kind of let her go. She was amazing.” Mawhinney added, “I don’t know how she kept all the jumps up!”
After a long summer of competition for Mawhinney (USA) and Stella Levista, the duo will take a well-deserved break and end on a high note before returning to competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida. “She’s had a long summer and she’s been really good for me. She’s going to have a little bit of a vacation.”
Mawhinney reflected on her time spent competing at TIEC, concluding, “it’s a beautiful facility that is so nice for the horses, and the restaurants are great for everyone watching.” She emphasized that her Tryon experience was made by the village around her: “I just want to thank all of Triple M Farms and my family, and my amazing groom and trainer, Elaina and Jessica. I couldn’t do it without them!”
Final Results – $25,000 Jumper Classic
1) Caroline Mawhinney (USA) & Stella Levista – 0 / 0 – 34.389
2) Karl Cook (USA) & E’special P.S – 0 / 0 – 35.241
3) Daniel Pedraza Littlewood (MEX) & Santa Rosa Yalta – 0 / 0 – 37.344
Source: Press Release by Emily Carpenter for TIEC – Tryon International Equestrian Center
Photo: © TIEC / Madison Ibach