Kristen VanderVeen & Bull Runs Jireh Claim the Gold Again in the $30,000 Tryon International Grand Prix

Mill Spring, North Carolina, USA – May 14, 2023 – The second week of the Tryon Spring Series, one of six weeks of Hunter, Jumper and Equitation competition at the Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort, presented by Main Street Insurance, hailed the start of Saturday Night Lights presented by Tryon Horse & Home, the fan-favorite event series featuring free entertainment, live music and a carnival atmosphere alongside premier jumping competition in Tryon Stadium. 

Kristen VanderVeen (USA) and Bull Run’s Jireh went two-for-two under the lights, claiming both Spring 2 featured jumping classes and stopping the jump-off timers in 34.634 seconds to win the $30,000 Tryon International Grand Prix.

Kaitlyn Williams (USA) & Cassio Melloni

Kaitlyn Williams (USA) and Cassio Melloni, her own 2007 Holsteiner gelding (Caretino x Ornelia), earned reserve on a time of 34.749 seconds.

Schuyler Riley (USA) & Robin de Ponthual

Keeping the podium in the ladies’ court, Schuyler Riley (USA) rode Robin de Ponthual, Katherine Gallagher’s 2005 Selle Francais gelding (Elf D’or x Io de la Grange), to third place and a time of 35.585 seconds. 

VanderVeen and the 2014 Holsteiner gelding (Uriko x Conella) owned by Bull Run Jumpers, Inc. were one of nine pairs to contest the jump-off track after 47 entries contested the Joey Rycroft (CAN) course design. She noted that her young gun had really stepped up to the plate, taking his role as one of the main horses in her string this season. “He’s one of my young ones who’s just coming up, so it’s pretty exciting for him to come in and lay it down like that in a night class,” she emphasized. “He’s starting to step in to be my main horse. I’ve actually sold most of my older horses, so he’s really rising to the occasion.”

With a competitive jump-off cohort, VanderVeen called on her mount’s previous practice at speed. “He’s a fast horse, and I always believe they have to learn how to go fast from the beginning. Otherwise, when you need them to be fast, they’ve never done it before,” she explained. “I did plan on going fast, risking a little bit and seeing how the cards played out. I think he loves it! I thought he went even better in the jump off than the first round.”

For the first installment of the season’s evening Grand Prix classes in Tryon Stadium, VanderVeen pointed out the course designer’s challenge to both accommodate inexperienced horses and riders and simultaneously challenge a competitive field. 

Kristen Vanderveen (USA) & Bull Run`s Jireh during the awards ceremony

“I thought [Joey Rycroft] did an awesome job,” she recapped. “It was super fair for my young horse doing his first night class, but still challenging enough that we had the right amount clear. We had a huge class tonight, and I thought he did a phenomenal job with it.” 

While VanderVeen had some bad luck with her longtime mount, Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili, and retired him from the first round, an up-and-down class didn’t keep the evening from concluding her successful week on a high note. “It’s great [to be back under the lights]. There’s been a great atmosphere this week, especially for the Welcome Stake, which this horse won as well.” 

VanderVeen concluded, “We love Tryon. We come every year! The ground has been great and the horses love going out on the trails and grass field. It’s so nice that we have so many different options that allow us to stay here for a long period of time, so the horses stay really fresh and happy.”

Final Results – $30,000 Tryon Grand Prix

1) Kristen Vanderveen (USA) & Bull Run´s Jireh – 0 / 0 – 34.634

2) Kaitlyn Williams (USA) & Cassio Melloni – 0 / 0 – 34.749

3) Schuyler Riley (USA) & Robin de Ponthual – 0 / 0 – 35.585

Source: Press Release from the Tryon International Equestrian Center

Photos: © Kristen Anchors for Natalie Suto Photography

Categories: CSN, English, Jumper News USA