Tryon – Equestrian entertainment at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) starts early this year with local exhibitors taking advantage of the indoor arena. The Tryon Winter Indoor Series features four weeks of Hunter/Jumper competition free to watch.
This horse show includes hunter and equitation classes over fences and on the flat, and jumper classes. Jump height ranges from poles on the ground for riders and horse just starting their show careers, up to three feet, three inches. Prizes include ribbons and trophies, with cash prizes up to $1500.
Watch the Show
TIEC officials anticipate approximately 180 exhibitors from Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.
“We’re so excited to host a series of unrated shows for our local equestrian community to enjoy indoors, and out of the elements,” said TIEC Public Relations and Marketing Manager, Sarah Madden.
The indoor complex offers 180 stalls so exhibitors can care for their horses without having to brave the weather. It includes two competition rings, additional warm up areas, and more than 3,000 stadium seats.
The Winter Series show runs Thursdays through Sundays from January 20, 2022 through February 13, 2022. Classes begin at 8 a.m. and will continue throughout the afternoons.
Hunter/Jumper shows were originally designed as a competition for horses and riders who foxhunted. Today the shows are more for a type of horse, as few of today’s show horses are ridden outside an enclosed ring.
Early hunter show courses took place in large open fields with jumps made of natural materials such as stone walls, logs, wood, brush or creeks. Jump heights ranged from 3 feet, 6 inches for youth, to 3 feet 9 inches up to 4 feet for adults.
As showing became more popular, shows moved from open fields to rings and the jumps were lowered to accommodate less experienced riders and horses. Instead of solid, natural fences, today’s show jumps are brightly painted poles and panels set between standards.
Type of Classes
Today’s hunter competitions usually offer classes in hunter, equitation and jumping. Many shows include a walk/trot division for those who are not ready to canter and a short stirrup division for the very young.
Hunter classes judge the horses either over fences or “on the flat” (no jumps). The ideal hunter is a horse that is safe and pleasurable to ride in the hunt field (foxhunting). Judges are looking for calm, quiet horses, with low, efficient, ground covering strides and the ability to gallop fast enough to follow the hounds.
Hunter over fences classes judge the horses’ approach to the jumps, safety over the fences and manners between the jumps. Most hunter courses include six to 10 jumps, including an in “and out” (two jumps with only one stride between them).
Under saddle classes judge horses at the walk, trot, canter, hand gallop, hold hard (stop from a gallop) and backing up. In both over fences and on the flat, the horses are judged for their way of going, cooperation with the rider, quality of movement and soundness.
Equitation on the flat and over fences classes, judge the riders’ positions and their ability to communicate with their horses. Judges look for a rider with a secure, stable position in the saddle that doesn’t interfere with or hurt the horse.
If the horse knocks a pole down, refuses or runs out of a jump, or breaks stride (switches from one gait to another, such as canter to trot) the horse or rider is penalized.
Jumping classes are judged solely on the horse’s ability to clear the jumps. Points are taken off for knocking down a pole, refusing or running out of a jump. The riders with the highest points will jump-off in a second round with jumps raised. Final rounds are timed and the winner is the rider with the most points in the shortest time.
In hunter, jumper and equitation classes a horse and/or rider is eliminated if the horse has three total refusals and/or run outs, goes off course, or if the horse and/or rider falls.
The Tryon Winter Indoor Series includes Hunter Derby, classes in which the top scoring competitors come back for a “handy” round. Such a class may include a trot fence (the horse jumps the fence at a trot instead of a canter), rollbacks and tight turns to show off the horse’s agility and cooperation. Riders earn extra points for demonstrating handiness and can select jumps with higher height options to earn additional bonus points. The combination of scores from the two rounds determines the winner.
The Winter Series will also include Mini Prix classes. A Mini Prix, typically for junior and amateur riders, is usually a little longer and slightly more difficult than the regular hunter courses. The winners are awarded prize money.
Type of Horses
Hunter shows are open to non-gaited horses and ponies, ridden in English tack (saddle, bridle, etc.). Although any non-gaited horse or pony can show, judges typically look for horses similar to the thoroughbred type.
Riders dress in non-formal foxhunting attire, consisting of English style riding breeches and knee high boots, a ratcatcher shirt and choker, and a show coat.
Though showing has evolved to accommodate a larger exhibitor field, its roots date back a few hundred years to the English countryside when foxhunting first became a popular sport. Hunter shows are still popular, providing good family entertainment and an opportunity to see beautiful horses and the riders who love them.
For more information or to view a prize list for the Tryon Winter Indoor Series, visit tryon.com/event/tryon-winter-indoor-1. Terms on the prize list such as Jumper Table II or Jumper Stake II or II.2b indicate the type of course, whether it is timed, if its a Grand Prix class, etc.