Kara Chad (CAN) and Igor GPH claimed a win in Thursday’s $39,000 ProElite Welcome Stake CSI 3* at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (Tryon International) at Tryon Fall 5, stopping the jump off timers in 40.43 seconds to win by two seconds. Richie Moloney (IRL) piloted Ermes di Tai, the 2014 Selle Français stallion (Canturano x L’arc De Triomphe) owned by Frog Pond Stables, to a time of 42.50 seconds to claim reserve honors. Caroline Mawhinney (USA) rode to a time of 43.23 seconds and third place with Dance du Buisson Z, her own 2011 Zangersheide mare (Dutch Capitol Z x Favoritas XX).

In the field of 83 entries who challenged the first round track designed by Oscar Soberon (USA), 14 qualified for the jump off and only the top three pairs managed a double-clear performance. Chad and her own 2013 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Harley x Crawford 5) were able to utilize a massive stride to save time going the long way, she revealed.

“Igor is a little bit more experienced, and I’ve had him about a year now. He has quite a big stride, so, I was easily able to get the leave-out in the first two lines. I actually opted to go around to the last combination,” she detailed. “And luckily, it worked out for me. I think it was faster just to gallop around than to turn inside there. He’s such a quality horse, and he was game and right with me in the jump off. So it made it quite easy.”

Though no stranger to international competition, Chad is returning to the venue this fall for the first time since the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018, and has found that the competition is stiff with some of the best in the world attending the Fall Series. “The courses have been great. It’s definitely hard jumping; it’s very competitive. It’s humbling at times, I guess you can say, but also, just makes you step up to the plate and really perform and really be super precise with your horses. Last week, I have to say, kind of kicked my butt a bit. But hopefully this week, we’re starting out a little bit better!”

Chad acknowledged that she is lucky to have a good team behind her, she concluded. “I want to say thank you to the owners of Igor. They’re extremely loyal, and I’m extremely lucky to ride a horse like him. I’ve had Katie and Henri Prudent help me this past week and a half. I’m extremely grateful for their advice!”

For full results from the $39,000 ProElite Welcome Stake CSI 3*, click here.