Beat Mändli (SUI) and Vic des Cerisiers sliced their way to a win in the $137,000 Coca-Cola® Grand Prix CSI 3* at Tryon International Equestrian Center and Resort (TIEC), stopping the jump-off timers at 33.02 seconds. Just behind, Mario Deslauriers (CAN) piloted Amsterdam 27, a 2010 Holsteiner gelding (Catoki x Acord II) owned by himself, Luja LLC, and Wishing Well Farm LLC, to second place on a time of 33.64 through the short course, while Bliss Heers (USA) rounded out the podium with Antidote de Mars, the Bridgeside Farms LLC-owned 2010 Selle Francais stallion (Diamant de Semilly x Jarnac), speeding to a 33.72 second performance.

The marquis class of Tryon Fall 4 competition saw 49 entries challenge the Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) course design, with 20 pairs earning the opportunity to challenge the jump-off track. Though six entries followed behind Mändli and the 2009 Cheval de Selle gelding (D’anguerny x Niagara de May) owned by Grand Road Partners GMBH, nothing could top the neat and quick performance he was able to produce.

“It was a nice course, and straight-forward. There were lots of clear rounds, but when we walked it, it seemed tough enough! Of course, I’m very happy,” Mändli emphasized. “The horse makes my job very easy when he jumps like this!”

Last week’s $73,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix CSI 2* resulted in a reserve placing for the pair, lending confidence to today’s competition. The initial plan was not what showed up for him on-course, Mändli admitted, but going with his gut feeling proved to be worth the change in strategy: “To be honest, I rode two lines very differently than I walked them,” he shared. “That’s a little bit me; I do it sometimes. I’m a bit more European, and do what I feel at the time. Hopefully, at the right moments!”

Vic des Cerisiers has been partnered with Mändli since he was a seven-year-old, and the gelding is just coming back from a summer off – continuing to compete without shoes. “We took it slowly with him; he had a good few placings at the end of last year. He had the whole summer off from showing because of COVID. We started back in Traverse City, where he was already good, and then since last week here, he’s just been going unbelievable. I thought, ‘let’s go again!’ He’s just stepping in, feels great, and he’s happy.

“I have a blacksmith from Switzerland who couldn’t travel abroad due to COVID,” Mändli explained, “and so we took the shoes off at the end of the WEF circuit this year, in April. We left them off, and started to ride and train without shoes, and he felt comfortable, so we decided to try showing without. I don’t know how far we go without [shoes], but at the moment all the horses feel really good and it’s for sure more [natural].”

Winning an international Grand Prix, barefoot, and against tough competition proved to be of no concern, especially in footing as good as the newly re-engineered Tryon Stadium, Mändli shared. “It’s unbelievable how it was to ride today after all the rain. The footing feels perfect to me, and obviously I have a good grip but there’s still bounce in there. The horses are all jumping great, so it’s really good.

“I actually have never been here, and always wanted to come and see it,” Mändli revealed. “I really like it here. Everything has worked out, and it fit nicely in the calendar. We are here for all FEI weeks, so we’ll be here two more weeks, and then will travel down to Florida to WEF,” he concluded.

$137,000 Coca-Cola® Grand Prix CSI 3*:

1. Vic Des Cerisiers, 2009 Cheval de Selle gelding (D’anguerny x Niagara de May)
Beat Mandli (SUI), Grand Road Partners GMBH: 0/0/33.02

2. Amsterdam 27, 2010 Holsteiner gelding (Catoki x Acord II)
Mario Deslauriers (CAN), Mario Deslauriers, Luja LLC, and Wishing Well Farm LLC: 0/0/33.64

3. Antidote de Mars, 2010 Selle Francais stallion (Diamant de Semilly x Jarnac)
Bliss Heers (USA), Bridgeside Farms LLC: 0/0/33.72

4. Carlchen W, 2008 Mecklenberg Warmblood gelding (Chacco-Blue x Continue)
Alex Granato (USA), Page Tredennick: 0/0/34.06

5. Cashew CR, 2008 Holsteiner gelding (Cassini II x Udenna)
Alex Matz (USA), Dorothy A. Matz: 0/0/34.53

6. Luibanta BH, 2008 Irish Sport Horse mare (Luidam x Abantos)
Amanda Derbyshire (GBR), Amanda Derbyshire and Gochman Sport Horse LLC: 0/0/34.68

7. Don’s Diamant,2008 Dutch Warmblood stallion (Diamant de Semilly x Phin Phin)
Natalie Dean (USA), Natalie Dean and Marigold Sporthorses LLC: 0/0/35.02

8. MTM Vivre le Reve, 2009 Westphalian gelding (Ustinov x Chello II)
Brian Moggre (USA), Major Wager LLC: 0/0/35.32

9. Day Dream, 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zento x Heartbreaker)
Ben Maher (GBR), Deborah Perkins: 0/0/36.15

10. Fellini S, 2010 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vermont x Rash)
Erynn Ballard (CAN), Erynn Ballard and Ilan Ferder: 0/0/40.75