The final day of The Dutta Corp Tryon International Three-Day Event at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC) saw the new national champion crowned at the CCI 4*-L level Sunday after a thrilling Show Jumping competition. Woods Baughman (USA) claimed the Dutta Corp/USEF 4*-L Eventing National Championship with C’est La Vie 135 on a score of 29.4, enjoying a sweet comeback after overcoming a broken back and improving from a third place finish in 2020. Sweetening the victory even more was finishing just ahead of his coach, Sharon White (USA) aboard Claus 63, her own 2012 Holsteiner gelding (Catoo x Levisto), who wrapped up their weekend on a score of 36.7 for reserve after adding .8 penalties for time to their total. Will Coleman (USA) and Chin Tonic HS had one rail down to finish third, scoring an even 38 points with the 2012 Holsteiner gelding (Chin Champ x Quinar) owned by Hyperion Stud LLC.

Baughman was the only CCI 4*-L rider to pilot his mount to a double-clear over the Cross-Country course set by Captain Mark Phillips (GBR), solidifying his lead heading into Show Jumping competition in Tryon Stadium. The goal was to keep the 2008 Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I x Aarking xx) owned in partnership with James Baughman Jr. and Kim Baughman calm and relaxed, Baughman reported, but also himself: “On cross-country yesterday, he was such a machine. I wasn’t sure about the time at the end, so I just dropped the reins. I let him do his thing, and we ended up well inside the time. Overnight, I was just keeping him as relaxed as possible, so he didn’t get all tight, especially with it being so cold this morning.” Though worried about his horse’s energy after flying around the track on Saturday, it was evident that C’est La Vie 135 was full of run after his win, Baughman noted. “He had so much energy left today that I was still holding him back in the Show Jumping. I felt pretty confident going in. I actually lost control a little bit in the victory gallop, but it’s all good!

“I wasn’t doing so well this morning,” Baughman admitted of his own trouble relaxing before the final phase. “Mia was making fun of me at breakfast because my hand was shaking so bad while I was just trying to drink coffee! He is so genuine and he jumps so well, though, that by the time I was done warming up, I was quite relaxed. I just had faith in my horse and let him do his thing.”

Phillip Dutton and Z Zip to CCI 4*-S Division Dominance

Phillip Dutton (USA) and Z made light work of the CCI 4*-S track to win the weekend, enjoying their first outing post-Olympics and closing out the 2021 competition season with a win. Dutton concluded his Cross-Country round on a score of 35.6, adding 6.4 time penalties to their Show Jumping score. Colleen Rutledge (USA) and Covert Rights, the 2006 Thoroughbred cross gelding (BFF Incognito x Covert Operation) owned in partnership with FSG Inc., concluded their weekend in reserve with a score of 40.6, having accrued 9.2 time penalties on course. Sharon White (USA) and Cooley On Show, her own 2007 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Ricardo x Grand D’espagne), added 7.2 time penalties to their score to earn third on a total of 43.2.

There were no riders within the time, with all three podium finishers keeping under ten penalty points to stay on top. Dutton and the 2008 Zangersheide gelding (Asca x Babouche VH Gehucht Z) owned by Evie Dutton, Ann Jones, Suzanne Lacy, Caroline Morgan, Simon Roosevelt, and Thomas Tierney had as relaxing a weekend as they could manage, Dutton reported.

“He’s a real competitor and loves everything about competing. He’s certainly not laidback at a show, and he’s always trying to put his best foot forward. It was good for me to get him back out and compete. It was the ideal event and division to bring him back for,” Dutton assessed. “It was challenging enough, but it wasn’t too stiff and the conditions were pretty close to ideal. The footing and everything else were spot on.

“It probably rode just a little bit harder than it walked,” Dutton reviewed of the Captain Mark Phillips (GBR) CCI 4*-S course. “Obviously, he’s a pretty experienced horse, so he was able to step up to the challenge pretty easily. We’ll give him a short break, then gear him up for next year. Ideally, I’d like to maybe head to Badminton next year, so we’ll see how everything goes,” Dutton concluded.

Ariel Grald and Forrest Gump 124 Grab CCI 3*-L Win

Kendal Lehari and Audacious. (©Shannon Brinkman Photography)

Ariel Grald (USA) rode Forrest Gump 124 to a win in the CCI 3*-L Division, keeping her Dressage score of 27.7 all weekend. Boyd Martin (USA) and Fedarman B, the 2010 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Eurocommerce Washington x Fedor) owned by the Annie Goodwin Syndicate, produced a double-clear stadium round to end up reserve on a score of 30.2. Improving from fifth to finish in third place thanks to a double-clear round in Tryon Stadium was Kendal Lehari (CAN), who piloted Audacious, her own 2013 Canadian Sport Horse gelding, to a total score of 31 points.

Grald and the 2011 Hanoverian gelding (Fuerst Nymphenburg x Amerigo Vespucci XX) owned by Anne Eldridge paired up in late July, and have already gelled together nicely, she shared.

“He was amazing! He’s a new horse for me, and I’m just getting to know him. We’ve had a few events together now, and he’s the ultimate professional. I just try to give him a good ride … It’s really all credit to the horse! He’s a good boy and a real tryer.

“This is the most atmosphere and biggest venue I’ve taken him to so far. I was honestly just coming here to get to know him and ride him in a different environment and on different courses,” Grald detailed. “He was super on Cross-Country. He charged right up the hill at the end and was still full of run. He felt super in his body and was really good today. He’s a good jumper and really wants to be careful.”

Tik Maynard Maintains Lead to Win CCI 2*-L Division with Galileo

Tik Maynard (CAN) and Galileo galloped home with a win in the largest division of the week, scoring a 21.8 on the weekend after adding .4 penalties to their total. Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (USA) took second and fourth, scoring 25.1 with Quite Nice 11, the 2011 Holsteiner gelding (Quadros 3 x Carentino 2) owned by Emilie Mudd, and earning fourth aboard Caison, the 2008 Hanoverian gelding owned by Larry Stevenson, with a score of 28.7. Skyler Decker (USA) and Cooley Monsoon, her own 2008 Irish Sport Horse gelding, scored a 27.7 for third place honors after their double-clear performance.

“I knew Galileo was tired,” Maynard revealed after his winning round. “He felt tired in the warm-up, but he really tried so hard for me, and I was really happy with him.” Maynard emphasized that he’s walking away from the weekend full of gratitude. “Thanksgiving is coming up, and I just feel so grateful and thankful for the horses, my parents, my wife, my son, my mother-in-law, and my owners and sponsors… I just feel very lucky and privileged to be here.”

There was a strong Canadian contingent at the venue all weekend, from the young rider teams to the riders at the highest level. Maynard complimented the venue, and said that he felt like he was on vacation with his family and not just competing at the international level.

“I love it here. We try to put Tryon on our calendar every year and find any excuse to get up here. My wife’s family is from this area and her mom still lives here, so we have a lot of connections here. I love the mountains and I love the weather, and it’s such a nice place.”

Boyd Martin Gets His First CCI 1*-L Win with Gestalt

Boyd Martin (USA) had never before competed at the CCI 1*-L level prior to this weekend, he revealed, but he took the win with Gestalt on a score of 27.7, adding just .4 penalty points to his Dressage score. Chloe Johnson (USA) and Chilli Bean, who held the lead all weekend, dropped a single rail in Tryon Stadium to finish in reserve on a score of 30.3 with her 2011 New Zealand Sport Horse mare (Chilli Morning x Steal the Show). Third place went to Claudia Oppedisano (CAN) and her own God of Thunder, the 2006 Thoroughbred Cross gelding (Matter of Courage x Unknown), who combined for a total score of 31.7 over the weekend.

Martin and the 2012 Mecklenburger gelding (Gloriosus 1 x Colander 2) owned by Sherry Pound were paired together for this competition due to his owner recovering from an injury. Martin was thrilled to take over the reins and finish out his 2021 competition season at TIEC, he detailed.

“He’s a new horse for me. I managed to break the owner’s leg teaching her,” he kidded, “and so that’s how I, sort of, acquired the horse. But, Sherry Pratt Pound, a fellow Australian, she’s a great lady. I teach a little bit at her farm in Texas and am very grateful that she’s left the horse with me while her leg heals up.”

The CCI 1*-L competitors closed out the weekend in Tryon Stadium, with competitors unexpectedly competing under the lights due to a large number of entries in the three-day event, and it was a first-time experience for many riders. While Martin is no stranger to TIEC, nor to high stakes jumping competition beneath the lights, he was experiencing a first of his own.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever competed at the one-star level, actually, so I’ve never done Modified or anything like that,” he revealed. For Martin, the unique ending at Tryon was a great way to finish off his year. “It was a great weekend. I’m glad the end of the year is here, and it’s been an epic year of Eventing. What better place to finish it than at Tryon? This is a magnificent venue. Obviously, world class facilities, brilliant courses and very competitive fields. And it was kind of cool jumping under the lights, and I’m really pleased with the horse. [The weekend was] good.”

Adequan®/USEF Youth Team Challenge East Coast Finals Inaugural Champions Crowned

CCI 3*-L: The Area Two/Three/Eight team brought home the win in CCI 3*-L Adequan®/USEF Youth Team Challenge East Coast Finals competition after strong performances all week, featuring riders Alexandra Baugh, Elizabeth Bortuzzo, Benjamin Noonan, and Sarah Bowman. The conglomerate whittled their eligible scores to three after Bortuzzo retired during Cross-Country competition, but it was smooth sailing for the remaining trio and resulted in a total score of 119.1.

The team composed by riders from Areas Five and Six ran into some penalties when rider falls forced fewer than three team members to complete all phases. Nevertheless, riders Kit Ferguson, Zara Flores-Kinney, Barret Phillips, and Savannah Gwin brought home a reserve team placing on a score of 1206.2 [1000 point penalty for an incomplete score in Show Jumping].

Winning teammates Noonan, Bowman, Baugh, and Bortuzzo were highly complimentary of the opportunity to compete on a team, despite not knowing each other well in advance of the Finals.

“Being on the team this weekend, it’s wonderful because I enjoy the people I’m around. Having it [a team] in a lower pressure, but also high-pressure situation, it lets you be a part of a team, and you’re wanting the best for your other teammates,” said Noonan.

“I’ve never been on an Eventing team. I’ve never met anyone else on my team, or on the three star team, and we get here and we act like we’ve known each other forever,” said Bowman. “And overall, it’s a great experience.”

Noonan and Keep Kitty, his own 2011 Hanoverian mare (Kolibris Vulkano Dree Boeken x Escudo 19), were also champions in the individual bracket, completing the weekend on a score of 38.5. Second and third went to Alexandra Baugh, who rode MHS Fernhill Finale, the 2012 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Verdi x Olympic Lux) owned by Altorac Farm, to reserve and a score of 38.8, and her own I Spye, the 2011 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Harlequin du Carel x Lombardo), to a score of 41.4 for third.

“I was a little bit disappointed in Dressage, because I did not have the test I was hoping for,” Noonan relayed. “But, I tried to ignore that and move on … I had one of the best, maybe the best Cross-Country rounds I’ve had in my entire life. Show Jumping is my favorite phase, and my horse’s favorite phase, and it just all came together. So, we had a really great weekend, and we love being at Tryon. It’s absolutely incredible being here,” he raved.

CCI 2*-L: Area Two took the win in CCI 2*-L Adequan®/USEF Youth Team Challenge East Coast Finals competition over five other teams, finishing on a score of 115.8 with teammates Jackson Dillard, Mia Braundel, Maddie Hale, and Kiera Kenny. Multiple riders or horses contested their first CCI2*-L at TIEC this weekend, including Kenny, Baundel, and Hale, whose horse also contested her first CCI 2*-L.

Dillard, who competes on the Clemson University Eventing Team, noted that “it’s always interesting when you work around other young professionals or up-and-coming young riders. They all have different backgrounds, and they all have different ways of interpreting things that are asked of you throughout the weekend, so being able to work with my teammates allowed me to learn a lot, and I’ll take a lot away from this weekend.”

Braundel reflected, “As a young professional, I really like being able to start getting team experience now. For the future, when we start going on to bigger things, I think it’s really helpful to be able to do this and have this experience.”
Read more from the Youth Team Challenge winners here

CCI 1*-L: Two teams made it to the podium at the conclusion of CCI 1*-L Adequan®/USEF Youth Team Challenge East Coast Finals competition, with Area Two edging into the lead after Show Jumping for the win on a total score of 144.8 between teammates Ella Braundel, Caroline Brown, Grace Mykityshyn, and Juliana Cassar.

The team built by riders from Areas Three, Seven, and Five earned a reserve team title on the weekend, scoring a collective 153.3 points among Camryn Chung, Crockett Miller, Ava Holmes, and Chloe Johnson.

Johnson also took top honors in the individual race, almost beating one of her idols, Boyd Martin, aboard Chilli Bean. Canada’s Claudia Oppedisano and her own God of Thunder, the 2006 Thoroughbred Cross gelding (Matter of Courage x Unknown), scored 31.7 after three phases. Grace Mykityshyn and MTF Cooley Classic, the 2010 Irish Sport Horse gelding (Ars Vivendi x Olympic Lux) owned by Plain Dealing Farm, were third, going home with a podium-worthy score of 37.5 points.

“Chilli was absolutely a saint over the weekend. For Dressage, she perked right up as soon as we went in the ring and put down our best test ever,” Johnson divulged. “On Cross-Country, she’s always on it. She loves it, and she likes to go fast. She’ll cut any angle. I was really happy with her in the stadium. We took a rail, but that’s okay, it happens, and it was just an honest rail.

“He’s been my role model for years, just to be in the position I was in in Dressage and Cross-Country was an absolutely amazing feeling,” Johnson revealed about trading top places with Martin. “I know the horse he’s on, and I know the owner, who’s an amazing woman. After Dressage, just seeing that score … that feeling was absolutely unmatched. Even though we had this rail, which I just edged us out of first, I’m so incredibly proud of my mare. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to have competed against Boyd and gotten this experience with her.”

Mykityshyn gushed, “I’m just so happy to have a horse that’s so awesome in settings like this. It helps me stay calm when I get nervous. He was awesome. I feel like we’ve been working super hard on the flat, and I felt like that really paid off and scored a personal best.” She added, “I was really proud of how we were handling my nerves and just trying to get a feel more for him now too, after he’s tired and been here for a long week. He did have two rails, but he was so on it. I couldn’t have asked for a better horse.”

Canadian individual Oppedisano was “speechless” with her horse’s performance all weekend, she explained. “He was just on it for everything. And, he’s a Clydesdale-Thoroughbred, so Cross-Country is not the easiest for him to run. And he was just locked onto everything. I couldn’t have asked for a better week here.”

Youth Team Challenge results here.

All other results here.