By Sarah Madden for TIEC
Kristen VanderVeen (Wellington, FL) and Bull Run’s Prince of Peace announced their arrival at the Tryon Spring Series with a win in the $75,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix at Tryon International Equestrian Center and Resort (TIEC), stopping the jump-off timers in 39.172. Sharn Wordley (Citra, FL) and Gatsby, his own 2004 Irish Sport Horse stallion (Simba x Daisy Cruise), flew to reserve on a time of 39.556, while third place went to Sydney Shulman (Greenwich, CT) and Villamoura, the 2009 Selle Francais mare (Diamant de Semilly x Kasina) owned by Jill Shulman, after their 40.531-second performance in the jump-off.
VanderVeen and the Bull Run Jumpers Six LLC-owned 2009 Holsteiner gelding (Cardenio x P-Comtesse) were one of 10 pairs to qualify for the jump-off test after 19 entries toured the first-round track set by Peter Grant (CAN). Last to go, VanderVeen reported that she knew she had to run to the last fence after seeing Wordley’s performance. It was an all-out gallop to the last fence, shaving just four-tenths of a second off Wordley’s time to win.
“It worked for us once, when we tried that, so I figured [I would] trust him and run as fast as I could to the last,” VanderVeen recapped. “I know his [Bull Run’s Prince of Peace] strength is in the long runs, and actually there were quite a few long runs here. I decided to not risk too much at the rollback turns, but really leave some strides out and push it to the last jump. I also left out a step into the combination because he’s very smart about that. I just tried to work to his strengths.”
VanderVeen noted that the course design set by Grant was a great introductory Grand Prix track to kick off the six-week series, throughout which she plans to base at the venue she calls “home” after achieving milestone wins at the venue throughout her career.
“I thought the course was really fair today, and was a nice way to keep us in the swing of things and get us going here at Tryon – kind of a nice first week for us. We’re here for the next five weeks, back home,” she concluded. “It’s so nice, with the spring weather here. We couldn’t ask for anything better!”