Oh My Star Van Strytem and Avery Griffin Get their First Grand Prix Win at Pin Oak Charity Horse Show

Avery Griffin was joined in her winning presentation photo by Dr. David Brennen and Ashley Tagle of Texas Children's Hospital. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Edited Press Release

March 30, 2024 – Katy, TX – The $30,000 Texas Children’s Hospital Grand Prix featured a full line-up of seasoned competitors, but at the end of the night on Friday, March 29, it was the youngest riders who topped the leaderboard. Earning her very first grand prix victory was 17-year-old Avery Griffin, who took home the win aboard Oh My Star Van Strytem. 

Finishing in a close second place was Griffin’s barnmate at Marlac Farm, 16-year-old Ava Myers aboard Chico P.

Myers and Griffin were the first two riders in the Main Ring at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center on Friday night, and they both quickly punched their tickets to the jump-off. Throughout the remainder of the class, only two additional riders – Nicolas Gamboa on NKH Warrior and Tom Monaghan on Luttoria – would join them in qualifying for the short course. The time allowed proved to be a major factor in the Manuel Esparza-designed first-round course, with four additional riders jumping clear over the course but accruing time faults.

Avery Griffin and Oh My Star Van Strytem. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

“I thought it was a good course,” said Griffin. “The time allowed was really tight. I was second in the ring, and [Ava Myers] who was first was really, really close to the time. So, I was just trying to ride fast and trying to keep [Oh My Star Van Strytem] under control because it was still quite technical.”

When it was time to return for the jump-off, it was again Myers and Griffin who led the way and showed the crowd how it was done. Myers and Chico P, owned by Myers Family Investments, LLC., blazed through the timers in a lightning-fast time of 36.857 seconds that looked like it would be tough to beat. However, Griffin and Oh My Star Van Strytem found a way to get it done, shaving just three one-hundredths of a second off Myers’ time to ultimately take the win in 36.822 seconds.

“Ava Myers, went in the ring right before me in the jump-off, and it was really good to see her go because we kind of had the same plan,” explained Griffin. “I was so happy for her. There was one spot – this one turn that her horse didn’t quite make – and I was like, ‘Okay, I think I can beat her there.’ Honestly, she was as fast as I could be anywhere else. That was just the one thing that I had to do right.”

With Griffin getting it just right for the win and Myers finishing in second, third place with a time of 36.919 seconds went to Monaghan and his own Luttoria. Finishing in fourth with four faults and a time of 38.537 seconds was Gamboa riding NKH Warrior, owned by NKH, LLC.

For Griffin, getting her inaugural grand prix victory at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is extra special, as the Austin, TX-native has been competing at the US Equestrian Heritage Competition for roughly a decade.

Ava Myers on Chico P and Avery Griffin on Oh My Star Van Strytem with Martien van der Hoeven (center of photo) and Dr. David Brennan and Ashley Tagle. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

“I won my first classic in the medium green ponies here when I was like 8, so that would have been nine years ago now,” said Griffin, who has trained with Martien van der Hoeven at Marlac Farm for the past two years. “I really love [Pin Oak]. I like the environment. It’s nice to be home. We spent the winter in Florida, and it’s really nice to come back and know everyone. My mom and dad are here. We live in Austin, and they drove up for tonight and this weekend. They’re so supportive; they’re just really the best parents I could ask for.” 

In speaking of her winning 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood, owned by PBC Equine Investments LLC, Griffin added, “I’ve had [Oh My Star Van Strytem] for about six months. He’s basically a pony of a horse. He’s just been amazing everywhere that we’ve gone. We’ve won classes that I never really thought I could win!” 

For full results of Friday night’s $30,000 Texas Children’s Hospital Grand Prix, click here or visit HorseShowsOnline.com.

Competition at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show resumes on Wednesday, April 3, and continues through Sunday, April 14. To learn more, visit www.PinOak.org.

About Pin Oak Charity Horse Show
Recognized as a US Equestrian Heritage Competition, the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is one of the oldest and most prestigious horse shows in the United States. Today, the show features three weeks of top-caliber hunter/jumper events and one week of breed show competition at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, TX.

Watch to hear from Avery Griffin following her back-to-back derby wins!