With a rest from FEI competition today, Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) was abuzz with Open, Junior, and Amateur jumper divisions throughout the day in the George H. Morris Arena at Tryon Stadium. Candice King of Wellington, FL, and Cuchica, owned by Wyndmont Inc., topped the $10,000 Open Jumper 1.45m presented by Horseware Ireland. Kimberly Prince of Hume, VA, and RMF Fara van de Maltahoeve finished in second with a time of 40.916 seconds and Richie Moloney of Wellington, FL, collected third place aboard Ypaja Yando with a time of 42.774 seconds. FEI competition continues tomorrow at TIEC with the $127,000 Grand Prix CSI 3* beginning at 8pm.
King and Cuchica, a 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Nintender x Luchica), laid down an early clear round, going second in the order and secured a double clear performance with their time of 40.852 seconds in the jump-off, which proved to be uncatchable.
"I've been riding him for six weeks now and he just moved up to this height about a week ago for his first 1.45m class and I'm so pleased with how he handled it today," said King. "Manuel [Esparza] builds very well and I knew that it was going to be a strong ride. He doesn't always need to build the biggest courses because they're always strong solid courses."
After forming a partnership over the past few weeks, King is thrilled with the way Cuchica has held his own in the bigger classes and is confident the gelding will continue to progress and improve, ultimately campaigning through the highest levels of grand prix competition.
"I knew I was going to have to be there for him throughout the course because I don't want to put him in a bad situation at eight-years-old. He's so honest I think he has everything you look for in a big time horse," she explained. "I'm really excited for him and he just checks all of the boxes. When I walked it, I knew that I needed to be on my game."
"I feel really comfortable with him and I was quite excited to go in there show him off. He's incredibly talented and he has a very bright future," she added.
King made a bold inside turn in the jump-off, which was untested by any competitor before she took to the ring. The risk was rewarded, as the turn helped to shave seconds of the clock and clinch the win.
"When I walked it with Michael [Dorman], we walked the turn and it seemed very doable. When I got to the in gate and saw it, it seemed like it may run a little tight and I didn't want to over face him," she explained. "Nobody was doing it and I asked around and didn't get an overwhelming response about going for it and when I went in, my first goal was to go clean and then he just felt so great that I knew that I could take the shot. He answered the question and was right there with me. It felt really exciting for a nice young horse to step up in a class and moment like that."
King also placed second in the $2,500 USHJA Hunter Derby aboard All The Talk, owned by Mershad Stables, LLC, earlier in the morning. In her first hunter derby since 2008, King rode two beautiful rounds, which landed her just half a point outside of the winning position.
Final Results for $10,000 Open Jumper 1.45m presented by Horseware Ireland
1. CUCHICA, 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Nintender x Luchica CANDICE KING, Wellington, FL, Wyndmont, Inc: 0/0/40.852
2. RMF FARA VAN DE MALTAHOEVE, 2005 Belgian Warmblood mare by Orlando x Neri van de Maltahoeve KIMBERLY PRINCE, Hume, VA, Rushy Marsh Farm, LLC: 0/0/40.916
3. YPAJA YANDO, 2007 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Quinar x Lasina RICHIE MOLONEY, Wellington, FL, Equinimity, LLC: 0/0/42.774
4. BULL RUN'S HOLY SMOKES, 2004 Belgian Warmblood mare by Wunder Boy van de Zuuthoeve x Belle KRISTEN VANDERVEEN, St. Charles, IL, Bull Run Jumpers, Inc: 0/4/39.233
5. CHARLINE 28, 2005 Mecklenburg mare by Cellestial x Pik Dame SHARN WORDLEY, Wellington, FL, The Sky Group: 0/4/14.249
6. ELI, 2003 Holsteiner gelding by Cisco x Nirvana IV DOUG PAYNE, Apex, NC, Michael Rubin: 0/4/43.937
7. QUICK PETITE FOLIE, 2004 Selle Francais stallion by Calvaro Z x Jasmine Petite Folie ANSGAR HOLTGERS, Wellington, FL, Gut Einhaus, LLC: 0/4/45.222
8. PERNOD, 2006 Westphalian gelding by Pontifex x Lady Di GAVIN MOYLAN, Middleburg, VA, Alpha Omega Farm: 0/8/43.436
Source: Press release from Tryon International Equestrian Center.
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