Festival of the Hunt welcomed back to Tryon International Equestrian Center

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Tryon International Equestrian Center welcomed the return of the 2018 Festival of the Hunt, featuring the TIEC Field Hunter Championships, held Nov. 16-17 on the Derby Field and in U.S. Trust Arena at TIEC.

Two days of mock hunts and working hunter classes highlighted local and regional hunt clubs, the usage of hounds in the traditional sport, and its future. Friday featured the Carolina Performance Hunter Hilltoppers and Carolina Performance Hunter Classes, followed by the Team Challenge, all of which built up to the afternoon’s Hilltopper Championship Final, which saw Cathy Gomez and Princeton dominate the Mock Hunt and Individual Test to achieve first representing the Belle Meade Hunt.

“We recently joined Belle Meade and really love the territory and the people. This is the first time we’ve come to the Festival of the Hunt, and we’re working through the Carolina Performance series, so that’s what brought us to Tryon,” Gomez said. “His job is to cart me around when we’re not going hunting. We do a little dressage, and I’m actually working on getting my silver and gold medals on him.”

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Following Friday evening’s Festival of the Hunt Party, Saturday kicked off with the Parade of the Green Creek Hounds and Tryon Hounds, showcasing the skill and importance of the canine hunt participants. A Mock Hunt comprised of the TIEC Field Hunter Championship qualified competitors gave way to the return of the top eight for the Pairs Handy Hunter Round in order to determine the TIEC Field Hunter Champion. Karen Benson and Money Makes Money, also called “Kitt,” made the Tryon Hounds and Green Creek Hounds proud with their victory in a competitive field.

“I had a great teammate for the pairs and we had a strategy to just stick together,” Benson said. “Then in the test, I just wanted to be really smooth. Being a show jumper he kind of peeks at these eventing jumps, but he was excellent today.”

The Moore County Hounds presented a strong showing on the week, especially in the Team Challenge, where Cameron Sadler, Hunt Master, Tayloe Moye, Field Master and Shelly Talk piloted Secret Bit, All Together and My Darling Clementine, respectively, to victory. 

“It was a lot of fun, and the course was very challenging,” said Sadler, who returned for her second Festival of the Hunt experience. “My horse has never been here, so he liked the second class much better than the first one. He did great.”

Those interested in reading additional results may visit tryon.com.

– Submitted by Tryon International Equestrian Center