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Mill Spring, N.C. – Christine McCrea of East Windsor, CT, and Candy Tribble’s Wannick WH concluded Tryon Spring 7 with a win in the $25,000 Grand Prix at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). The duo bested the six-horse jump-off with a time of 41.528 seconds. Lucas Porter and Sleepy P Ranch, LLC’s Doma Sue finished followed in second, completing the course in 44.517 seconds. Kady Abrahamson and Abrahamson Equestrian LLC’s Bamiro placed in third, riding clear in 45.322 seconds. Competition at TIEC begins again on Wednesday, June 3, with the start of Tryon Spring 8 CSI 4*, the last week of the Tryon Spring Series.

Christine McCrea and Wannick WH (Sportfot)
Christine McCrea and Wannick WH (Sportfot)

McCrea and Wannick WH were the last pair in the George H. Morris Stadium for the jump-off, riding in hot on the heels of Lucas Porter and Doma Sue, who had just put in the fastest clear round of the jump-off. McCrea had scoped out the tracks she believed would save her time on course and made two bold inside turns to ultimately finish three seconds faster than Porter.

“Winning here in Tryon feels great. It’s our first time here and I was so impressed with how everything went this week. I thought this class would be great for him so we went today and got really lucky,” said McCrea.

The duo has built a solid partnership together as Wannick WH has been with the McCreas for nearly seven years. McCrea knows the ins-and-outs of the stallion’s style and the win today served as a great moment for the pair.

“We’ve had him forever. We bought him when he was five-and-a-half and now he’s twelve. It’s like putting on an old sneaker, you just know. I can feel really secure about what I think is going to happen and hopefully it does happen,” she commented. “He’s just a really good horse and he really tries. He’s a bit on the smaller side and for him to jump these big jumps is really cool. He gives you a great feeling.”

Abrahamson and Porter were the first two riders to finish with clear rounds in the jump-off and McCrea knew she was going to have to ride competitively to keep all of the rails up and lay down a fast and efficient ride.

“The kids really put the pressure on this old lady today,” laughed McCrea. “To be honest, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go inside to the double because it was quite short
but I said to myself ‘Okay, we’re going inside of the double and if you clear that then you have to make an effort to get inside of the next two standards,’” she explained. “I sort of forced that turn but he slowed down and that allowed me to turn him quite tight and I got a great line. It really worked out to my advantage. It almost gave him enough of a half halt to rock back on his hocks, which pushed us through the next fence.

Christine and her husband Jonathan will stay at TIEC to contest the next week of FEI CSI 4* competition before returning to Connecticut for small summer break. The duo have a strong string of horses here and will look to continue their winning ways moving into Tryon Spring 8 next week.

“We’ll be here for next week and then we’ll head back to Connecticut for a bit. I haven’t been home since December so I’m really looking forward to spending some time there. We’ll do some of the more local stuff there, but will 100% be coming back here within the year. We’ve already put it on the schedule,” commented McCrea. “We love it here and I think what Mark [Bellissimo] is doing with the FEI classes, for me as a rider, is what I want and it’s what we’ve all been begging for. We’re so thrilled to be here and to win this class was just great.”

“He’s really a hybrid. He used to be a jumper and then my trainer and I thought that we needed to work on my position so he started to do some of the equitation and he’s turned out to be a perfect horse for it,” said Porter. “He’s slow tempered and he has a big stride, which has made him ideal in those classes.”

When Porter is competing, it is all hands on deck to ensure that he gets to each of his rings on-time, as he has a number of horses entered in classes throughout the grounds. Today was no different, as he hopped off of his ride in the Junior/Amateur Owner Medium Classic and headed straight to the equitation ring for the ASPCA Maclay and the USEF Pessoa Hunt Seat Medal.

“I rode the Maclay first and was able to use that to an advantage in the USEF Pessoa Hunt Seat Medal because I already knew the lines and the striding in between the jumps and I tried to do the same thing in both,” he commented. “He was perfect just like Doma and everything worked out perfectly today, in the Grand Prix and in both of those classes.”

The Porters and the Sleepy P Ranch team will continue competing at TIEC through Tryon Spring 8 of the Spring Series and have been thoroughly impressed with the facility and competition.

“The facility here is unbelievable. The rings are huge and the barns are incredibly nice. I personally like the ample schooling rings, which allows you school your horses in a calm place if you want to get away from the rest of the show,” commented Porter. “The weather here is perfect and we’ve all been really happy. I want to thank the Bellissimos for putting on this show and the sponsors for supporting these classes and to my sponsors for helping me get to where I am.”

Tryon Spring 8 CSI 4* will begin on Wednesday, June 3, and will continue through Sunday, June 7.  Tryon Spring 8 will be the biggest week of the Tryon Spring Series, hosting FEI CSI 4* competition alongside an array of activities for the general public to enjoy at the venue including the Festival of the Carolinas Craft Beer Festival, the unveiling of the Rolex Clock Tower and much more on Saturday, June 6. For more information on the competition and the events to come at TIEC, please visit www.tryon.com.