Mill Spring, N.C.—Sept. 13
Matthew Flynn flew around the White Oak cross-country course with Wizzerd to win the advanced, test A, division at the Blue Ridge Mountain Horse Trials presented by EquiSafe Global at Tryon International Equestrian Center, ending on a score of 40.9. Bobby Meyerhoff and Fortuna, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Balou du Rouet—Consul) owned by Robert D. Meyerhoff, improved from sixth to second after cross-country, ending on a score of 45.8. The fastest around the track, Katherine Brown, only added 2.4 time penalties to her score to end up in third on a total of 52.0 riding her own Victor Z, the 9-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Vittorio—Concorde).
Flynn, who steadily climbed the ranks from fourth throughout the weekend with the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Wizzerd WV—Oklund) owned by A. Patrick Flynn, Kathleen Flynn, and Merry Go Round Farm, shared that his goal on cross-country was a positive preparation run for the Tryon International Three-Day Event to be held at the venue in November.
“I thought it was a good track,” he said. “It was definitely challenging, but it was sizeable enough that it was rewarding to a good, forward ride, which I think is good preparation for these horses coming back to do the CCI 4*-L here in November. My goal was to do my best to ride the forward lines and stay out of Wizzerd’s way and travel on more than I tend to, which is a goal I’ve been working to improve.”
Flynn started off the weekend with a personal best score on the flat, and credited Erik Duvander for helping them throughout the last year and in the warm-up this weekend. “Dressage was great for him. Erik Duvander was kind enough to help warm me up, and he’s been working with the horse a lot this year,” he said. “He’s really getting stronger, and he put in a personal best for him at that level, so that was really exciting to start off with.
“Show jumping [on Saturday night] was really super,” he added. “I was really happy with him in the Tryon Stadium. I came here a couple weeks ago with my buddy Doug [Payne] and have been doing some jumper shows on the road with his gang and working on that phase the past month or so, which felt really paid off, and I was happy with his round.”
Looking ahead to November, Flynn noted that getting some runs on the White Oak cross-country course for the first time will serve him well when he returns.
“Obviously it’s great to have the horses gallop on the terrain and see what it felt like,” he said. “This was my first time running the event here in general, so that’s extremely valuable, and I think also in November I will continue to work to even ride more forward. I thought the facility and the organizers put on a great event here, and everyone was really awesome. The facility is amazing.”
For Meyerhoff, who improved from last place to second throughout the weekend, his effort on the cross-country course was his first experience at the advanced or intermediate levels at TIEC.
“It started out very nice, until fence five where I had a little hiccup, and the mare did an amazing save there, and we kicked on and got our groove back,” he said. “From then on, the course jumped fairly nice. It was big and bold, and I felt the mare change her way of galloping and jumping the big tables, and she took me and felt great.”
In the advanced, test B division, Doug Payne and Vandiver, a 16-year-old Trakehner gelding (Windfall 2—Mystic Replica XX) owned by Debi Crowley in partnership with Doug and Jessica Payne, ended on a score of 33.5 to handily maintain their lead. Leslie Law and Voltaire de Tre’, an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Gentleman IV—Socrate de Chivre) owned by Tre’ Book, ended the weekend on 39.1 to claim second.
For full results, click here.