Tyree Takes On The Titans At Palm Beach Masters CSIO5*

Feb 14, 2019 - 7:05 PM

Wellington, Fla.—Feb. 14

The first time Catherine Tyree saw Bokai, it was a bit like being struck by Cupid’s arrow.

The striking gray gelding was jumping with Dutch rider Harrie Smolders, and Tyree fell instantly in love with him.

So it’s fitting that she and the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Up To Date—Lucky Girl, Olympic Ferro) picked up a win on Valentine’s Day at the Palm Beach Masters CSIO during the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup USA at Deeridge Farm.

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Catherine Tyree and Bokai. Lindsay Berreth Photos

The pair bested two heavy hitters in the jump-off of the $50,000 CSIO5* Suncast Grand Prix Qualifier—Todd Minikus on Chaventyno, who ended up second, and Beezie Madden and her Longines FEI World Cup winner Breitling LS, who were third. Alan Wade’s track also produced one other clear round from Cormac Hanley and VDL Cartello, but he opted not to jump a second round. Seven riders picked up 1 time penalty but were otherwise clear, including Kent Farrington and Creedance and Ben Maher and Concona.

“Going first I knew I had Beezie and Todd behind me; both are very fast. I thought I’d give it a good shot,” said Tyree, 25. “I knew I was guaranteed a top three finish, so I wanted to use that to my advantage and gain experience going fast at this level. I was really happy with my horse. He was really great in the jump-off. He really fought for me, and I really appreciate it when he does.”

Bokai had jumped at the FEI European Championships (Germany) in 2015 with Norwegian rider Victoria Gulliksen, before Smolders took on the ride.

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Catherine Tyree and Bokai

The gelding wasn’t on Tyree’s radar until she went with a friend who was trying horses in Europe.

“I find that the best horses, no matter how hard you look, you don’t find them, but the ones that are really special kind of find you,” she said. “I’ve always had really great success with that, and he’s really special to me. I’ve had good luck with horses from Harrie. My first real grand prix horse Enjoy Louis came from him, so I see a little bit of a trend going! He’s an amazing horse, and I’m just happy I happened to be sitting there that day.”

Tyree’s jumped in her first Nations Cup with Bokai and racked up a few big four- and five-star wins since buying him in 2016. He’s been competitive across a variety of classes, from indoors to speed classes, and from big rings to small ones.

“He’s fast, and he’s careful, and he fights really hard,” she said. “Every time he goes in there now he tries his heart out. I feel that now, and I feel that every day. To know that he’s 13, and he’s done a lot of shows and big classes over the last few years and still comes out fighting and as fiery and rambunctious as ever is really great.”

At home, Bokai is typically relaxed, unless he hasn’t jumped in a while; then Tyree has to watch out or he’ll catch her out.

“At the horse shows it’s another story,” she said. “He knows when he’s showing, and he’s all over the place. I know he’s not doing anything wrong, he just gets a lot of adrenaline and gets really excited. It’s more me just looking out for everybody else, but you go in the ring and jump a jump, and he stops doing it and is totally focused.”

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Todd Minikus couldn’t quite catch Catherine Tyree, so he settled for second with Chaventyno.
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Beezie Madden and Breitling LS had a steady jump-off with 8 penalties as they prepare to ride for the U.S. on the Nations Cup team on Sunday.
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Cormac Hanley opted not to jump off with VDL Cartello, so they finished fourth.
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Eve Jobs and Limbridge finished fifth as the fastest 1-faulters.
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Enrique Gonzalez, riding for Mexico, finished sixth with Chacna.

For full results, click here.

USEF Network is live streaming from the competition all weekend. Check it out here.

For a full schedule, click here.

Follow along with all of our weekend coverage here.

Be sure to check out the March 11 print edition of the Chronicle for much more from the Palm Beach Masters.

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