Festival of the Hunt

Kim Beaudoin for TIEC

Mill Spring, NC - Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) presented the second annual Festival of the Hunt, from Wednesday, November 15 through Sunday, November19, 2017, featuring a week of fox hunting competition and fun, coinciding with the TIEC Field Hunter Championships on Friday, November 17 and Saturday, November 18.

Opportunities to fox hunt in the Carolina Foothills commenced on Wednesday with the Tryon Hounds, and Thursday with the Green Creek Hounds. Hunts were open to any member of an MFHA recognized club, and who has obtained valid NC and SC hunting licenses. Riders qualified to compete in the Field Hunter Championships (from the MFHA Hark Forward Hunter Trial Series) had one capping fee with either club included in their championship entry fee.

The Championships began on Friday with semi-final rounds for those riders who qualified at regional Hark Forward Hunter Trials. Divisions included Handy Field Hunter (Amateur), Working Field Hunter (Professional) and Hilltoppers. Both Field Hunter divisions rode in pairs the first day, over a course on the Derby Field at TIEC. Hilltoppers rode as one or two groups, based upon number of entries at the event.

Saturday, November 18 began with the Appointments class open to any member of an MFHA recognized club. A presentation of hounds followed the Appointments class and both Field Hunter divisions followed huntsman and field master in mock hunts to determine finalists. A purse was offered for each division, along with awards and ribbons through eighth place. Celebrity judges included European and Olympic Eventing Champion Lucinda Green and MFHA President Tony Leahy.

This year, a select group of well hunted Field Hunters was offered for sale through private treaty, and were shown under saddle during breaks in competition over the duration of the two-day Championships. The sales participants were capped at 20, and horses were shown on the Derby Field. Prospective horses had to complete an entry form which included vet evaluations, negative Coggins, and vaccination records.

An array of activities and dining options complemented the Festival of the Hunt week. The evening Welcome Cocktail Reception for competitors, volunteers, judges, and hunt club members was held at the Legends Club on Thursday, November 16. On Saturday, November 18 a dinner at The Legends Club followed an unveiling of a painting by artist Charles Harpt. A Sunday Brunch concluded the week-long festivities on Sunday, November 19.

For more information on Festival of the Hunt and the TIEC Field Hunter Championships, please visit www.tryon.com.

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