Credit: Ben Radvanyi Photography
Catherine Tyree opens International Division with a win
Catherine Tyree of Chicago, IL, opened the international show jumping division with a victory in the $36,000 McKee Family International Challenge on Wednesday, November 7, at the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.
Home riders from Canada were joined by athletes representing Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, and the United States for Wednesday’s power and speed event set by 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) course designer Alan Wade of Ireland. U.S. riders went one-two when Tyree riding Bokai successfully completed the ‘power’ phase of the track before clearing the speed portion in 29.89 seconds, less than a second faster than runner-up McLain Ward on Contagious, owned by Beechwood Stables, LLC. A member of the reigning gold medal WEG team, Ward stopped the clock at 29.97 seconds from the fourth spot in the 23-horse order.
Israel’s Daniel Bluman led off the class and finished third on a time of 31.01 seconds riding Bacara d'Archonfosse, owned in partnership with Kim Douglas and Alexa Schwitzer. Amanda Derbyshire of Great Britain piloted Lady Maria BH to fourth in 31.28 seconds for owner Gochman Sport Horse, LLC, while Australian rider Rowan Willis rounded out the top five riding Italian Gold Van De Kruishoeve, owned by Samantha Buirs, in 31.47 seconds.
“I was lucky to be invited to the Royal Horse Show, and it immediately went on my calendar,” said Tyree, 24, who is making her Royal debut this year.
“I came here as a spectator six years ago, and I think it is one of the coolest shows. You can feel the history, and the atmosphere is second to none. Everything is a big deal, and I love how involved the crowd gets and how much of a real show the management puts on; it feels very special.” ~ Catherine Tyree
Bokai, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Up To Date x Olympic Ferro) owned by Mary Tyree, led the victory gallop in the opening class. Tyree and Bokai have been partnered for two and a half years and train under the direction of Missy Clark and John Brennan of North Run in Warren, VT.
“Bokai has been fantastic leading up to the Royal, and I had a really good feeling coming here,” said Tyree, who is also competing on another grey mount, Catungee, in Toronto. “I’m lucky to have two great horses and a fantastic team behind me so when I gave my horses a little bit of a break this fall, they were fresh and ready rise to the occasion. The feeling is different inside, but it changes it up for them and piques their interest.
“I wanted to go in and get a feel for the ring but also take advantage of the class, so I thought I would try and win to start the week of right,” continued Tyree. “Bokai can go fast one day and that really doesn’t take so much out of him for the next. I can’t ask any more than what he has done this fall, and hopefully it will keep going this week.”