Carousel rides, dressage, and log cabins may not seem to go well together, but at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), they fit perfectly. Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, this horse-based resort provides visitors and competitors alike with the opportunity to eat, drink, shop, and relax. When first entering, one sees the old fashioned and brightly lit carousel, various lemonade, cotton candy, and pretzel stands, and people blowing bubbles, face painting, and juggling. These free, carnival-esque activities surround the stunning metal horse statue in front of the lodging check-in building, with a screen displaying the latest events, including dressage competitions, show jumping, cross country, gladiator polo, and much more. With 13 different arenas, there are often multiple events occurring at the same time.

Visitors enjoy the various carnival activities featured at the entrance of the TIEC. Matthew, 9, points to an equestrian center volunteer blowing bubbles for children.

In recent news, the Tryon International Equestrian Center has been assisting victims of Hurricane Irma. A TIEC volunteer described the hundreds of displaced horses boarded at their location –one woman requesting room for her 75 horses. Due to the limited number of stables in the southeast able to accommodate for horses in the path of the hurricane, TIEC offered discounted boarding rates for Florida residents.

During my visit, I was able to watch a dressage competition. Dressage is a way of riding where the horse performs very intricate patterns of movement with few visible cues from the rider. This riding style is especially popular at the Olympic level, and for good reason. The horses that I watched moved in ways I thought impossible, almost “dancing” to the music chosen by their rider.

The winners of a dressage competition stand still as the national anthem plays, waiting to ride out of the arena as part of the winner’s circle.

This equestrian discipline, and seven others, will be featured at the FEI World Equestrian Games at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in 2018. This is a huge honor for Tryon and North Carolina, as the FEI World Equestrian Games is arguably largest equestrian event in the world. Only a quick 30 minute drive from Henderson County, you should be sure to stop by during this major event, running from Sept. 11 to Sept 23, 2018. Everything from parking to horse show admission is free, and the facility is open 365 days a year. You can even book a stay at one of their newly furnished log cabins, stay on their RV pad, or rent one of their three to seven-bedroom cabins. The Tryon International Equestrian Center is a beautiful place to go with friends or family to have fun and explore everything equestrian.

By: Amber Detwiler

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