Reining The Carolinas Equestrian 18 “Given this facility’s amenities and the potential scope of your audience, I suppose you’re going to reach out to the reining community?”  “Do you plan to submit a bid to host a future World Equestrian Games (WEG)?”  “The indoor arena will be perfectly suited for the reining and vaulting disciplines.”  It’s hard to believe that this initial conversational exchange with Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) managing partner Mark Bellissimo occurred four years ago.  To say a lot has transpired since then is an understatement.

Reining The Carolinas Equestrian 07 TIEC hosted the Carolina Classic in mid-May at its newly-constructed indoor arena as the first reining competition on property since the venue’s 2014 inception attracting more than 600 entries.  In preparation for the September 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games, ™ (WEG) the 27th year of the Carolina Classic Derby, the 28th installment, with an expanded schedule under its new name, included a two-part USEF Selection Trials, $15,000 FEI CRI 3* competition, the Carolina Classic Open and Non-Pro Derbies, the Atlantic Breeder's Incentive Derby, and a double slate of National Reining Horse Association ancillary classes, American Quarter Horse Association classes and USA Reining classes. 

Reining The Carolinas Equestrian 11 “We were thrilled to get to show at the TIEC which is the upcoming host of the WEG and were honored to be the first western discipline to show there,” offers life-long friend, and successful hunter rider turned successful reining competitor, Parker Haynes Minchin of Pine Meadow Farm in Vass, NC. “It was also a perfect fit for the next step for the prestigious Carolina Classic.  What fun it was to get to see many of the top in our sport competing for a coveted spot on the WEG Reining team representing the USA.”  Parker and her ‘Dun Whizzin Ruff’ earned wins in the Intermediate Non Pro, Prime Time Non Pro, Masters Non Pro and second in AQHA reining the first slate. The pair tied to win Intermediate Non Pro, won Prime Time Non Pro, won Masters Non Pro and won AQHA Amateur Reining second slate.

“I was so excited that the Spring Carolina Classic had moved to the new TIEC!” adds Shawna Edwards Pelletier of Lucama, NC.  Shawna and her 11-year-old mare, ‘Dizzy Whizzy,’ earned wins in the Rookie Level One Classes both days.  “I could tell as soon as we got ‘Dizzy’ off the trailer at the Tryon facility, she was excited about the new barn, and she loved showing in the new arena as well!  The FEI WEG is going to be amazing in September!”

Reining The Carolinas Equestrian 15 While they may not be from the Carolinas, I had the pleasure of also meeting Colleen McQuay, her daughter Mandy McQuay McCutcheon, and grand-daughter Carlee, who are all extremely successful in the Hunter/Jumper and Reining worlds.  Carlee was busy preparing to compete in the Children’s Hunter Division at one end of the TIEC facility and her older brother Cade was focused on earning a spot on the coveted US Reining Team for WEG at the other.

Reining The Carolinas Equestrian 05 Colleen, along with her husband, Tim, own and operate McQuay Stables, Inc. in Tioga, Texas.  The business consists of three divisions: Breeding, Reining training and sales, and Hunter-Jumper training and sales.   Their promotional tagline says, “Slide on over jump into your future with us.” Legendary to the industry, National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Hall of Famers Tim and Colleen McQuay, have played an integral part in shaping the Reining horse industry into what we see it as today. As a rider, Colleen earned numerous United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) championships in the Hunter divisions while also competing at the AQHA events. She is a six-time Congress champion, with numerous AQHA World Championships as well. Three Million Dollar rider Tim was the NRHA leading money earner for an incredible 11 years, along with being a two time WEG Gold medalist.

Reining The Carolinas Equestrian 01 Colleen coached their daughter, Mandy, to top ribbons as a Hunter-Jumper junior rider throughout the country, including Reserve Champion large junior hunter and winner of the prestigious Winners Stake at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show as well as the bronze medal on her jumper and the team silver.   On the Reining side, Mandy is a NRHA Hall of Famer, a Two Million Dollar Rider and WEG Gold Medalist.  Her husband, Tom, is a NRHA Million Dollar Rider and USEF Rider of the Year.

Reining The Carolinas Equestrian 12 “Understanding the basics of leg to hand is important to both the Reining and the Hunter-Jumper riding disciplines,” offers Colleen.  “Recognizing the importance of the rider’s form to function is key.  Sure the tack is different, but managing the essentials is the same.”  In addition to teaching, Colleen readily offers that the most rewarding aspect of her career thus far is sharing in her daughter’s, as well as her grandchildren’s, accomplishments.  “Mandy was the first woman and Non Pro to ever represent the US at a Reining World Championship.”

Colleen’s grandchildren experienced a quite a successful week of showing at TIEC.  Carlee earned several blue ribbons in her division and Cade will continue the family’s legacy at 2018 WEG by representing the US Team in Tryon in September. “It was truly amazing to watch young Cade McCutcheon not only compete, but witness the interactions among all of the top of our sport with each other and with Cade,” offers Parker. “To watch Cade secure a spot on the team ... following in his grandfather, father and his mother’s footprints was truly amazing!”




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