The Tyron Equestrian Center and Tyron Resort in North Carolina is the most impressive equestrian facility I’ve visited yet – it’s what I expected the Caledon Centre in Ontario (that hosted the Pan Am games a few years ago) to look like, or at least close to it.
Nothing I’ve visited yet, comes close to Tyron. I found it almost by accident when I was staying with my dog at the nearby 4 Paws Kingdom Campgrounds and Canine Resort (check out my experience on dogtrotting.net). So, it’s no surprise that Tyron is the chosen site for the FEI 2018 International Equestrian Competition in September – only the second time North America has hosted the prestigious event. (The first was in Kentucky – horse country. Checkout my Lexington article here).
Opened in June 2014, Tyron is a relatively sparkling new equestrian competition venue for Hunter/jumper, dressage, para-dressage, eventing, reining, driving, vaulting and endurance. Plans are to expand the resort component (currently there are one to five-bedroom cabin rentals on site) to 1800 rooms and some condo units. At last check, you can still rent a one-bedroom cabin during the FEI 2018 games for $950 (US) a night, seven-night minimum.
Prior the fall events, here’s a sneak preview of what to expect at the Tryon Equestrian Center for those lucky enough to score tickets to FEI 2018. If not, you can still attend free riding events the rest of the year, like I did in July. I recommend it; Best value in horse-loving North Carolina.
Tyron Equestrian Center is billed as a ‘lifestyle’ facility – the horse lifestyle presumably.
- Dining options include coffee shop cafes, an Italian restaurant, a noticeably retro 1950s style diner, and a bar and grill with outdoor patio overlooking the main riding ring
- Main riding ring has slopped stadium seating and a Jumbotron screen facing the outdoor patio keeping spectators close to the jumping action
- Some picnic tables around the grass in view of the main ring
- The old school carnival carousel at the entrance is free to ride, even during events.
- 12 riding arenas in total
- 1200 permanent horse stalls
- One to five-bedroom cabin-style lodging with kitchenettes accommodations on site
Clearly, the site is booking up fast for the FEI competition in September but attending other events during the year are the best deal. Smaller riding arenas side-by-side allow spectators to watch smaller jumping events up close and in comfortable elevated Muskoka-style chairs next to side tables or easily moved to the rail’s edge – all under shaded roofs between each ring.
A boardwalk links hut-like shops (most with equestrian gear or horse art). Plus, it’s all dog-friendly. The smaller day competitions during select summer weeks are free and so is the parking. Particularly impressive is the Saturday Night Lights Grand Prix equestrian event on weekends – food, fun and live music along with a jumping competition at 8 pm and admission is free.
In an effort to get more people interested in the sport (and they should be), there’s even a Horse Show 101 guide available on line (here) for the newbie, or anyone needed a quick review.
Soon on horsetrotting.net: Hopefully, coverage of the FEI World Competition … stay tuned and fingers crossed. Also, more trail riding, this time near Kanas City, Missouri.