Watch the most talented riders and horses in the country as Olympic-caliber athletes compete for international titles at the amazing Tryon International Equestrian Center. While it is new to the Asheville area, it's already attracting horse-lovers from across the country. The first phases of the resort opened in 2014, including a 6,000-seat outdoor stadium, stables, arenas, restaurants and shops. This world-class equestrian destination will continue to grow during the next few years at the $100 million Tryon Resort. Located between Rutherfordton and Columbus, it's about 13 miles east of the town of Tryon. The 48-mile drive from Asheville is an easy one via a freeway (I-26 and US 74).
Visit 365 days a year. There's never an admission fee. Watch hunter/jumper and dressage horse shows from a variety of stadium seating and tables during many weeks from spring through fall. Since there is no assigned seating, you can pick your favorite spot(s) to get a close-up view of the action. On competition days, the action runs from around 8 AM until 5 PM. On many Saturday nights (see dates below), watch the highest level of competitive horse jumping at the Grand Prix with plenty of extra things to do.
Saturday Night Lights: Every Week May through October
Find a festive atmosphere with plenty to see and do on these Saturdays. Most weeks will feature Grand Prix horse jumping competitions with big prizes for the winner. Every week features live music, Venetian Carousel rides, kids activities and a variety of dining and shopping. Not to mention plenty of beautiful horses to watch. Both admission and parking are free. You can't beat that! Event gates open at 6 PM and the Grand Prix competitions ($2 million in prize money this season!) or other horse events begin at 8 PM. Go to the TIEC website for details on weekly events (they often make last minute additions).
Gladiator Polo: Returning in 2018!
The brand new professional league will include a highly-publicized player draft and feature team owners, similar to the most popular major league sports in North America. Matches begin at 8 PM. Festivities, games begin at 6 PM. Free admission.
FEI World Equestrian Games: September 10-23, 2018
The Tryon International Equestrian Center will host the 14-day FEI World Equestrian Games, administered by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the worldwide governing body of equestrian sport. Held every four years, halfway between the Summer Olympic Games cycle. So next to the Olympic Games, the FEI WEG is the most important event on the world equestrian calendar. Read more!
Open year-round are four restaurants. The 50s-inspired Roger's Diner features classic and southern favorites like burgers, patty melts, grits and milkshakes along with breakfast all day, every day. Legends Grille serves lunch and dinner Wednesday-Sunday with casual elegance. Blue Ginger Sushi & Noodles (Wed-Sun) has the freshest seafood and locally sourced ingredients. Campagna Italian is usually open Wednesday-Sunday. The Legends Club offers tables of six with prime viewing in the stadium, with a buffet breakfast and lunch from Wednesday-Sunday, and Saturday dinner each week of series. During competition weeks, try Mane Street Coffee, Triple Crown Deli & Subs, Clear Rounds Pub and The Siesta Cantina. Go to the TIEC website for restaurant hours and more info.
In addition to Tryon Tack and the General Store open year-round, find a variety of shops in cabins by the arena that open during competitions. Every Thursday from 9 AM-12 PM from spring to fall, visit the on-site Farmers Market with produce sourced within a 25-mile radius.
About the Competitions
Grand Prix Show Jumping, which began in Paris in 1866, has been described as an exciting combination of horse racing and downhill skiing. The jumpers hit high rates of speed between more than a dozen fences up to 5’ 3” in height in a twisting, turning obstacle course. The object is to complete the course without the horse knocking down a bar or refusing to jump. This sport of jumping was first started during the popular fox hunts in Europe, jumping over fences in the English countryside.
There are three main divisions at a hunter/jumper horse show: hunter, jumper and equitation. In all three, a rider guides a horse over a course of obstacles. However, each is scored differently. Dressage competition features the performance of choreographed movements and is judged on the horse and rider’s obedience, flexibility and balance (no jumping). Go to the TIEC website for competition dates and more details.
During their many competition weeks, especially spring and fall, you can stop by on Thursday-Sunday to watch the action at one of the many arenas. Grab a chair under a pavilion, buy a drink and enjoy a front row seat. As always, there's no admission fee! Go to the TIEC website for competition dates.
Stay in a cozy cabin, inn or luxury vacation home rental on campus. During competition season (April-October), there's 5-night minimum. Go to the TIEC website to see the lodging options.
Perched above the equestrian show grounds and scheduled to open in 2018 will be a luxury 150-room hotel. Additional plans include condos, apartments, offices, more restaurants and outdoor green space.
Tryon & Horses
The town of Tryon has a deep history of equestrian culture and sport that spans over 100 years and includes Hunter/Jumper, Steeplechase, Cross Country, Carriage Driving, Dressage, Breeding, Young Horse Shows, Fox Hunting and the Western disciplines. It is also considered the birthplace of modern Show Jumping as it was the home of the 1956 and 1960 Olympic trials, as well as a key training ground for Show Jumping Legends George Morris, Bert Denemethy, Gordon Wright, and Frank Chapot.
Directions: TIEC is located conveniently off of exit 170 on US Highway 74. It's an easy 50-minute drive from Asheville. Street address for GPS is 4066 Pea Ridge Road, Mill Spring, NC. Go to the TIEC website for competition dates.
Watch our video of a perfect ride at Saturday Night Lights Grand Prix at Tryon International Equestrian Center:
Places to Stay & Nearby Things to Do
WinterFest (Late November-Late December): Tryon Resort’s WinterFest features thousands of lights and lots of events. There are no horse competitions this month, but much of the village is open. On Saturdays, enjoy a Christmas Market, classic car cruise-in, carousel rides, hayrides and more, 9 AM-5 PM. Free admission.
More Holiday Happenings 2017:
- On Thanksgiving Day, Tryon Resort is serving up a delicious holiday buffet from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Legends Grille featuring carved turkey and ham, traditional sides, specialty items and delectable desserts. Come for the feast, or better yet, trade a messy kitchen at home for a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend in one of Tryon Resort’s three or five-bedroom riverside cabins. One bedroom cabins are also available for those looking for a more intimate escape. Tryon Resort’s Lodge on Lake Lure, complete with 17 luxurious guest rooms, is offering the same Thanksgiving buffet at its Treetops Restaurant overlooking scenic Lake Lure. Buffet prices for both locations are $29.95 for adults and $14.95 for children. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 828-863-1000.
- WinterFest Celebration is packed with holiday fun. On Saturday, Dec. 2, 9, 16 and 23 bring the kids to dine on a pancake breakfast with Santa, followed by story time with Mrs. Claus. In the General Store, decorate cookies while watching classic Christmas movies. Free carousel rides are also available.
- On Friday, Dec. 8 through Sunday, Dec. 10, visit Tryon Resort’s Christmas Market featuring unique arts and craft vendors. Then, explore Dover Saddlery’s selection of lifestyle merchandise and tack to please both the equestrian and fashionista on your list.
- Tryon Resort continues its movie night tradition with “The Polar Express” on Saturday, Dec. 16. Bring the kids in their comfy pajamas at 5 p.m. and start with a kid-friendly buffet and Christmas treats. The conductor will promptly cruise through the corridor at 6 p.m. before the movie begins to punch each child’s commemorative train ticket. Buffet prices are $20 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under.
- Come dressed in your ugliest Christmas sweater on Saturday, Dec. 23 at 9 p.m., and take a chance in our Christmas Eve EVE Ugly Sweater Karaoke Contest! Prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place singers and to the “Ugliest Sweater” champion.
New Year's Eve Celebration: Welcome 2018 in world-class style at the Legends Club & Campagna Italian Grille. More details to come!