UPDATE: Tryon International Equestrian Center will be closed to the public September 17- November 17, 2020.
This world-class equestrian competition campus, internationally known for hosting the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018, continues to expand. Each year, they host 40 weeks of competition with Olympic-level riders and horses in the country, in addition to many events. Most competitions are free for the public to watch!
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). While its restaurants are open all year, competitions generally run April through November. Watch hunter/jumper and dressage horse shows from a variety of stadium seating and tables. On competition days, the action runs from around 8 AM until 5 PM. On many Saturday nights, watch the highest level of competitive horse jumping at the Grand Prix with plenty of extra things to do.
Saturday Night Lights: May through October
(Canceled due to COVID-19 safety concerns)
Find a festive atmosphere with plenty to see and do on every Saturday night, spring through fall. 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 general admission and parking are free. You can't beat that! Family activities start at 6 PM and the Grand Prix competitions or other horse events begin at 8 PM. Go to the TIEC website for details on weekly competitions and events (they often make last-minute additions).
Wonderland Christmas Light Show: Mid November-December
Drive a two-mile route through an animated light display. 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 the series. During competition weeks, try Mane Street Coffee, Pony Express Deli, Clear Rounds Pub, and The Siesta Cantina. Go to the TIEC website for restaurant hours and more info.
In addition to Dover Saddlery and the General Store open year-round, find a variety of shops in cabins by the arena that open during competitions.
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.
Weekday Visits & Events
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 to see special events throughout the week and year.
Cleghorn Golf & Sports Club
Play 18 holes on their championship golf course. Then sharpen your shooting skills at the sporting clay course with 15 stations. Read more about Cleghorn Golf & Sports Club.
Stay in a cozy cabin, inn or luxury vacation home rental on campus. Go to the TIEC website to see the lodging options.
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.