Opened in 2014, the Tryon International Equestrian Center effectively established the next chapter in a town where history and horses intersect. The $100 million, 1,450-acre, state-of-the-art facility takes a love for horses to the next level. Here, any and all can come and enjoy the beauty of the sport and its incredibly gifted animals.
“For us, it’s about bringing together family, horses, and entertainment,” said Molly Oakman, community relations manager for the Tryon Resort. “We want to expose people to the sport who maybe haven’t been before. This facility is open to everyone. People can come here and appreciate all these beautiful animals and be able to see world-class entertainment.”
TIEC features 10 riding arenas, over 1,000 permanent stalls, elevated and shaded viewing decks, restaurants, family activities, boutiques, and more. Its size and breadth has made the center a must-see location for spectators and competitors alike. In fact, Tryon is now mentioned in the same breath as sacred equestrian towns like Lexington and Saratoga.
In addition to bringing in tourist dollars, TIEC also created over 700 construction jobs, with another 300 positions filled within the center itself. For 2017, the center will also build a 150-room hotel overlooking the competition fields, providing even more long-term jobs to the county.
“The facility was somewhat of an answered prayer for this area,” said Oakman. “With the center built, and with the visitor numbers double and triple our projections for 2015, this has been a great opportunity for the town and this region.”
Tryon’s long and storied equestrian history started in 1917 with the Pine Crest Inn, a renowned spot where northerners could come and ride their horses during the winter. The Tryon Horse Show began in 1929 (the third oldest of its kind in the country) and the Block House Steeplechase in 1934. In 1956, the US Equestrian Team trained in Tryon for the Olympics.
Now, with TIEC open and operational, Tryon was also named to host the coveted American Eventing Championships for 2016-2018. All this growth has been very purposeful, according to Oakman.
“It’s about exposure of this sport to the area, and also showcasing beautiful Western North Carolina to the equestrian community,” said Oakman.