Tryon Valentine Series Recap: Winter Indoor Schooling Shows Highlight Young Horses and New Partnerships

Feb 28, 2023 - 4:38 PM

Tryon Valentine 1: Katlynn Butler and Carmina Collect $1,500 Hunter Derby 2’6” Win

Tryon Valentine 2: Casey Murphy and Mr. Cooper are on the Right Track with $1,500 Mini Jumper Prix 2’9” Win

For Immediate Release

Sarah Madden for TIEC

Mill Spring, NC – February 28, 2023 – February at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC) featured the Tryon Valentine Series, two weeks of unrated schooling competition, trainer schooling and open schooling days in the Indoor Complex. The series offered competitors a contained, rain-free environment to school and compete, from first horse shows for young mounts or new partnerships testing the waters at a new height. Each week also featured a highlight class, shining the spotlight on Hunters and Jumpers alike. Read below to view highlights from the Tryon Valentine Series.

Tryon Valentine 1: Katlynn Butler and Carmina Collect $1,500 Hunter Derby 2’6” Win

February 11, 2023 – Tryon Valentine 1 focused on the Hunters with a $1,500 Hunter Derby at the 2’6” height, celebrating Valentine’s Day Weekend with a Cookie and Candy Bar presented by McClure Sport Horses as well as a Best Dressed Award for the Derby presented by Bonne Bouche Fine Chocolates.

HB7A2281Katlynn Butler and Carmina
©Bailey Beck for Natalie Suto Photography

Katlynn Butler (Tryon, NC) claimed the win aboard Carmina, her own 2011 Swedish Warmblood mare (Corlensky G x Feline), on a total score of 165 after the handy round. Ashley Conkle (Wellford, SC) rode Freestyle, Laura Hunt’s 2015 Holsteiner gelding, to a score of 161 for reserve honors, while third place went to Morgan Correll (Hickory, NC) aboard Faircourts Lightning Thief, the 2009 Welsh/Thoroughbred cross gelding (Otteridge Foxtrot x Raja’s Darlin) owned by Ella Doerr, after their 155-point performance.

HB7A2289Ashley Conkle and Freestyle
©Bailey Beck for Natalie Suto Photography

“The course was really great,” Butler recapped. “I think Favian [Hernandez] did a very nice job building for the group. The handy was a lot of fun, too,” she continued. Walking into the second round with a score of 79, the duo laid down a class-high score of 86 to clinch the win.

“My mare is great at the inside turns, because she does have an Eventing and Jumper background before she landed on Hunters. So, it was really fun to be able to utilize her skill sets,” Butler shared. Originally imported as an eventing prospect, Carmina has changed jobs a few times before landing in the Hunter division and recently came back from a lease. “I got to start riding her in August of 2022, and she’s just been getting better every show.”

HB7A1632Morgan Correll and Faircourts Lightning Thief
©Bailey Beck for Natalie Suto Photography

Butler attended both Valentine Series shows with her own ride as well as with John Brown’s Braveheart Farm in Mill Spring, NC. The opportunity to train and compete in the Indoor Complex in February was beneficial for reasons beyond getting out of the rain, she noted.

HB7A2304Katlynn Butler and Carmina in their presentation ceremony.
©Bailey Beck for Natalie Suto Photography

“We love the indoor series. We brought a different group of horses both weeks. It’s been really great to keep them going,” she explained. “I went down to Wellington last month with her [Carmina] and then wanted to keep her going until the spring shows started, so I came here for two weeks. It was also great,” she concluded, “because we were able to bring amateur clients, and a ton of young horses. A lot of them showed for the first time, and it’s just been amazing. We’re super thankful to Tryon for hosting these shows!”

For full results from the $1,500 Hunter Derby 2’6”, click here.

For full results from Tryon Valentine 1, click here.

Tryon Valentine 2: Casey Murphy and Mr. Cooper are on the Right Track with $1,500 Mini Jumper Prix 2’9” Win

February 18, 2023 – The highlight class of Tryon Valentine 2 competition, the $1,500 Mini Jumper Prix set at 2’9”, resulted in a win for Casey Murphy (Old Fort, NC) and Mr. Cooper, her own OTTB gelding, after clearing the jump-off in 36.486 seconds. Katlynn Butler (Tryon, NC) and Karina, Avenir Farm’s 2016 Warmblood mare, produced a short-course time of 37.149 seconds to earn second place. In third place, Emily Collins (Anderson, SC) combined with Oprah, owned by Katie McDaniel, to finish in a time of 38.657 seconds. Of the 14 pairs who navigated the first round, nine entries challenged the jump-off course set by TIEC’s own Favian Hernandez.

HB7A4038Casey Murphy and Mr. Cooper
©Bailey Beck for Natalie Suto Photography

“The course was awesome. The jump off was probably my favorite part just because I absolutely love rollbacks. And thankfully, Cooper absolutely loves rollbacks as well, and it really suited us. But in general, the course was just a blast to ride.”

HB7A4163Katlynn Butler and Karina
©Bailey Beck for Natalie Suto Photography

Tight turns and slicing fences was her gameplan walking into the jump-off, Murphy detailed. “I knew from fence five to 11, that I could slice five and roll straight to 11. Thankfully, it worked out.”

The duo found success in just their second show together after Cooper came to Murphy in September, with plans to compete in the upcoming Tryon Welcome Series. “It was our second show together; our first one was the Harmon Classic Holiday Show. Cooper’s been around the block a time or two. He’s kind of been passed around a little bit, but he’s got a forever home with me now.”

HB7A3934Emily Collins and Oprah
©Bailey Beck for Natalie Suto Photography

“I just really enjoy these indoor shows,” Murphy concluded. “I’m really thankful you guys have them, because it gives me somewhere I can go and compete during the winter. I’m only about an hour west and ride with Catawba Valley Equestrian. With us being a new team, it really gave me the opportunity to feel him out and see how he’s going to handle things. It gives me a good idea of how the upcoming rated shows will go.”

HB7A4262Casey Murphy and Mr. Cooper in their presentation ceremony.
©Bailey Beck for Natalie Suto Photography

For full results from the $1,500 Mini Jumper Prix 2’9”, click here. 

For full results from Tryon Valentine 2, click here. 

The 2023 show season continues with the Tryon Welcome Series kicking off four weeks of rated USEF Hunter/Jumper competition in March. Visit to learn more and book stalls or lodging. 

All photos ©Bailey Beck for Natalie Suto Photography. Natalie Suto Photography serves as the official photographer for all TIEC Hunter/Jumper events, and competitors may purchase photos and prints here. To learn more about photography at TIEC, visit


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