Mill Spring, North Carolina, USA – May 21, 2022 – The first edition of 2022 Saturday Night Lights presented by Tryon Horse & Home at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC) featured the $30,000 Cleghorn Gun Club Grand Prix, with Todd Minikus (USA) and Amex Z claiming top honors.
Minikus and the 2009 Zangersheide mare (Andiamo Z x Senne) owned by the Bit By Bit Group navigated the Catsy Cruz (MEX) course design with natural speed. The duo triumphed after their 34.747-second jump-off performance. Minikus recapped. “Amex is a veteran partner for me at this point. She hasn’t shown in almost two months, so she jumped real fresh and was just super in the jump off. She couldn’t have been better!”
In second, Martien van der Hoeven (USA) and Morris Horta, the 2012 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Eldorado van de Zeshoek x Irenice Horta) owned by Luccirelli International, LLC, cleared the short course in 37.233 seconds.
Daniel “Dany” Michan (MEX) rode Champion League, his own 2012 Hanoverian stallion (Cador x Carisma), to a time of 37.496 to complete the podium.
Minikus also got a chance to tour the course with a new horse, which proved to be a learning experience for the new partnership. “To tell you the truth, I made a mistake on [Graf Compliment]. I was unsure, and it’s my first week showing him, so I was bummed a little bit by the decisions that I made on that horse.”
When Amex Z stepped into the ring, van der Hoeven’s leading time of 37.233 seconds had been holding fast throughout the twelve-horse jump off. “I was in the schooling area watching and I really couldn’t tell how fast [Martien went]. But Amex is maybe one of the fastest horses in the world, I think. I tried not to overdo it; she was very handy back to the combination and once she did that so well, I thought that I was ahead at that point.”
An experienced pair in Tryon Stadium and throughout the country, Minikus and Amez will be back to contest future competitions under the lights, but it felt good to kick off the iconic series with a win, he shared.
Final Results – $30,000 Cleghorn Gun Club Grand Prix
1) Todd Minikus (USA) & Amex Z – 0 / 0 – 34.747
2) Martien van der Hoeven (USA) & Morris Horta – 0 / 0 – 37.233
3) Daniel “Dany” Michan (MEX) & Champion League – 0/ 0 – 37.496
Source: Press Release by Sarah Madden for TIEC – Tryon International Equestrian Center
Photos: © TIEC / Natalie Suto Photography