THE ROLEX CENTRAL PARK HORSE SHOW, CLOCKWISE TOP LEFT: STABLE AREA OF MCLAIN WARD; BENJAMIN MEREDITH ON ANNABELLE 28; GEORGINA BLOOMBERG ON CROWN 5; THE GRAND PRIX AT DUSK; CONOR SWAIL AT THE ROLEX JUMP; MCLAIN WARD ON HH CARLOS Z
Wollman Ice Skating rink was transformed into a horse ring for the third year in a row last week, in what has become a new annual fall highlight in New York City, the Rolex Central Park Horse Show. Nestled at the bottom of Central Park, with the luxury hotels of Central Park South as a backdrop, this metropolitan yet bucolic setting makes for a spectacular venue, and one that is distinctly New York.
New York City is not a place for those who expect success to come easily, and the course itself is extremely challenging for both riders and horses alike, squeezing the multiple combinations of the massive jumps that define a Grand Prix competition — up to 1.5 meters or roughly 5 feet in height and distance — into what is a small and oddly shaped arena. New York’s theme song aptly applies, “If I can make it here, I’ll make it anywhere”, and the lyrics could be changed to “If I can jump it here, I’ll jump it anywhere.”
KENT FARRINGTON IN CENTRAL PARK, BEFORE AND DURING THE COMPETITION
The five day show has quickly established itself on the international circuit as one of the world’s leading equestrian events, combining Grand Prix show jumping and dressage. One of the most anticipated events was the $216,000 Rolex U.S. Open Grand Prix. Held Friday evening, the show featured two Olympians from Team USA who competed in Rio this summer, McLain Ward and Kent Farrington, both of whom won silver medals in Equestrian Team Jumping. We had the opportunity to meet Kent, currently ranked #2 in the world, just before the competition and chat about what has become an iconic and uniquely NYC sporting event — as well as his first Olympic games in Rio.