The dream of running a horse show in New York’s Central Park came to fruition last week, with the four day event in one of the biggest cities in the world declared a resounding success.
The inaugural Central Park Horse Show (CPHS) was presented by Rolex and produced by The Chronicle of the Horse at Trump Rink featured four days of equestrian competition and special exhibitions.
Mark Bellissimo of International Equestrian Group, LLC thanked supporters including Donald Trump and title sponsor Rolex for their help in making his dream of a Central Park Horse Show a reality.
“We are elated about the success of our inaugural Central Park Horse Show,” Bellissimo said.
“Our vision was to elevate and increase the exposure of horse sport in the United States. The media coverage was very broad and very deep. I cannot think of a more heavily covered weekend equestrian event in US history. I have to thank Rolex, who was a tremendous supporter of this event. We would like to thank USEF for their support for our event.”
He also thanked Trump, whom he had worked with for the past year to make the event happen. “Without Donald’s passion for the event, the Trump Rink, and the support of the Trump Organization, this event would not have happened. We are very thankful and look forward to many years of working together.”
The 2014 Central Park Horse Show began on Thursday night with show jumping wins for hometown riders Georgina Bloomberg and Lucy Deslauriers. Twenty-three of the world’s best horses and riders jumped in the inaugural $210,000 Central Park Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex, with an exciting victory for New York’s own Georgina Bloomberg riding Juvina. The class was televised live on NBC Sports Network as the first live primetime broadcast of equestrian sport on a major sports network.
A $20,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by PwC, featured some of the nation’s top riders under the age of 25 with a win for 15-year-old Lucy Deslauriers riding Hester.
Trump Rink was alight with excitement Friday night as the Suncast Corporation’s World Team, led by captain Kent Farrington, beat the NYC Team in a $50,000 Speed Challenge. A $5,000 Junior/Amateur Speed Challenge was held later in the evening with a win for 22-year-old New York City-based rider Hilary McNerney and Amy Carr’s Oscar.
On the third day of competition, five-time Olympic Gold Medalist Isabell Werth of Germany won the inaugural $40,000 Central Park Dressage Challenge, presented by The Axel Johnson Group, riding El Santo NRW. The United States’ Steffen Peters brought his superstar mount Ravel for a special freestyle performance, and Jan Ebeling retired his famous mare Rafalca after the duo had their final performance together.
Wellington Equestrian Realty LLC presented a special Owner’s Award to the winning owners of El Santo NRW, Madeline Winter-Schulze and Werth, for the Central Park Dressage Challenge. A $5000 donation to charity in their honor will be made.
The US Polo Assn. Central Park Polo Challenge served as the weekend’s finale competition on Sunday with a win for the US Trust Team made up of players Kris Kampsen, Marc Ganzi and Wesley Finlayson. The FlexJet team of Melissa Ganzi, Charlie Muldoon, and Juan Bollini finished second, and the US Polo Assn.’s team of Nic Roldan, Juancito Bollini, and Grant Ganzi earned a third place finish. All of the players rode horses provided by the Ganzi Family and Grand Champions Polo Club. Kampsen was named MVP, and Open Quarzo was Best Playing Pony.
The match will be telecast on the NBC Sports Network (NBC SN) on October 4 at 3.30pm EST, and it will be the first ever nationwide telecast of an arena polo match.
Saturday and Sunday also featured two matinee performances each day with exhibitions representing different disciplines of equestrian sport. The United States Pony Club Games highlighted New York’s top young riders in a series of entertaining and competitive games. The inaugural Central Park Grand National Shetland Pony Steeplechase races saw jockeys age seven to 16 compete for awards.
Young dressage rider Barbara “Bebe” Davis represented the next generation of dressage stars. The 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games’ US Vaulting Team showcased their world-class horseback gymnastics thanks to sponsor Akiko Yamazaki and were the opening performance before Saturday night’s dressage competition. Inspirational equestrian entertainment concluded the matinees as Australian Horseman Guy McLean and his equine partners demonstrated the strong bond between horses and humans.
IEG supported five local charities through the Central Park Horse Show. Donations were made in a special presentation on Friday, with $25,000 going to the Police Athletic League NYC, $25,000 to the City Parks Foundation, $10,000 to GallopNYC, $10,000 to the New York City Parks Mounted Auxiliary, and $10,000 to the New York City Police Foundation, to be used for the NYPD Mounted Unit. Thanks to sponsor PwC, the Central Park Horse Show gave free tickets to local public school children who benefit from PwC’s unique financial literacy programs.