Many of the sport’s finest equestrian athletes will assemble in New York this Autumn as the fourth edition of the Rolex Central Park Horse Show returns to the one of the globe’s most vibrant cities from 20-24 September.
The world-renowned show has been supported by Rolex since its inauguration in 2014. It is the first outdoor, multi-day equestrian event in New York, and is now established as a key date in the city’s sporting and social calendar.
With the iconic Manhattan skyline as a backdrop, the Wollman Rink, located in the heart of Central Park, is transformed into a spectacular arena that features five days of diverse programming.
Spectators from a wide variety of equestrian disciplines will be treated to top-quality sport from elite-level riders, including Olympic and World Champion show jumpers. Rolex Testimonee Kent Farrington, the current World Number One, will be part of a field of competitors vying for a highly sought-after victory at the prestigious event.
The highlight of the show will take place on Friday evening when over 30 of the finest show jumping athletes take centre stage to compete for the coveted U.S. Open Grand Prix, presented by Rolex.
THE VISION OF THE SHOW
An innovative concept, the Rolex Central Park Horse Show is the brainchild of event founder Mark Bellissimo whose vision was to increase the popularisation of equestrian sport by making it more accessible to a wider audience. By hosting the event in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, and specifically in the iconic Central Park, guarantees unparalleled access to high-level horse sports first-hand. Bellissimo stated, “27 million people ride a horse every year, which is more than the eight million who ski, 23 million who play tennis or the 25 million who golf each year. We’re thrilled to be able to bring the equestrian sport and showcase these horses and Olympic-level athletes for our fourth consecutive year in the world’s greatest city.”
THE EVENT THAT HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
The Rolex Central Park Horse Show is unique from many other equestrian events in that it offers something for everyone. Over five days, the show specializes in diverse programming and daily exhibitions of different horse breeds and equestrian disciplines, including show jumping, arena eventing, puissance, hunters and Arabians. This allows spectators to enjoy many elements of equestrian sport while providing an insight into the world of horse sports for those who have little or no prior experience.
The event will kick-off with the U.S. Arabian Horse Show on Wednesday 20 September. Across Thursday and Friday, top-ranked show jumping athletes will compete against the backdrop of New York skyscrapers, gaining momentum for the the main event on Friday night, the U.S. Open Grand Prix, presented by Rolex.
On Saturday three hunter events will precede the innovative arena eventing competition taking place that evening. Sunday, the show’s final day, is a free general admission event known as ‘Family Day’, aimed at increasing the event’s inclusivity with various equestrian demonstrations, activities and more, aligning with the vision of Mark Bellissimo and the overall ethos of the show.
THE U.S. OPEN GRAND PRIX, PRESENTED BY ROLEX
The show’s highlight, the U.S. Open Grand Prix, presented by Rolex will once again attract many of the world’s leading show jumpers.
Rolex Testimonee Kent Farrington is one of the most decorated show jumpers in the world having claimed numerous prestigious global tournament titles as well as a Team silver medal as part of the U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The Chicago native, and current World Number One, will have the support of the home crowd when he arrives in the Wollman Rink.
Farrington has spoken of other riders that inspired him to greatness in his career, most notably fellow Rolex Testimonee Rodrigo Pessoa, the Brazilian veteran whose decorated career has seen him claim three Olympic medals, Individual gold at the World Equestrian Games in 1998, as well as becoming the only rider to have won three World Cup Finals in consecutive years between 1998 and 2000:
“I used to watch a lot of VHS tapes growing up. Every year, I would get the World Cup Final videotaped and I would just play it on repeat. I’d stand in front of the TV and pretend that I was riding and that I was Rodrigo [Pessoa].”