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Rolex Central Park Horse Show Showcases World Class Dressage

Updated on September 25, 2016
Three-time Olympic gold medalist and British rider Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist and British rider Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro. | Source
Judy Reynolds riding Vancouver K from Ireland.
Judy Reynolds riding Vancouver K from Ireland. | Source
Canadian Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu riding AlI In.
Canadian Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu riding AlI In. | Source
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven aboard Paridon Magi from Sweden.
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven aboard Paridon Magi from Sweden. | Source
Judy Reynolds riding Vancouver K from Ireland.
Judy Reynolds riding Vancouver K from Ireland. | Source
Three-time Olympic gold medalist and British rider Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist and British rider Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro. | Source
Three-time Olympic gold medalist and British rider Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist and British rider Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro. | Source
See Valegro in the middle of that crowd of people.
See Valegro in the middle of that crowd of people. | Source
(l-r) Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu, Judy Reynolds, Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven, Charlotte Dujardin and Mark Bellissimo.
(l-r) Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu, Judy Reynolds, Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven, Charlotte Dujardin and Mark Bellissimo. | Source

Rolex Central Park Horse Show Showcases World Class Dressage

The Rolex Central Park Horse Show is over but the stamp it’s left on the horse world will continue on. This one-of-a-kind event is bringing the horses to the people and what better place to do that but in New York City’s Central Park.

During the five day show, which began on Wednesday, September 21 and concluded on Sunday September 25, Arabians, Hunters, Jumpers and Dressage were showcased.

Dressage was the feature on Saturday night with a preview earlier in the week. The winner of both the U.S. Open CDI Dressage Grand Prix and the $75,000 U.S. Open FEI Dressage Freestyle CDI4*, presented by Axel Johnson was Ireland’s Judy Reynolds riding Vancouver K, the horse she also competed on in this year’s Rio Olympic Games. While dressage has been featured in the past, this was the first ever international dressage grand prix CDI4*.

Three-time Olympic Gold Medalists Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro Steal the Show

The highlight of the evening was a special freestyle demonstration by Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin riding her eminent Valegro. The pair recently return from the Rio Olympic Games with their third Olympic gold medal. For the spectators, the real treat was being able to visit the horse up close and personal in the center of the ring.

“Valegro loves meeting the crowd, and he loves the people,” Dujardin later commented. “He got thousands of pats, hugs and kisses tonight.”

Valegro, who is only 14, is now retired, despite the fact that he could go on competing. “He has won absolutely everything. He holds every world record. He has been a horse of a lifetime for me. I would love everybody to remember him as the best horse he is, and after Rio I could not have asked for a better ride. It was just one of the most emotional and magical rides of my life, and I would hate for him to finish his career down,” commented Dujardin as the reason for his retirement.

Olympian Judy Reynolds Claims Top Honors

In the Grand Prix, Reynolds score of 73.8% was mere fractions ahead of Swedish rider Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven riding Paridon Magi to a final score of 73.140%. Vilhelmson-Silfven was also at the Olympics and in fact is now a seven-time Olympian. There she rode Don Auriello. To have this level of riders and horses showing off their talent at the RCPHS was an incredible opportunity for the audience to witness.

In the Freestyle, the order was very similar. Reynolds and Vancouver K dominated the class with their score of 77.051%, while Vihelmson-Silfen scored 76.650%. Both riders were thrilled with their results.

After the Olympics Reynolds had no real plans other than to take some time off. However, when she received an invitation to come to New York City for this one-of-a-kind show, she quickly grabbed the carrot and revised her plans. Besides, she had given some thought in the past about one day attending this show. “It is an amazing location… I would not have missed this for the world,” she remarked.

Vilhelmson-Silfven echoed Reynolds noting, “The feeling to ride into the arena with this background is amazing.”

Canada’s Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu, who rode All In was equally as impressed. “There is nothing that compares to a show like this - the atmosphere, kids screaming….”

One of the judges, Gary Rockwell, who also judged in Rio, was not only impressed with venue but the level of riding. “I am very happy with the rides today,” he remarked and then looking back to Rio he added, “The Olympics this year was very special. I think the quality of the riding was a step up. I was glad that judging showed that beautiful riding wins, and a lot of mouth and tongue problems does not win. It showed that if you are going win you have to ride by the correct principles of relaxation and harmony.”

The beauty of Saturday night’s performance was it was more of a celebration and a hard core competition and this is exactly what the Rolex Central Park Horse Show should be. Having smaller classes than at a normal horse show allows the audience to have a chance to witness quality without having the evening run on forever.

The founder of the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, Mark Bellissimo, has a knack for understanding what works and his recipes for the week was a perfect menu of what will achieve his goal of bringing the horses to the people so that they can witness in person the beauty of the horse.

Dressage Champions at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show

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