Sally Wheeler-Maier and Captain Courageous PA accept Silver Champion from Cynthia Richardson. Photos by Emma Maxwell.
New York, NY – Horses returned to New York City’s Central Park for the second-annual Rolex Central Park Horse Show on Wednesday with the inaugural U.S. Open Arabians, presented by Aljassimya Farm. Showcasing the athleticism and diversity of the Arabian breed in the foreground of the Manhattan skyline, Champions in four under saddle and six halter classes were crowned.
Classes including Hunter Pleasure, Western Pleasure, and Country English Pleasure showcased the Arabian horse under saddle. Yearling Fillies, Yearling Colts, Junior Fillies 2-3 Years Old, Junior Colts 2-3 Years Old, Senior Mares and Senior Stallions were presented in hand to highlight these horses as desirable breeding stock based on their conformation and shape.
Capping the evening, Arabian fans at Wollman Rink traveled through time to when Arabian horses roamed the desert. The Arabian Mounted Native Costume class portrayed the magic and romance of the Arabian horse as ancestors of modern day light breeds.
Gold, Silver and Bronze Champions were awarded for each of the ten classes offered at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show where Sally Wheeler-Maier, a New York City native, was presented as Silver Champion in the Country English Pleasure class aboard her own Captain Courageous PA. Wheeler-Maier is an amateur rider who makes a living as an actress and rides part-time.
“Usually you travel all over the country to show, but I walked ten blocks from 66th and 2nd carrying my show hat and I had a lot of family and friends here cheering me on, which was an amazing feeling,” she said.
Wheeler-Maier has been showing since she was nine years old, after reading The Black Stallion and asking her dad for a black Arabian stallion. She received just that and has since been dedicated to the breed through her training at Trowbridge Arabians in Westport, CT and at shows from coast to coast, a list that now includes New York City.
“It’s like a really fantastic fancy horse camp,” said Wheeler-Maier of competing in Central Park alongside professionals.
One professional that competed in five of Wednesday’s classes and earned two Gold, one Silver and two Bronze Championships was Ted Carson. Carson hails from Minnesota, but now calls North Carolina home and competes all over the world.
“I’ve been showing horses professionally for 26 years now and this is the most amazing spot I have ever shown a horse in. To run in there with the first horse of the show was special,” he said. “I think the footing is some of the best I’ve ever seen in the world. This is probably the best setting you could ever think about and I think that everyone who put in the effort to get this done is amazing and we want to support this heavily.”
While exhibitors were in awe of their surroundings, they still impressed the judges, including Dr. Nasr Marei, who traveled from Egypt to be part of the U.S. Open Arabians. “It is a true honor to be here and I think it will get better and better,” he said. “The show was tremendous and organizationally it was spectacular. The quality of the horses was impressive and it’s a backdrop that is the best in the world.”
Cynthia Richardson, president of the Arabian Horse Association (AHA), spearheaded the U.S. Open Arabians after watching the inaugural Rolex Central Park Horse Show on television last year. “After I saw it, I asked the USEF if I could meet with the people who are organizing the show and I came to talk about how we could make this happen and it’s been an amazing journey,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to next year and building this.”
Richardson and International Equestrian Group CEO Mark Bellissimo were proud to announce that the U.S. Open Arabians will return to headline the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show and anticipate a huge response from the Arabian horse community.
“I think it adds a different dimension and twist to the show and we’re very excited about the possibilities as we move forward,” said Bellissimo. “With more time and more exposure, I think the level of the event will continue to grow and I’m looking forward to packing the stands next year. Our vision for this horse show has always been a celebration of the horse and I think expanding that appropriately to different disciplines and breeds is something we aim to do.”
Full results from the U.S. Open Arabians are available here.
The Rolex Central Park Horse Show continues through Sunday, September 27, with more multi-discipline equestrian sport. In addition to Arabians, the schedule includes the inaugural U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers, Dressage, Hunters, and U25 Jumpers. All classes will be streamed live at www.centralparkhorseshow.com.
About Aljassimya Farm
Aljassimya Farm is committed to the Arabian horse. Not only by linking the history of this timeless horse to his future, by breeding our own elite generations; but by sharing the magic of the breed with new audiences. It is a proud moment to be part of the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, bringing the Arabian Horse to the heart of New York City for the first time.
About Rolex Central Park Horse Show
Launched in September 2014, Rolex Central Park Horse Show is the first-ever outdoor, multi-day equestrian sporting event in New York City, showcasing some of the best show jumpers and dressage riders in the world as they vie for top prizes against a backdrop of skyscrapers in one of the world’s most iconic venues. As the event founder, Mark Bellissimo is the CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions and International Equestrian Group LLC; Managing Partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEF), Tryon Equestrian Partners and Colorado Equestrian Partners; and Publisher of The Chronicle of The Horse magazine. In its second year, Rolex Central Park Horse Show will make its triumphant return from September 23 to 27, 2015 and will feature five days of multi-discipline equestrian sport and performances, ranging from Arabians and Dressage to Hunters and Show Jumping. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show will also host the inaugural U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers, Dressage, Hunters, U25 Jumpers, and Arabians. For more information, visit http://centralparkhorseshow.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CPhorseshow, and follow @cphorseshow on Twitter and Instagram.
Additional information can be found at www.coth.com and www.centralparkhorseshow.com.
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