Tag Archives: Judy Reynolds

Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K Win $75,000 U.S. Open FEI Dressage Freestyle CDI 4*

Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K. Photos copyright Sportfot.

Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro Wow the Crowd with a Thrilling Performance; Kelley Farmer and Kodachrome Top $50,000 Duchossois Cup

September 24, 2016 – New York, NY – Saturday night at the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show (RCPHS) featured a fantastic display of world-class dressage with a win for Ireland’s Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K in the $75,000 U.S. Open FEI Dressage Freestyle CDI 4*, presented by Axel Johnson, as well as a special freestyle demonstration from three-time Olympic gold medalists Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) and Valegro.

Seven entries performed their grand prix freestyles set to music in the impressive atmosphere under the lights of Wollman Rink in New York City on Saturday evening for the $75,000 U.S. Open FEI Dressage Freestyle CDI 4*, presented by Axel Johnson. It was a packed house to watch the beauty and grace of dressage at its very finest in an incredibly unique setting.

With a high score of 77.051%, the win went to Ireland’s Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K, who were also the winners of the U.S. Open Dressage Grand Prix CDI 4*, presented by Axel Johnson, on Friday.

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) and Lovsta Stuteri’s Paridon Magi took the second place finish for the second day in a row, as well as the second year in a row, earning a score of 76.650% for their Saturday night freestyle performance. Third place honors were awarded to Denmark’s Mikala Gundersen aboard Janne Rumbough’s My Lady with a score of 72.400%.

Freestyle winners Vancouver K and Judy Reynolds represented Ireland in this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and then had a short break before making the journey to New York City for the opportunity to compete at this one-of-a-kind event. The 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding sired by Jazz, and owned by the rider’s parents Joe and Kathleen Reynolds, performed consistently to win back-to-back classes this week.

“It is kind of surreal really,” Reynolds remarked on the achievement. “I was probably a little bit more nervous tonight because I wanted to win again. I knew we had the capability of doing it, so I wanted to produce the performance of the night and I put more pressure on myself. I think it is fantastic. I certainly didn’t think this was going to happen when I came over here. For Ireland it is quite historic. I don’t think anybody has ever won two classes in one weekend at a CDI, so it’s nice to have done that.”

Reynolds got her start riding in Ireland and moved to Germany after college to continue training at a higher level.

“You essentially never stop learning; every day you still learn something new with these horses,” Reynolds detailed. “I am a believer that you need to compete against people who are better than you to be better, so when I was finished with college I made the decision to move to Germany. I had been quite successful in Ireland, and went to Germany and started at the bottom again, and I had to work my way back up. You were just against the best of the best, and it forced you to be better, so I kept going and it has gotten us where we are.”

To prepare for Saturday night’s freestyle, Reynolds actually watched video of her performance at the Olympic Games with Vancouver K.

“I watched back the freestyle from Rio so I could get a feel for the most recent version that we have ridden,” she noted. “I noticed that I could improve on a couple of timings. Tonight he wasn’t being quite forward enough for me, so I had to make up some time in a couple of corners to stay on music, but I didn’t really change anything as such.”

The pair’s next stop is the Dressage at Devon CDI-W in Pennsylvania since they are already in the U.S.

“We keep going next week at Devon. We are here, so we are going to make the most of it,” Reynolds detailed. “To be honest, I felt a touch rusty this week, so I think next week will be better. I will be looking forward to that and then we will continue our World Cup campaign. Then, depending on how it goes, we might be back in America for the Finals.”

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven had a great night with Paridon Magi and also spoke of her freestyle performance on Saturday.

“I was actually very proud of him today. I thought he was really working with me and right on the aids,” Vilhelmson-Silfven remarked. “I was spot on the music where I wanted to be, so I had a great feeling and a great ride. I have been riding him in competition for a year, and I get to know him more and more. I am learning how to warm him up and how to make myself ready with him. Today was the first time I felt like I had a really good feeling.”

Third place finisher Mikala Gundersen had a fun first experience competing in Central Park with her mount My Lady this week and was happy with her result on Saturday night as well.

“I was just so excited to be here,” Gundersen stated. “I really enjoyed the whole thing, and the venue, and I am so excited to be in this horse show. My goal was to go in there and have fun. My Lady was a little rusty – we haven’t shown for a while. She was a little sucked back, but other than that I am proud of her for going in there and doing so well.”

Judge Katrina Wuest shared her comments on the event and great competition as well. She expressed, “I would like to mention the show itself, and the fact that these top riders come here shows that this event is worth coming to. New York I think for all of us is a magic city and this was a magic night. I think this is very important. We want to sell our sport and we have to sell our sport to help it grow and make it more and more popular. It is a sport that is difficult to understand, and we only can sell it with these magic moments. The rides here and the public showed that this was top sport.”

International Equestrian Group and RCPHS founder Mark Bellissimo added his remarks on the evening, stating, “I want to thank the riders and the competitors who came here this year. The riders were fantastic tonight and it was very competitive, so I have to thank them for taking time out of their busy schedules. It was an enchanted evening. To see the crowd stick around and the cheers for every ride I think was fantastic. We are committed to making dressage special in this country, and I want to thank Antonia Johnson. She has been the big sponsor of this event. Without her this event doesn’t happen, so we thank her for that commitment to the sport, along with Fritz and Claudine Kundrun.”

Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro
Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro

Following freestyle competition, three-time Olympic champions Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro did a momentous freestyle exhibition to the thrill of fans. Dujardin then let spectators come down to the arena to meet her world-famous mount in person. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many dressage enthusiasts and a memorable and incomparable moment at the RCPHS.

Valegro will have his official retirement from a record-breaking career in a ceremony at the Olympia Horse Show in London, England, in December, and finished out his competition career on a high note at the Olympic Games in Rio.

Valegro will still make public appearances, and after the very first of those non-competition performances on Saturday, Dujardin commented, “I think it is nice for me to be able to come into an arena now and not worry if I make a mistake. I can just go in there and enjoy it even more than when I was competing. Valegro is such a special horse and the consistency he has had is incredible. Now I don’t have to worry about that, and I can just have fun. It is nice for him to come and do these things as well. He loves meeting the crowd, and he loves the people. He was bombarded with people tonight, and he loves it. They were patting him, and hugging him, and kissing him, so what a nice end for him.”

Detailing her choice to retire Valegro this year, Dujardin remarked, “He is only 14 and he could do a couple more years, but to me I don’t feel that I have any reason to keep going with him. 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. He owes me nothing, so why not finish at his best? It is not the end of Valegro. He is not going to compete, but he is still going to be around and people will see him, and I think that is very nice for him.”

After a fantastic experience for both horse and rider in New York City, Dujardin and Valegro will now return home to England. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show thanks them and all of the horses and riders that helped make this year’s dressage edition so special.

Kelley Farmer and Kodachrome Win $50,000 Duchossois Cup, Presented by The Gochman Family

While dressage took center stage on Saturday evening at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, hunter competition was the highlight throughout the day, featuring classes for pony, junior/amateur, and professional hunter riders in Wollman Rink. Jumping courses set by Kentucky-based designer Bobby Murphy, the three classes featured beautiful, hand painted fences and specially added decor for the unique afternoon of competition.

The $50,000 Duchossois Cup, presented by The Gochman Family, was the highlight event of the day session with a win for top hunter rider Kelley Farmer aboard Nine Moore’s Kodachrome. Fifteen entries jumped in round one, and the top ten then returned for a second hunter round to determine overall scores.

For Farmer and the eight-year-old Warmblood gelding Kodachrome, the judges awarded 88 points in each round for the winning 176-point total. Liza Boyd and Stella Styslinger’s O’Ryan finished second with scores of 87 and 88 for a total of 175. John Bragg guided Ann Thornton’s Early August to third place honors with a score of 173, earning 86 and 87 in their respective rounds.

Representing class sponsor The Gochman Family, Becky Gochman spoke about the second annual U.S. Open Hunter competition in Central Park and the great classes on Saturday.

“You never know when you start a new idea how it is going to end up and I think our second year was even more successful,” Gochman stated. “I think in the hunters, it is really important to be somewhat innovative, and I think this setting allows us to do that. I think this year’s addition of Caroline Passarelli, a 15-year-old announcer along with the usual announcer was a wonderful addition and something different. The great group of younger riders, amateurs, and young professionals, along with our great top professionals, gives validation to this horse show, and I hope it continues for many years because horses do belong in the city. They have a long history (here), and when we see a lot of people looking in and enjoying the horses as they are being led down to the ring, that is very meaningful, and that is what it should be all about.”

Gochman continued, “We wanted the riders starting at a young age to be able to do this too. Not everybody that came this year was qualified for the other national shows, so I think it is very cool that people came from all over the country and got to experience something like this. I was very proud of that fact. For me, this is about the innovation, and to have the music, and the artistic jumps, and Bobby Murphy course designing – New York City is about innovative things and art, and the hunters are an artistic form, so I think it really goes together.”

Farmer also competed in Central Park in the inaugural year of hunter competition in 2015 and was proud to come back and get the win this year. She was aboard a great horse that has earned many top results throughout the season.

“I want to say thank you to Becky and David Gochman and all the other sponsors that put this on,” Farmer remarked. “This is amazing to be in the middle of Central Park in this venue. It is pretty unbelievable. What a beautiful class.

“As far as my horse goes, I have to thank his mom (Nina Moore), and I have to thank the horse,” Farmer continued. “He is a lovely animal and he has done nothing but try to be amazing since I have gotten him. I am very lucky to be able to have a horse like that to ride and an owner like this who likes to come see this and wants to support it. For them to put on this event is amazing, so I am very lucky.”

Speaking further about Kodachrome, Farmer stated, “I think that horse speaks for himself when he goes in the ring. He tries to go his best every time. He is such a good jumper. I don’t ever have to worry. All I have to think about in the ring is being smooth. He is so rideable; there are not a lot of concerns except staying out of his way and letting him do the job.”

Owner Nina Moore also remarked on the event and watching her horse win in one of the world’s most famous venues.

“As an owner, a lot of times you go with a trainer and have to have a little bit of faith,” Moore noted. “This particular horse has done everything I was told he could do. I know the trainers always want them to be that, but how many times does lightning strike? He has just been everything.

“To be lucky enough to get invited to something like this and have sponsors like the Gochmans who do this – you go to horse show after horse show, but you don’t see these fences, and the support that they are giving this industry is incredible. To bring it out to the public like this and to see your own horse under such circumstances with skyscrapers in the back and such beautiful fences, it is kind of a fairytale. It is a very neat thing to have happen.”

Second place finisher Liza Boyd spoke about her mount O’Ryan and her experience competing in Central Park as well. Boyd also praised the addition of young announcer Caroline Passarelli this year.

“I think that the addition of Caroline was amazing, that was really spectacular,” Boyd stated. “Thank you to the Gochman Family, and everybody involved. Bruce Duchossois was a part of this too, and we love him and miss him, and I think he would have loved it.

“As a rider, I felt like I rode better this year because I knew the ring and I had a better feel for it,” Boyd noted. “I just knew to change my ride a little bit, and it paid off. The horses amaze me that these hunters come in here with this atmosphere and go as well as they do. I think these hunters are just getting better and better because of classes like this. The Bellissimos having all of these big hunter events is just great for the hunter industry and only helps us riders, so thank you all. My favorite part is the walk from the schooling area to the ring. It is very surreal when you are just bonding with your horse walking through Central Park. It is something I have never experienced. You feel very special as riders, and the hunter riders appreciate this very much.”

Speaking of her mount, Boyd detailed, “I love O’Ryan. He is a good guy. He is a 14-year-old that is very seasoned. He went with his owner in the junior/amateur class earlier and was third, and then he came back and tried his heart out for me. The horse is a real trier and I can’t say enough good things about him.”

John Bragg came all the way from California to compete in Central Park and made his trip worthwhile with a third place finish aboard Early August. Explaining his decision to make the journey, Bragg stated, “They called me and asked if I was interested in coming, and I was already coming for the indoor circuit and other horse shows back East, so I thought it would be a nice way to start. My clients were thrilled to come here, and we really love New York. The next four weeks we have horse shows on the East Coast, so it was unbelievable to be invited to come and participate here.”

Bragg was aboard a young horse in eight-year-old Early August, a Belgian Warmblood gelding that he imported just over one year ago.

“He shows in the First Year Greens, so he is probably less experienced than a lot of the horses in the class, but he is pretty brave and willing. That is why I chose him,” Bragg detailed. “It’s a nice horse.”

Remarking on his preparation to compete in Central Park, Bragg noted, “I didn’t really know what to expect since I had not been here. We prepared like a normal horse show. Warming up this morning was pretty good, and then the light changed and I was a little worried, but I think it is really good experience for us and our horses to be put in different situations to learn and get better. There is a lot of pressure to jump those jumps at that height, and to do well with the different types of jumps that they use, so I think it is really great.”

While the competition welcomed young riders on ponies in the arena, young equestrian Caroline Passarelli also enjoyed the opportunity to commentate on the fantastic classes and hopes to do more in the commentating business and horse industry in the future.

“It was such an amazing experience to be in the presence of such greatness all the way from the ponies to the professionals,” Passarelli stated. “Every person you watched go in was another riding lesson. I don’t think it’s possible for me to be any more fortunate. It is a great experience, and I have learned so much just in today alone. Being able to watch these professionals go in and lay down trip after trip on such beautiful animals is really something I am so thankful for.”

Mindy Coretz and Zola Thompson Earn Hunter Classic Wins

The $2,500 Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic was held earlier in the afternoon on Saturday at the RCPHS and saw a win for Mindy Coretz, of Tulsa, OK, riding Eighteen Acres Farm’s Happy Hour to a high score of 80. Teddy Vlock and Century Performance Horses’ At Last placed second with a score of 78. Stella Styslinger guided her own O’Ryan to a third place finish with a 77-point total.

Coretz trains at home with Libby Barrow at Farewell Farms and had the help of hunter trainer Hope Glynn in New York on Saturday. She is currently in her final semester of college at the University of Tulsa, studying Business Management.

Coretz had just finished showing for the summer and decided she could not make it to this year’s fall indoor competitions because it would cause her to miss too much school, but when a couple of other opportunities came up, including a chance to compete the RCPHS, they were too great to pass up.

“I got my horse home from Kentucky and was going to give him some time off, and about 24 hours later I saw something promoting the Chicago Hunter Derby, and I thought that if I could not do indoors I could find another fun little outing,” Coretz explained. “As it turned out, I made going to Chicago Hunter Derby happen and then tied it into coming here. I heard so many good things about this show last year, and my horse has really matured so much and done some amazing things for me, so I thought it was a good time to give it a try.”

Winning horse Happy Hour is a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (by Argentinus) that Coretz purchased last summer.

Coretz said of Happy Hour, “He is really special, and he has done some really cool things for me. I have had the opportunity to do some things this year that I never thought I would be able to do, and I jumped some classes that I never thought myself capable of jumping. It has been a really fun ride, and I definitely owe it all to him.”

Though Coretz has three exams and a paper due on Monday and will head straight home to study, the memory of winning a class in Central Park is something the rider will remember forever.

“There is nothing like it,” Coretz said of the experience. “Forget riding, before you ever even get on a horse, just being here, walking behind the green barricades and people taking pictures. When you are in the schooling ring, there are all these onlookers crowding around the barricades trying to get a glimpse of these horses and reaching across trying to say hi. The same thing walking to the ring; there are cameras and tourists, and it is really cool. There is nothing else I have ever seen that is anything like it. Then you finally walk down here into this ring, and you have the New York City skyline, and it is unbelievable. I was so adrenalized out there just because of the atmosphere.”

The $1,000 Pony Hunter Classic also gave some younger riders the experience of competing in Wollman Rink in front of the New York City skyline and saw a win for 12-year-old Zola Thompson of Birmingham, AL. Zola trains with Jack Towell and Liza Boyd at Finally Farm and guided Robin Greenwood’s Elegance to victory with the high score of 85. Baylee McKeever rode Lee McKeever’s Greystone’s Star Bright to second place with a score of 75. Lucy Thornhill and her own Sneaky Fox placed third with a score of 74.

“This is my first time at the Central Park Horse Show,” Thompson stated after her victory. “At first I was really nervous, but I talked to my sports psychologist, Margie, a few days before we came and she told me to keep calm and to take one thing at a time. I was scared because it was only one trip and I didn’t want to mess it up, but she told me that everyone else only gets one trip too and to not be nervous. I just kept calm and I have a breathing exercise that I do that keeps me calm before I go in.”

Thompson has ridden Elegance (aka Ellie) for almost one year and was very happy with the mare on Saturday.

“She has been really great. She is really calm and smooth,” Thompson described. “She is a really fun pony to ride and she has a really great jump, so I am thankful to be riding her.

“When I heard that I got an 85 I was really excited,” Thompson continued. “It was just so unreal. It was a really great experience to show here, and we hope to come back next year.”

The 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show (RCPHS) concludes on Sunday, September 25, with Family Day at Wollman Rink and Free General Admission. The day’s activities include pony rides, face painting, a Show Hunter presentation, and more! Gates are open 12:00-3:00 p.m.

The $216,000 FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex, and Friday night ceremonies will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network on Sunday, September 25, from 9-10:30 p.m. EST. For more information and full results, visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com.

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. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show 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 second annual U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers; Dressage; Hunters; U25 Jumpers; and Arabians. For more information, visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/CPhorseshow and follow @cphorseshow on Twitter and Instagram.

Jimmy Torano and Day Dream Win $216k US Open FEI Grand Prix CSI 3* in Central Park

Jimmy Torano and Day Dream. Photos copyright Sportfot.

Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K Win U.S. Open FEI Dressage Grand Prix CDI 4*, presented by Axel Johnson; Alexandra Crown and Basic Take $5,000 Junior/Amateur 1.20m Speed Class

September 23, 2016 – New York, NY – USA’s Jimmy Torano jumped to an exciting victory in the $216,000 U.S. Open FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex, on a beautiful Friday night in New York City at the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show (RCPHS). The faster of only two double clear rounds in a ten-horse jump-off with some of the world’s best, Torano and Day Dream took the win in front of the one-of-a-kind backdrop of skyscrapers over Sharn Wordley (NZL), who finished in the number two position for the second year in a row riding Barnetta. Conor Swail (IRL) had the fastest four-fault round to place third riding Cita.

Friday’s competition in Central Park also featured a win for Ireland’s Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K in the U.S. Open FEI Dressage Grand Prix CDI 4*, presented by Axel Johnson. New York’s own Alexandra Crown and Basic got a win earlier in the evening’s $5,000 Junior/Amateur 1.20m Jumper Speed Class.

The Rolex Central Park Horse Show runs through Sunday, September 25, with five days of multi-discipline equestrian sport for Arabians, jumpers, dressage, and hunters. The $216,000 FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex, and Friday night ceremonies will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network on Sunday, September 25, from 9-10:30 p.m. EST.

Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set the track for the $216,000 FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex, on Friday night for 34 starters in Central Park’s Wollman Rink. Ten horse and rider combinations advanced to the jump-off, and only two were able to complete the short course without fault. Torano set the time to beat in the jump-off, with the first clear round in 37.05 seconds, and held on for victory. Wordley then went for a safer round to finish second on his time of 41.39 seconds riding the Sky Group’s Barnetta.

Swail was blazing fast aboard Ariel and Susan Grange’s Cita in 33.12 seconds, but dropped a rail to finish third. McLain Ward (USA) and Double H Farm’s HH Carlos Z were also extremely fast in 34.89 seconds, but had an unusual rail at the first fence to place fourth. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run Jumper Five LLC’s Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili rounded out the top five with four faults in 35.19 seconds.
Torano’s winning mount Day Dream is just eight years old, but shows exceptional talent that was on display Friday night. Torano and his wife Danielle own the Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zento x Heartbreaker) along with Daryl Portela’s Isalou, Inc., and imported the gelding from Europe two years ago.

“I bought him at the end of his six-year-old year and have been bringing him along,” Torano stated. “From day one I believed in him. I always said he was going to do big things. He jumped some grand prixs at the end of his seven-year-old year, and he won a couple times this summer. I got him from the same guy I get all my horses – Willem Greve in Holland. The horse has a lot of quality, and he is very careful. When I go to the jumps I never think he is going to knock one down. His rideability needs to get better, but he really knows where the poles are, so I have a lot of trust in him.”

The pair competed at the American Gold Cup last week, and Torano took a chance on trying to get a spot to compete in Central Park this week.

“He came out of the Gold Cup pretty well, which is why I called Mark (Bellissimo) and Michael (Stone) to see if there was an extra spot. I really waited until the last second,” Torano detailed. “I brought my horse to the jog even though he wasn’t in, because Michael said to go ahead and do it, and then somebody dropped out at the last second and I was able to come in. It all worked out, and I guess it was one of those things that was just meant to be.”

Torano continued, “He is a very brave horse. I was not worried about the lights. I was not worried about the venue or the atmosphere here. He is careful, but he is brave. Obviously I did not think I was going to come in and win the class. You have a top group of combinations here.”

In 2015, Torano did the commentary for the NBC Sports broadcast of the RCPHS grand prix, and after experiencing the event so closely through that perspective, the rider wanted to compete even more.

“I really can’t say enough about the event,” Torano stated. “What gets better than riding in New York City with the skyline like this? The crowd was unbelievable. I can’t thank Mark, Michael, and the management group in its entirety enough. The footing was spectacular. It is a great event. It is as good as it gets anywhere.”

Wordley was very happy with his second place finish again this year riding Barnetta, a 12-year-old Westphalian gelding (Baloubet du Rouet x Polydor), and complimented his horse’s consistency.

“I am ecstatic. Barnetta is a great horse,” Wordley stated. “He is not the fastest horse, but he is very consistent. He does clear rounds. Last year, there were only two in the jump-off, and my strategy was just to go slow and hope that everybody else had a rail down. I thought my luck had run out with ten in the jump-off this year, but luck went our way.

“This is an amazing event, especially for me, because it is one of those events where every time you do something it turns to gold,” Wordley continued. “I rubbed a bunch of jumps tonight and they stayed up, so it is one of those special places for me.”

Wordley also remarked on the course building for Friday night and praised Guilherme Jorge on a job well done.

“Guilherme always builds fantastic courses, as you saw at the Olympics in Rio a few weeks ago,” Wordley noted. “He really knows how to use the arena. It is a very small space that he has to work with here, but it was very smooth, and he has a knack of being able to make it a hard test without any horses getting injured or scared. I always like his courses; I think they are fantastic. Tonight was a great example of his building.”

Conor Swail and Cita had a fantastic week, also placing second in Thursday’s $40,000 U.S. Open Canadian Pacific FEI Speed Class and carried on to a third place finish Friday night. Swail has had great results with the ten-year-old Holsteiner mare (Casall x Pik Ramiro) all year. While he thought that he took a little too much risk in the jump-off, he remains extremely happy with his mount.

“I thought she was outstanding tonight,” Swail stated. “The first round was a beautiful round. Then in the jump-off – the problem I have with her is that I never think she is going to knock anything down. She is so careful, and she rarely has a jump down in front. I just felt that I needed to be very fast because of a couple of the top guys were after me there with very fast horses. Basically, I made a little bit of a mistake. I cut in very tight, and I probably needed to square up my turn slightly better, but because I am riding so much quality and I felt that it did not matter where I was or what angle I was going at, I took a risk and unfortunately it did not pay off today.

“Congratulations to Jimmy,” Swail added. “He went around on a young horse and did a super job. Third place was good for me. I am so proud of my mare; I thought she jumped amazing.”

In the event’s third year, International Equestrian Group and RCPHS founder Mark Bellissimo has seen his vision to showcase equestrian sport in an iconic venue grow to great heights.

“I want to thank everyone for attending. This really was a special evening,” Bellissimo said of the competition. “When we started this event, the goal was to put together an event that was exciting, with top sport, in a setting that was not matched anywhere in the world. We had ten in the jump-off and some very competitive rounds. I want to thank Jimmy for putting on a show tonight. That was a very impressive performance.”

Bellissimo continued, “I want to thank our sponsors. Rolex has been amazing. They took a bet on doing this event. It is very unusual for them to put their brand on something that is not proven, and we really appreciate their support from the start. We are very thankful to them, Land Rover, Adequan®, Canadian Pacific, and all of the other wonderful sponsors of this event.”

As the RCPHS continues to grow, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has also been a great supporter of the event, and Vicki Lowell spoke to the quality on Friday night as a USEF representative.

“I am a huge fan of this show. This is the first time that I have been to the RCPHS and this is fantastic. I just cannot say enough,” Lowell stated. “The value of being able to put on an event like this, to be where the people are, and to bring the horses to the audience, is great. I think you could feel the enthusiasm from the crowd tonight. They stuck around for the prize giving ceremony, and the seats were filled in the VIP and the general admission. This is the kind of excitement, entertainment, and good sport that we need to bring to the audiences who love horses. I think everybody loves horses and they just don’t have the access to them, so it is fantastic when we can bring the horses to the city like this and expose them to people.”

With a clear round to win Thursday’s $40,000 U.S. Open Canadian Pacific Speed Class and another clear round in Friday night’s $216,000 FEI Grand Prix CSI 3*, presented by Rolex, McLain Ward (USA) earned the second annual U.S. Open Championship and was presented with a $25,000 rider bonus to conclude jumper competition at the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show.

Friday’s festivities also included a special performance by Frederik the Great: The World’s Most Handsome Horse, and a ceremony honoring the U.S. Dressage Team Olympic Bronze medalists; U.S. Show Jumping Team Olympic Silver medalists; and Phillip Dutton, Olympic Individual Bronze medalist. Competition continues on Saturday with the Pony Hunters, Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunters, and Professional Hunters in the U.S. Open Hunter Duchossois Cup, presented by The Gochman Family.

Judy Reynolds Wins U.S. Open Dressage Grand Prix CDI 4*, presented by Axel Johnson

The Rolex Central Park Horse Show hosted its first-ever international dressage grand prix CDI4* in Wollman Rink on Friday afternoon with a win for Olympians Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K of Ireland with a high score of 73.80%. Reynolds guided the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (by Jazz out of Phantastia) through a beautiful test for the first time in Central Park and had a great experience.

Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K
Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K

On making the decision to travel to New York after their Olympic appearance, Reynolds stated, “After the Olympics in Rio, I had intended on taking a little bit of a longer break, but I was back home and I got a text message from Thomas Baur asking what I was doing on these dates. I said, ‘Nothing at the moment, what have you got in mind?’ And he asked if I wanted to come to Central Park. I thought it sounded like really great fun. I had seen the pictures from the last couple of years, and it was just one of these competitions that I thought, ‘That’s one I really want to do at some point.’ It is an amazing location, and I think it is definitely one you can’t miss.”

Owned by Joe and Kathleen Reynolds, Vancouver K has come long way with Reynolds and proved his development with a solid performance in the exciting atmosphere of Central Park.

“A little less than two years ago we made the decision to really expose him to atmosphere because he had not been dealing with it that well,” Reynolds detailed. “He is quite a hot horse. We went to the World Equestrian Games in 2014, and it just did not work at all. He just did not deal with the atmosphere and all the attention, so we made the decision to go to big competitions.  We did World Cup and things like that last year, which really exposed him to different venues and environments, and that was really important for us.

“We had a busy winter and spring qualifying for Rio because I had to go to (as an) individual. That was quite a tough qualifying process,” Reynolds continued. “Then we took a little bit of a break after qualifying, and we did four competitions leading up to Rio. He is better when he competes often, so we take long breaks and then do more intense periods of competition. That is just what works for him. I am glad we have taken the route of exposing him to different things because otherwise this would not have worked. You are walking through the park and there is just so much going on, so they have to be able to focus on you still through all that. I would not have missed this for the world.”

Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Lovsta Stuteri’s Paridon Magi finished second with a score of 73.14%. Canada’s Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu and her own All In placed third with a 71.06%.

Vilhelmson-Silfven was also at the Olympic Games in Rio with her top mount Don Auriello and took the opportunity to rest the stallion while bringing Paridon Magi back to Central Park for his second year at the competition.

The seven-time Olympian was also very happy to have this year’s CDI4* rating and enjoyed her Grand Prix test on Friday.

“I think that is really important of course, and I hope that is going to make more riders come,” Vilhelmson-Silfven stated. “The feeling to ride into this atmosphere with the backdrop is really amazing. It was a bit different this year than last year. Last year, the Pope was here on Friday, so it was very empty in the park. Now there was a lot going on in the park when we walked up to the arena. That was very exciting, but also very good I think that the horses can handle that, and they can. You don’t feel that at all once you get into the arena. It’s almost like they say, ‘Phew, now I’m here, now I can work.’ I had a great feeling in there, and I am happy to be able to have a second horse like him to pull out of my sleeve and show sometimes. I think he is a great horse to do this with.”

Third place finisher Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu of Canada also had a great time competing in Central Park. This was her first time in the busy atmosphere of the Park and her horse All In took it in stride.

“There is really nothing that compares to a show like this and the atmosphere,” Fraser-Beaulieu stated. “I was not sure how he would handle the atmosphere. There were people playing ball and kids were screaming, but he came down to the ring and was totally settled in. I took the summer off from competing and just took time to train, and I think it really made a difference.”

Judge Gary Rockwell commented on the day’s results and acknowledged the top three horses and riders on their efforts.

“I think it is a top-notch competition. The setting is obviously something no one else has in the world,” Rockwell noted. “There is a lot going on here, but I was quite impressed with how obedient the horses were in the arena. No one had any problems with distractions or anything, so it is definitely a setting that can handle a CDI 4* like this. I am very happy with the rides today. Especially these three horses; every time I see them they are better, so I am always happy to see that.”

Dressage competition continues on Saturday evening with the U.S. Open $75,000 FEI Dressage Freestyle CDI 4*, presented by Axel Johnson. The evening will also feature a special freestyle demonstration from three-time Olympic gold medalists Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro.

Alexandra Crown and Basic Take $5,000 Junior/Amateur 1.20m Speed Class

Kicking off Friday evening at the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show, Alexandra Crown (USA) and her ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Basic (Silverstone x Indoctro) were the winners of the $5,000 Junior/Amateur 1.20m Speed Class.

Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set the track for Friday’s speed competition, with 12 entries and four clear rounds. Last to go, Crown and Basic clocked the winning time of 66.14 seconds. Claudia Villamil (PUR) and her own Infinity placed second in 68.42 seconds. Lisbeth Hazoury (DOM) rode Los Establos Sporthorses Corp.’s Grey van de Castanoschans to third place in 70.09 seconds. Fourth place honors were awarded to Lilli Hymowitz (USA) aboard Rose Hill Farm’s Elatrice in a time of 71.09 seconds.

A New York City resident, 21-year-old Crown rode at the inaugural RCPHS in 2014 and returned this year with two top horses, also finishing second in Thursday night’s $25,000 U.S. Open Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 FEI Grand Prix aboard her own Von Cim. This was her first time to take a win in the world-famous Central Park event and a memorable moment for the young rider.

“It is really exciting. This is my hometown. It is my backyard,” Crown stated. “I grew up ice skating in Wollman Rink, so it is really cool to get to win here in front of my parents and our friends. I am very happy.”

Crown, who trains with U.S. Olympian Kent Farrington, has had many international wins around the world aboard Basic and knew that the mare would try her hardest in the night’s competition.

“She is amazing. She is insanely quick across the ground. She is so naturally fast, and she just wants to win,” Crown described. “She always tries for you. She wants to win as much as I do, so it is a good combination when you have a horse that goes into the ring that is fighting for you.”

Speaking of the challenging track for her winning round, Crown noted, “There were some inside turns in that course, and you had to make some blind turns to the jumps, which kind of suits her. She does not have the biggest stride in the world, so courses with long distances in between jumps aren’t the best for her. We were able to just use her natural speed, and turn tight to the jumps, and keep it neat, so it worked out really well.”

Wrapping up a special night in her young career, Crown acknowledged the incredible atmosphere while competing in Central Park.

“It is so special. You can’t really describe the feeling,” she admitted. “It is very sentimental to be riding here, and where else can you ride in a horse show like Central Park with this New York skyline? It is unbelievable.”

Competition in Central Park’s Wollman Rink continues through Sunday, September 25, with more multi-discipline equestrian sport. For more information and full results, visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com.

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. The Rolex Central Park Horse Show 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 second annual U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers; Dressage; Hunters; U25 Jumpers; and Arabians. For more information, visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/CPhorseshow and follow @cphorseshow on Twitter and Instagram.