The Horse Circus: 9.19.14

The Horse CircusWe pretend to go to the horse show but everyone really knows it’s a circus!

Bring on the clowns! And the horses too!

Every Friday Counter-Canter Culture features the important US and International Horse Shows currently under way.

Central Park Horse Show Banner

The Central Park Horse Show

Trump Rink is transformed into a riding arena.

This weekend, for the first time in over a decade, international caliber horse and rider teams are taking center stage in the Big Apple. The draught in equestrian competition in New York City began when the National Horse show left Madison Square Gardens in 2001. But now the drought is finally over. Welcome to the Central Park Horse Show!

This grand event has already grabbed the attention of busy New Yorkers who could not miss the sanding over the skating rink in Central Park, and the baseball fields turning into stables. And now, with competition underway, the lights are shining even brighter on this high-class horse show.


Georgina Bloomberg wins the Central Park Grand Prix Thursday evening.

Thursday, day one of competition, kicked off with an almost unheard of event here in America – a grand prix show jumping classed aired live during prime time on NBC Sports. And the class came to a fairytale ending when New York’s former first daughter of sorts, Georgina Bloomberg, took top honors. Former New York Mayor, and father to Georgina, Michael Bloomberg, was on hand to see Georgina’s win, along with much of New York’s upper crust. Perhaps only “The Boss,” Bruce Springsteen was unhappy with this result, as his daughter, Jessica Springsteen had a tough go. Sorry, New Jersey. This is New York’s night!

There is more show jumping in store today with the $50,000 NYC vs. The World Speed Class set as the evenings main event. Then, over the weekend, spectators will be treated to a unique Dressage Challenge, which will see the legendary horse, Ravel, come out of retirement to compete with Steffen Peters alongside a host of world-class competitors, and Polo Challenge. On top of that, there are so called ‘matinees’ planned each day, ranging from the liberty demonstrations of Guy McLean, to the first annual Central Park Grand National Shetland Pony Steeplechase, and even a vaulting showcase from the U.S. Vaulting team.

American and three-time Olympian and bronze medalist Steffen Peters and his famous mount Ravel will be a part of the Central Park Dressage Challenge presented by The Axel Johnson Group. Photo copyright The Chronicle of the Horse.

The return of equestrian competition to New York City also has many waxing nostalgic it seems. In this video, George Morris comments on clips from the 1959 National Horse Show, which saw many legends of the sport compete, including himself, Frank Chapot and Nelson Pessoa.

And over at organizing sponsor, Chronicle of the Horse, you can find a fine article on the history of horse shows in Manhattan, including a nod to the mini-shows previously put on in Central Park during the 1970’s and ‘80s. Read it here: Urban Legends: Manhattan’s Horse Show History.

Horse lovers need not fear another equestrian competition drought in New York City for some time. Donald Trump announced to primetime viewers of the Grand Prix that he has committed to holding the Central Park Horse Show for at least the next seven years. Welcome back NYC!

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