New York, USA - The Central Park Horse Show, presented by Rolex and produced by The Chronicle of the Horse, is excited to welcome riders for the $210,000 Central Park Grand Prix. The Jumping event, to be held on 18 September 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at the Trump Rink in New York City's Central Park, will showcase some of the world's top show jumpers in a $200,000 FEI world ranking class.
The Grand Prix will be set against a backdrop of skyscrapers in one of the world's most iconic venues, Central Park, and will be the first live prime-time broadcast of a show jumping event in the U.S. on a rated sports network, NBC Sports.
Riders entered for the class are as follows: Kent Farrington; McLain Ward; Laura Kraut; Charlie Jayne; Jessica Springsteen; Georgina Bloomberg; Brianne Goutal; Conor Swail; Todd Minikus; Quentin Judge; Richie Moloney; Candice King; Shane Sweetnam; Darragh Kerins; Darragh Kenny; Daniel Bluman; Peter Leone; Kirsten Coe; Lauren Tisbo; Danielle Goldstein; Meagan Nusz; Molly Ashe Cawley; Paige Johnson; Catherine Pasmore; Cara Raether and Amanda Derbyshire.
Superstar Riders Announced for Central Park Dressage Challenge
The Dressage event, held on 20 September 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at the Trump Rink in New York City's Central Park, will showcase some of the world's top dressage horses and riders including Steffen Peters riding his Olympic mount Ravel, in a special command performance of one of the most celebrated dressage horses in U.S. history.
The Axel Johnson Group, the presenting sponsor of the Central Park Dressage Challenge, is well-known in the dressage world through Antonia Axson Johnson, Chairman and Owner of the Axel Johnson Group, who is a long-time supporter of equestrian sport.
Johnson has partnered with Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén (a six-time Olympian, currently ranked fifth in the world) over the last 15 years, sponsoring top horses and top Swedish riders at many levels. She also sponsors show jumper Kirsten Coe of the U.S.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for dressage and is a great way to educate a broader audience on the intricacies of dressage and the communication between animal and human," Johnson expressed. "I'm thrilled to see the sport showcased in such an exciting venue."
The Axel Johnson Group is a fifth generation family business that employs more than 20,000 people around the world. Equestrian sport has been a family passion and legacy for Johnson for more than 100 years.
"My passion for dressage and my passion for the family business are two dimensions of the same legacy- concentration and focus, a long-term perspective and a touch of magic. To support dressage in Central Park is very special for me as a true New Yorker, born in the city and with Central Park as my childhood playground."
Mark Bellissimo, CEO of International Equestrian Group commented, "We are excited to partner with Antonia to elevate the sport of dressage in the U.S. and there is no greater city to do it in than New York."
Dressage riders scheduled to compete are: Rolex Testimonee Isabell Werth (GER), five-time Olympic gold medalist; Hans Peter Minderhoud (NED) 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games team gold medalist; Olympian and 2014 WEG competitor Lars Petersen (DEN); American dressage Olympians Tina Konyot, Lisa Wilcox, and Jan Ebeling; Canadian Olympian Ashley Holzer; top American riders Caroline Roffman and Catherine Staller-Haddad as well as top amateur PJ Rizvi; and top Canadian riders Karen Pavicic and David Marcus, members of the 2014 Canadian WEG team.
Also held during Saturday night's Central Park Dressage Challenge will be a unique demonstration from the United States Vaulting team from the World Equestrian Games, sponsored by Akiko Yamazaki.
During the four day show, the matinees will focus on young athletes developing skills and connections with their horses and ponies in diverse demonstrations of both sport and entertainment. The demonstrations are followed by world-renowned Australian horseman Guy McLean, who will perform a full half hour of his one-of-a-kind liberty act where he demonstrates his powerful connection with four unbridled horses.
Arena Polo Demonstration
Polo's rising stars will also take to the ring, including top international young polo riders Ricky Mershad, Juan Bollini, Lorenzo Merlotti, Grant Ganzi, Michael Bellissimo, and Mariano Gracida, son of Legendary Polo Player Carlos Gracida. The players will face off in a 3-on-3 format. The event will be organized by Wellington's Grand Champions Polo.
First Annual Central Park Grand National Shetland Pony Steeplechase
Finally, The Central Park Horse Show will host the inaugural Central Park Grand National Shetland Pony Steeplechase. In this fast-paced spectacle, Shetland ponies compete in a race over miniature jumps. Steeplechase has been an important equestrian tradition since the 18th century, and this miniaturized version is one of the most entertaining exhibitions in the United States. The Central Park Grand National will be run like a professional racing event with a bugler, race caller and photo finish, with jockeys age seven to 16 riding atop one of the world's most adorable pony breeds. The Central Park Grand National will be the second stop on the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Shetland Pony Steeplechase Series, presented by Charles Owen, culminating with a final at the 56th annual Washington National Horse Show, one of the country's top indoor shows, on 21-26 October 2014.
For more information on the inaugural Central Park Horse Show, please visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com