Dressage made its debut at the 2015 Rolex Central Park Horse Show on Friday with the U.S. Open Dressage Grand Prix, presented by Breyer. The event was an exhibition competition showcasing some of the world's best dressage talent, including Germany's six-time Olympic Gold Medalist Isabell Werth and her mount El Santo NRW, which she owns with Madeleine Winter-Schulze.
Werth and El Santo NRW danced their way to top honors at the 2014 Rolex Central Park Horse Show and returned to familiar territory on Friday. Werth was one of seven dressage riders to perform in front of full grandstands in preparation for Saturday's $75,000 Dressage Freestyle, presented by Axel Johnson Group. The Dressage Freestyle will serve as the pinnacle of Saturday competition, taking the stage at 7 p.m. and streaming live at centralparkhorseshow.com.
"It is amazing to show here - I don't know how to explain how special the feeling is," said Werth. "Today was a warm-up and I didn't take the full risk of course. The weakest point of the test was the second piaffe, but I think the rest was serious and safe without any big mistakes. The changes were really nice and the zigzag was great."
Werth joins fellow dressage stars, including the likes of number-one in the world Charlotte Dujardin, in Saturday's Freestyle. "I hope tomorrow evening that we can take a little bit more risk, make the most of the atmosphere and have a really nice go," added Werth.
The U.S. Open Dressage Grand Prix was proud to feature Breyer as the sponsor of expanded dressage offerings at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show this year. Jaime Potlalesky of Breyer Horses unveiled the latest additions to the Breyer collection with their new Valegro model, as well as a talking George H. Morris action figure. "We're really happy to be involved - dressage has always been near and dear to Breyer's heart and the level of competition here is just incredible," she said. "We're showcasing our new George Morris Action Figure, which came out of a nice collaboration."
The 8-inch George Morris Talking Action Figure, an idea created by Mark Bellissimo, in association with George Morris and Stephanie Macejko of Breyer, was launched as a special edition as a means to raise funds for equestrian-based charities. With 20 of George's classic quotes recorded, the model is being sold with 100 percent of the net proceeds going to the Chronicle Support Network's Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund.
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. Select classes will be streamed live at www.centralparkhorseshow.com.