The second annual Rolex Central Park Horse Show, held September 23 – 27 in the heart of New York City, has concluded yet another exciting year of horse sport being celebrated in the Big Apple.
Bringing equestrian sport to the public and increasing equine sport mass appeal has been the primary goal of Wellington resident and International Equestrian Group’s CEO, Mark Bellissimo.
Bellissimo, who is also the owner of The Chronicle Of The Horse, continues to be the brain child of international level events at WEF and throughout the country, including the Rolex Central Park Horse Show and the Tryon International Equestrian Center (NC). In the case of the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, promoting, organizing and creating a horse show in the center of NYC was no easy feat!
“Wollman Rink was transformed in a matter of days to an international-level equestrian facility thanks to the work of Mark Bellissimo’s International Equestrian Group (IEG) and many New York City organizations, including New York City Parks and Recreation, Central Park Conservancy, The Office of the Mayor of New York City and the Trump Rink Organization.”
With the addition of the Arabian classes this year, the horse show also created some international flare with the Native Arabian Classes and many entertainment venues. There was something of interest for every spectator with world class horse competition, fun shetland pony races, a polo demonstration match, an exhibition on horsemanship by Guy McLean, and fine dining all within view of the backdrop of the NYC sky line!
The Rolex Central Park Horse Show also increased it’s sponsorship with nearly 40 businesses showing their support by hosting a variety of classes including the inaugural US Open competitions with Arabian, Jumper, Dressage, Hunters and Junior competitions. The list of sponsors included Rolex, Land Rover, Lugano, Trump, Ariat, Nutrena, Defiant Whisky, Jet Blue and JW Marriott Essex House, just to name a few.
The travel and tourism group, VISIT FLORIDA was very involved with sponsorship at the event with their eye on increasing equestrian tourism to the Sunshine State.
“Florida enjoys a rich history of equestrian tourism that infuses a significant economic impact to the local communities,” said Paul Phipps, Chief Marketing Officer at VISIT FLORIDA. “Our partnership with the Rolex Central Park Horse Show provides a tremendous opportunity to showcase the Sunshine State’s assets with horse enthusiasts from around the world who attend this prestigious event.”
Acknowledging the marketing power of this great horse show, many other Florida based companies took part in sponsorship as well, including The Florida Horse Park, Discover The Palm Beaches and Wellington Equestrian Realty!
The Show Jumping classes were sanctioned by the FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale) and attracted top riders from around the globe and within the United States. Wellington resident and Wordley Martin Footing co-founder Sharn Wordley continued his Grand Prix success by narrowly getting edged out in the Rolex US Open Grand Prix held on Friday night. Wordley, who rides for his home country of New Zealand, was aboard Barnetta, a horse he owns in partnership with his wife Ashley Wordley (Ashland Stables, Wellington, Florida and Lexington, Kentucky). In the end, the Rolex watch went to Colombia’s Daniel Bluman aboard Conconcreto Believe, who also was crowned the US Open’s leading rider for the entire horse show.
The show also hosted many Hunter classes for professionals, amateurs and junior riders such as the $1,000 Pony Hunter Freestyle exhibition class. This fun class was a great attraction to spectators and featured top kids from around the country riding their ponies over a derby style class set to music! Saturday evening Dressage took center stage under the city lights for the US Open $75,000 Dressage Freestyle, sponsored by the Axel Johnson Group.
Proceeds from the Rolex Central Park Horse show also benefitted many city non-profit groups such as GallopNYC, The Parks Enforcement Mounted Police & NYPD Mounted Unit, the Central Park Conservancy, the Police Athletic League and the City Parks Foundation.
All photos are copyright Chronicle Of The Horse.