It was something I wanted to do for years, make it to the Central Park Horse Show. Commitments always seemed to have me other places, but this year was the year. Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro would be there and I KNEW that I had to be as well. After all, Charlotte DuJardin has been described by some as “the most dominant dressage rider of her era” and it’s not every day that you get the opportunity to watch a three-time Gold Medalist and winner of all world records and major titles in the sport.
I spent the day as most tourists do… lunch at Rockefeller Center, and wandering the streets of New York taking in the sights and sounds specific to the city. Taxi’s blaring loudly to move others from their paths, the smell of hot dogs filling the air as the crowds walk by ignoring each other. It wasn’t my first time to the Big Apple, but today it seemed like it as I meandered through Central Park wanting to stay close as to avoid afternoon traffic that might make me late to find my seat, Grandstand C. Row K seat 46.
I have been to many, many horse shows, but it was such a different experience being in the crowd than in the announcer’s booth. The comradery that was shared between the crowd, most of us dressage enthusiasts, was such a fun experience at such a high level event. Anticipation was high as the show started, each of us rooting for our personal favorite. Each performance was terrific and as the last team Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu and All In, finished their performed the excitement amongst the crowd became almost palpable. I know, I know, I sound like a groupie, but it’s because I am. Charlotte Dujardin is one of the most talented riders ever to come from the dressage world and what she has accomplished is unbelievable. The big surprise of the evening was to see Charlotte riding Frederik The Great, a Friesian of Pinnacle Friesians, that has been hailed as the “World’s Most Handsome Horse” He really was very beautiful to watch, but I was there for the power team Charlotte and Valegro. Their performance was everything I had expected it to be and I was glad to be a part of it and enjoy the show in a different way.
Not to be forgotten or cast aside by any means are the riders who were the main event, They are talented equestrians and were most enjoyable to watch and share in the excitement of the evening. Congratulations Ireland’s Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K for winning the $75,000 U.S. Open FEI Dressage Freestyle CDI4* with a high score of 77.051%
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven of Sweden and Lovsta Stuteri’s Paridon Magi took second with a score of 76.650% .
The 3rd place winner was Denmark’s Mikala Gundersen riding Janne Rumbough’s My Lady with a score of 72.400%.
It was a wonderful evening and definitely one to remember, bucket list item #103 check.
Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro!!!! This is NOT the Olympic test. First time in the ring since Rio..and is retired from competition.