There were days of silence after plans for the world-class dressage competition at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show was cancelled last weekend, but it is being replaced by arena eventing on the Sept. 23 Saturday night of the fixture.
The world’s three top-ranked dressage riders as of August, Isabell Werth of Germany, the USA’s Laura Graves and Carl Hester of Great Britain, where slated to compete at the Wollman Rink in the heart of New York city. But on the heels of the European championships, “recent unforeseen circumstances have impacted several competitors, forcing their withdrawal from the event,” according to a statement from the organizer of the event.
Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton are among those who have signed on for the 8 p.m. arena eventing, which combines show jumping and simulated cross-country at the intermediate/2-star level. It was a big hit in its debut at the Devon Horse Show last May, when the course was designed by Mark Phillips, who will also do the honors in New York. Other riders participating will include Jennie Brannigan, Holly Payne-Caravella and her brother, Doug Payne, as well as two exciting English imports, Burghley winner Oliver Townend and the great William Fox-Pitt. Sara Kozumplik-Murphy, who won at Devon, is also competing.
Meanwhile, the world’s highest-ranked riders in show jumping are set to compete at the show. Kent Farrington, number one in the international standings, and his friend and rival, McLain Ward, number two, will participate Sept. 21 in the evening’s $40,000 speed class, and the night of Sept. 22 in the $216,000 3-star Grand Prix.
A series of hunter classics is featured on the afternoon of Sept. 23, highlighted by the $50,000 Duchossois Cup.
The Central Park competition begins Sept. 20 with an Arabian show. It ends on Sunday, Sept. 24 with exhibitions and free admission
For tickets, go to www.centralparkhorseshow.com.