An impressive piaffe and passage tour highlighted the beautiful ride put in by Ireland’s Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K, with the pair scoring a 73.80% to cement themselves as the winners of the first ever international Grand Prix CDI4* presented by the Rolex Central Park Horse Show. Reynolds and the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Jazz x Phantasia) are fresh off the excitement of the 2016 Rio Olympics, and she decided Central Park was a show and atmosphere she didn’t want to miss. Reynolds edged out Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Paridon Magi with a score of 73.14% and Canada’s Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu and All In with a 71.06% for the win.
“We had a busy winter and spring qualifying for Rio because I had to go to (as an) individual,” said Reynolds. “That was quite a tough qualifying process. Then we took a little bit of a break after qualifying, and we did four competitions leading up to Rio. He is better when he competes often, so we take long breaks and then do more intense periods of competition. That is just what works for
him. I am glad we have taken the route of exposing him to different things because otherwise this would not have worked. You are walking through the park and there is just so much going on, so they have to be able to focus on you still through all that. I would not have missed this for the world.”
Vilhelmson-Silfven was also at the Olympic Games in Rio with her top mount Don Auriello and took the opportunity to rest the stallion while bringing Paridon Magi back to Central Park for his second year at the competition. The seven-time Olympian was also very happy to have this year’s CDI4* rating and enjoyed her Grand Prix test on Friday.
“The feeling to ride into this atmosphere with the backdrop is really amazing,” she stated. “I had a great feeling in the arena, and I am happy to be able to have a second horse like him to pull out of my sleeve and show sometimes. I think he is a great horse to do this with.”
Fraser and All In scored an early 71.06% to hold the lead through most of the class. The two final riders were the ones who ultimately bumped her to third, but Fraser was thrilled with the performance as her first competition in Central Park.
“There is really nothing that compares to a show like this and the atmosphere,” Fraser-Beaulieu stated. “I was not sure how he would handle the atmosphere. There were people playing ball and kids were screaming, but he came down to the ring and was totally settled in. I took the summer off from competing and just took time to train, and I think it really made a difference.”
Judge Gary Rockwell commented on the day’s results and acknowledged the top three horses and riders on their efforts.
“I think it is a top-notch competition. The setting is obviously something no one else has in the world,” Rockwell noted. “There is a lot going on here, but I was quite impressed with how obedient the horses were in the arena. No one had any problems with distractions or anything, so it is definitely a setting that can handle a CDI 4* like this. I am very happy with the rides today. Especially these three horses; every time I see them they are better, so I am always happy to see that.”
Dressage competition continues on Saturday evening with the U.S. Open $75,000 FEI Dressage Freestyle CDI 4*, presented by Axel Johnson. The evening will also feature a special freestyle demonstration from three-time Olympic gold medalists Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro.
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