Our Return to the Arabian US Open in Central Park
Mike and I are very happy that we will be returning to New York City to be part of the 2017 Arabian US Open show in Central Park! It seems like the perfect time to share our experiences from last year.
Welcome to "the City" and the NYC traffic! Challenging to navigate with a car! Horse trailers? Wow! In 2016 it was especially congested because the United Nations General Assembly was meeting at same time!
From the Essex Hotel, the Central Park entrance closest to Wollman Rink is called the Artist's Gate. It's a short walk up and across 59th Street from the hotel and right away you're sort of in "horse country" because this is where a statue of General Jose de San Martin is located. Hmmm. Why is it called the Artist's Gate? Click here to find out!
Cynthia Richardson showing us the route between the arena and stalling area.
Our first view of Wollman Rink, currently being transformed into a horse show arena!
Central Park does not lend itself easily to accommodating a horse show and a lot has to happen in order to turn the rink into a riding arena. The entity responsible for the Central Park Horse Show, of which the Arabian US Open is just one event, is the brain child of Mark Bellissimo and the International Equestrian Group. Think of the Arabian US Open as the opening act of a 5 day equestrian extravaganza in the middle of New York City!
The route between the arena and the stalls is a bit of a hike! It's about 925 feet between the Wollman Rink and the baseball diamonds where the tent stalls are set up. To accomodate the horse traffice AND keep the path open for park pedestrians,the path was divided in half! See those green barricades in the photo above? By practice time on Wednesday, those were moved to the center of the path to provide one side for horses and one side for people. To keep the show running smoothly, the walk was timed so that horses for each class were in position and ready to go at the end of the previous class.
The stalling area also had a small schooling arena with the same footing as the main ring. This is the warm up area for the classes as well. The exhibitors warm up for their class here, then lead their horses along the path to Wollman and mount up in a designated area in the Wollman arena.
The stalls! Tents. Rubber mats. Generators for electricity.
Tuesday night we had a great treat! Dinner at the Polo Lounge. This photo didn't turn out great because it's super hard to do correctly with a cell phone! It doesn't do it justice! This is the wall outside the restaurant and the image is a giant lighted duratrans! After a terrific dinner, back to the hotel to see who will be up at 3:30am to watch the horse trailers arrive from the barns at the USEF barns in Gladstone NJ!
Stay tuned! Next post...What Happens Wednesday!