Ireland’s Judy Reynolds & Vancouver K Claim 1st Official International Central Park Grand Prix
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
NEW YORK, Sept. 23, 2016–Ireland’s Olympic partnership of Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K claimed victory in the first official international dressage competition in New York’s Central Park, an event with perhaps the greatest city skyline in the world towering over the competition arena.
“I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” said Judy after the Grand Prix in which she rode the 14-year-old KWPN gelding for a score of 73.800 per cent.
The 35-year-old Judy who is ranked 21st in the world on Vancouver K was making her first competition appearance in the United States since riding Remember in the World Games in Kentucky in 2010.
Sweden’s seven-time Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén rode Paridon Magi to runner-up spot on 73.140 per cent in the rider’s third show at Central Park, the first two years as a national competition before becoming an international CDI4* at the ice skating rink featured in Hollywood blockbuster movies and turned horse show ground for the week. The primary sponsor of dressage is the Axel Johnson Group, one of the business entities controlled by Antonia Ax:son Johnson who also owns Tinne’s horses.
“The feeling to ride into this arena with this backdrop is just amazing,” said Tinne. “Last year with the Pope here the park was empty. This year there were a lot of people.”
Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu and All In, the horse she competed at Small Tour on Canada’s Pan American Games silver medal team a year ago, was third on 71.060 per cent.
The score for Brittany and the 11-year-old KWPN gelding was by far a personal best and came after she took a break from competing to focus on training with fellow Canadian Ashley Holzer in the Bronx nearby.
Judy Reynolds, who is based in Germany, has been competing Vancouver K internationally since February, 2012 at Small Tour until moving up to Big Tour in May, 2014.
To get the horse used to big show atmosphere after the World Games in 2014, she said she exposed him to different environments and venues including the World Cup Final. The duo did four shows leading up to the Olympics in Rio that she said showed the benefit of the conditioning.
“I’m glad we did what we did to get the exposure otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to cope with this,” she said.
“I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.”
Playing of the Irish national anthem for her victory Friday was the second at this show–Daniel Coyle on Fortis Fortuna won the Under-25 jumping Thursday.
“It was good to hear the Irish national anthem at a dressage show,” she said. “The boys warmed it up for us.”
Gary Rockwell, a top ranked 5* judge who was president of the five-member ground jury, described the event as a “top notch competition.”
“The setting is something no one else has in the world,” said Gary who was also on the Rio Olympic panel, “None of horses had problems with distractions. Every time I see these three horses they are getting better.”