President-Elect Donald Trump & Equestrian Sport

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Central Park Horse Show in New York. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Central Park Horse Show in New York. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Nov. 11, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump has been involved in horse sports in the United States in a significant way as the owner of historic Mar-a-Lago on Palm Beach that hosts a major jumping event and leases the Wollman Rink to stage the Central Park Horse Show in New York.

The involvement of Donald Trump in equestrian sports began with Equestrian Sport Productions that manages the Winter Equestrian and Global Dressage Festivals in Wellington, Florida  seeking to stage a jumping event at Mar-a-Lago in January, 2013.

The former Marjorie Merriweather Post estate that was purchased and restored by Donald Trump in 1985 is one of the most spectacular mansions in the world and designated a U.S National Landmark.

It was the first ever equestrian event held on Palm Beach island and included a demonstration by the U.S. Olympic team combination of Tina Konyot and Calecto V. As a result of feedback from riders, Donald Trump put in new grass footing on the lawn on the edge of the Intracoastal Waterway for the 2014 and 2015 events. It was not staged in 2016 because of weeks of torrential downpours that made the course unrideable.

However, Mar-A-Lago is on the international calendar as a jumping event again for next Jan. 7-8.

Mark Bellissimo, chief executive officer of Equestrian Sport Productions, during the Mar-A-Lago event discussed the possibility of staging a horse show in Central Park in New York.

Donald Trump, who has a long-term lease on the Wollman ice skating rink after he re-built the facility, agreed to lease the arena to Equestrian Sport if they were able to get approval from New York City to host the Central Park Horse Show.

With city approvals in hand, Equestrian Sport staged the first Central Park show of dressage, jumpers and other disciplines in 2014.

Dressage was a centerpiece event from the first year with German superstar Isabell Werth competing, Steffen Peters riding Ravel in a special exhibition and Jan Ebeling retiring the Olympic celebrity horse Rafalca.

The appearance of Valegro and Charlotte Dujardin in a farewell exhibition was a highlight of the 2016 event in September.

Valegro in the center of an adoring crowd at New York's Central Park Horse Show where the triple gold medal-winning horse and his rider Charlotte Dujardin were celebrity stars. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Valegro in the center of an adoring crowd at New York’s Central Park Horse Show where the triple gold medal-winning horse and his rider Charlotte Dujardin were celebrity stars. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Central Park Horse Show is scheduled for Sept. 19-22 in 2017.