Manhattan’s Central Park, or ‘The Heart of the Island at the Center of the World’ as it is also known, is a sight to behold. In winters, other than enjoying the embrace of nature that the park brings, people also enjoy ice skating at the skating rink located here.
It doesn’t matter if you have prior skating experience or not, ice skating in Central Park can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Humans are not the only species that takes over the skating rink in winters either, as once a year it is graced by a group of horses that descend on the dance floor to skate as well.
Skating at Wollman Rink
With an estimated 40 million visitors in 2013, Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States of America. The rink was an addition made a lot later to the park. It came into being after Kate Wollman donated $600,000 for its construction in 1949. When it was opened to the general public in the 1990s, it attracted an estimated 300,000 skaters in its first year alone.
As those who have skated at New York’s Rockefeller Rink might have observed, the Wollman Rink is not quite as confining. On a clear night, one is able to witness the stars that grace the sky while gliding across the snow. Add to this some smooth music coupled with crisp winter air, and there is not much else one would require in having an amazing experience.
Rolex Central Park Horse Show
While horses in attendance at any other horse show are not an unusual sight, it is quite unlike anything else when they are present for a horse show at the Wollman Rink. Last September, the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show took place at the famous rink. The third edition of the annually occurring show featured several equestrian sports, including Show Jumping, Hunter, and Dressage.
While all the athletes performing at the 5-day event were the crème de la crème of equestrian sport, the show was stolen by the world’s most beautiful horse. Frederick the Great arrived alongside Charlotte Dujardin, who was the Equestrian Champion at the British Olympics. The 15-year old stallion also recently made an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Also present at the event was American Olympian and winner of the silver medal at Rio in 2016, Kent Farrington. Farrington was part of the riders that took part in the horse dancing event. Farrington explained how the rhythm and balance between him and his horse had to be patiently built and practiced and took over six years to perfect. The fruit of this long-drawn labor was evident through the performances. The audience was thoroughly entranced with Charlotte Dujardin’s freestyle performance with Valegro, her prize-winning stallion on the dancefloor.
CEO of the International Equestrian Group and founder of the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, Mark Bellissimo had brought this sport to New York as a testament of his love for his wife Katherine. The couple envisioned the event as a means of creating awareness and to bring this sport to the general public. We must say that their idea to have horses on the dance floor is a unique and successful one, as could be seen by the number of excited people watching the magic unfold in Central Park.