Kildare’s Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K, with a high score of 77.051%, won the $75,000 U.S. Open FEI Dressage Freestyle CDI 4* at the 2016 Rolex Central Park Horse Show on Saturday night.
Seven combinations performed their grand prix freestyles set to music in the impressive atmosphere, in front of a packed house, under the lights of Wollman Rink in New York City.
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) and Paridon Magi took the second place finish for the second day in a row, as well as the second year in a row, earning a score of 76.650%. Third place went to Denmark’s Mikala Gundersen aboard My Lady with a score of 72.400%.
Vancouver K and Judy Reynolds represented Ireland in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and then had a short break before making the journey to New York City. The 14 year old Dutch Warmblood gelding sired by Jazz, and owned by the rider’s parents Joe and Kathleen, performed consistently to win back-to-back classes this weekend.
“It is kind of surreal really,” Reynolds remarked on the achievement. “I was probably a little bit more nervous tonight because I wanted to win again. I knew we had the capability of doing it, so I wanted to produce the performance of the night and I put more pressure on myself. I think it is fantastic. I certainly didn’t think this was going to happen when I came over here. For Ireland it is quite historic. I don’t think anybody has ever won two classes in one weekend at a CDI, so it’s nice to have done that.”
In preparation for Saturday night’s freestyle competition, Reynolds watched the video of her performance at the Olympic Games with Vancouver K.
“I watched back the freestyle from Rio so I could get a feel for the most recent version that we have ridden,” she noted. “I noticed that I could improve on a couple of timings. Tonight he wasn’t being quite forward enough for me, so I had to make up some time in a couple of corners to stay on music, but I didn’t really change anything as such.”
Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K’s next stop is the Dressage at Devon CDI-W in Pennsylvania.