It’s been awhile. The past two months were so busy. I’m now all the way back in Florida (after being in Ohio, NYC, and over a month in NC), and I finally have some time to catch up before WEF. I have some brand new ideas on the way, but more on that later because I’ve waited long enough to get to what this post is all about – the CENTRAL PARK HORSE SHOW.
The last time I wrote to you, I was excitedly announcing my new job with Equestrian Sport Productions and Tryon International Equestrian Center, and getting ready to leave for the New Albany Classic (which was amazing, and I wrote all about here.) So, I think the most logical place to pick up is on Monday, September 21st, the day after the New Albany Classic, when I boarded a plane from Columbus, OH to NEW YORK CITY. Up until this past September, I had only been to NYC two times, ever – once in 5th grade as a part of a summer riding camp where we spent a day in the city eating at Tavern on the Green and riding through Central Park (I rode a one-eyed ex polo horse, I’ll never forget it), and then one other random time while I was in high school.
On the plane ride from Ohio to NYC, I had one of those moments where I couldn’t believe this was actually happening, looking out from my window seat and waiting to catch the first glimpse of the city – was I really heading to NYC for a HORSE SHOW?! As part of my job? Sometimes I still can’t believe this crazy adventure started only just this past January for fun (the first time I ever picked up a camera, borrowed from my boyfriend), and now only nine months later – I’m traveling to NYC to be a part of the Central Park Horse Show. It’s still so surreal to me. I keep waiting to wake up all the way back in Los Angeles in 2014 only to find out that for the past year I have been knocked out and this has all been a dream. I’m so grateful to be doing what I love and to be able to be around horses on a daily basis. At times it’s bittersweet to be on the other side of fence, looking in at all of the horses and riders in the ring, but now more than ever, I say, “Never say never.” A year ago I couldn’t have imagined I would be doing what I’m doing today, so who knows what 2016 holds, and in the meantime I remind myself I’m the luckiest to have these opportunities, to be able to just be there standing ring-side every day watching and being close to horses which makes me feel a kind of happiness and calm that I will forever be trying to explain.
Tuesday was a quieter day since the ring was still getting set up and the press conference took place in the morning.
About a month earlier, when I found out that I would be going to NYC for the show, I had decided there was one restaurant I really wanted to visit while in the city – the brand new Polo Bar NYC by Ralph Lauren. I know there are tons and tons of amazing, unique restaurants in NYC, but I couldn’t resist wanting to experience Ralph Lauren’s equestrian decor. I made a reservation at the Polo Bar almost exactly four weeks in advance, and even then I only managed to get the 5pm time-slot on a Tuesday night since reservations are still in such high demand. So if you’re wondering where all the people are in the photos below, I was eating there right when it opened. Every seat was full by the time I finished my dinner.
The excellent service at the Polo Bar is noticeable from the moment you arrive. After checking in with the hostess, I was guided to a staircase in the back with a curtain drawn over it that then leads you down to the main restaurant. Along the way, all of the hostesses already personally know your name at each point and walking down the stairs to the main area of the restaurant feels like you’re entering a secret hideaway. I spent the first few minutes sitting at my table just turning in every single direction to look at all of the equestrian art on every wall, which is complemented beautifully by the leather, hunter green walls, and warm lighting throughout! Also a MUST when you go to the Polo Bar: Check out the bathrooms which are equally gorgeously decorated. The service was incredible. As you might expect, the hostesses and waiters are also beautifully dressed in Ralph Lauren’s classic style. Finally – the FOOD, which can only be described as delicious comfort food. I ordered the Polo Bar Burger and it was life-changing. I can’t wait to go back on my next trip to NYC!
Sometime on Tuesday, I also decided that it would be super fun to wake up one morning to go to a taping of the Today Show at Rockefeller Plaza. I’ve turned on the Today Show in the mornings as I get ready for the day for as long as I can remember, so I am kind of a fan. On the way back to the hotel from the Polo Bar, I popped into a Walgreens and bought a fluorescent sheet of poster board and a Sharpie so that I could make a sign to hold up in the background during filming. I decided to make a Central Park Horse Show themed poster so that ideally I could get on TV and more New Yorkers might see it and come!
On Wednesday morning, I woke up at 5:00am and was out the door headed to Rockefeller Plaza in an Uber about 15 minutes later so that I could make sure I got a good spot in the background of filming.
Although I wasn’t chosen for a TV shout-out, I did get interviewed by Sirius XM for their live Today Show morning program, which thousands of New Yorkers listen to on their commutes to work, so that was awesome.
Although it made for a super early morning, I’m so glad I got up and went to the Today Show. The live filming out on the plaza wrapped up around 9am and then I went back to the hotel to prepare for my first “real” day of the Central Park Horse Show!
After two action-packed days, the show wasn’t even half-way done. Click here for part 2, featuring all the action from Friday through Sunday, including the Jr/Am class, Grand Prix, Hunters and Dressage!