New York, NY (CBS New York)- New York is home to a wide variety of different events throughout the course of each year, and it has often been the epicenter of attention for many industries and sports.
This weekend, the city will experience a rare first, when the Longines Global Champions Tour holds its first-ever event on Governor’s Island. The three-day event begins on Friday, September 27th and runs through Sunday, September 29th and will feature some of the best equestrians on the planet. It’s not often that the city gets to say it is doing something for the first time, but that is the case here.
“It’s the first time we have had a horse show here in New York. We have had polo matches before, but it’s the first show jumping event and it’s the inaugural New York Global Champions Tour event, so it’s really exciting,” said world-class show jumper Georgina Bloomberg in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “Some of the best riders in the world are coming to compete for top prize money.”
Bloomberg, the younger daughter of former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, is a lifelong resident of the city and ecstatic that the Global Champions Tour is coming to her hometown. Particularly at Governor’s Island, a place that she says feels like one of the unknown great places in the city. For Bloomberg, the love of riding horses came early, but the love for competition took over soon after that.
“Started riding when I was four, competing when I was six, and I fell in love with the competition right away. I think every rider really starts with their love of ponies and horses, and love of animals is really a must. But, I really was drawn to the competition. I love working hard at something and sort of being in the spotlight and showing that off.”
Bloomberg then turned professional at the age of 21 and has been competing ever since. Show jumping is a sport that is a little under-the-radar in the United States, and many people may understand just how taxing of a sport it is.
“You’re an athlete and you are on top of another athlete. You’re factoring an animal in. The animal can have a bad day, or you can have a bad day,” said Bloomberg. “It’s very different than track or gymnastics, where it’s just about you and your performance. Where, if you’re healthy and performing well, you’re going to go in and win. With us, there’s a lot of luck. Your horse could be in a bad mood, your horse could have an injury. It’s a very different sport, in that there are two athletes that you need to rely on. It’s a challenging sport, obviously it’s a bit dangerous, but it’s something that I have always loved. It’s physically a bit grueling, and mentally it can be a bit tiring, because you’re traveling a lot, but I have always loved it.”
That challenging nature is what has made the sport popular around the world with fans following particularly closely in Europe. Bloomberg says that by bringing an event to New York, the hope is that some fans in the United States will hop on the bandwagon.
“That is one of the things that we are super-excited about to have this show in New York. Hopefully, we’ll bring in some new crowds and some new fans that might have never been to a horse show and might leave wanting to pursue following it. Or maybe a kid comes and wants to start riding. Exposing people to our sport is something that this show is really going to do.”
One more reason for New Yorkers to stop by? This event is the Tour’s Finals, meaning that those in attendance will see this season’s champions crowned. The event begins Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The Global Champions Tour is offering free admission to the event available on a first-come-first-serve basis.