By Maylan L. Studart
The world-renowned Longines Masters equine competition is joining forces with the American Kennel Club for the first time ever where horses and dogs will vie for nearly $1 million in prize money in New York’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
People of all ages can expect to see horses flying through obstacles, dogs weaving through courses and celebrities like Team USA’s three-time Olympic medalist and New York native McLain Ward, Olympic silver medalist Lucy Davis, and ultra-billionaires and elite equestrians Georgina Bloomberg and Jennifer Gates.
The world’s best equine and canine athletes will be ready to rumble Thursday, April 25, at 4 p.m. through Sunday’s grand finale, Longines Grand Prix show jumping competition at NYCB Live.
“Both sports test an animal’s speed and agility as they maneuver a course in their respective sports,” said Brandi Hunter, vice president of public relations and communications for the American Kennel Club. “These sports also show an unbreakable bond between human and animal, whether it be dog or horse.”
The Longines Masters of New York is an elite sporting event that attracts the world’s best equestrian athletes and a large international audience of horse enthusiasts. It is the third leg of one of the most prestigious equestrian competitions in the world that occurs annually in New York, Paris and Hong Kong. As such, it is a must-attend event for those who want to catch a glimpse of some of high society’s celebrity artists, fashionistas and business moguls.
Thursday begins with an abridged first day from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. featuring the American Kennel Club Agility Premier Cup hosted by EEM, founder of the Longines Masters of New York, and the AKC. Although it’s officially a four-day event, Thursday’s Longines Masters equine competitions are closed to the public.
The AKC Agility Premier Cup is invitation-only for the select top 60 canine agility competitors and their handlers from around the country. Invitees were chosen from among the finalists in AKC’s 2018 National Agility Championship, Preferred National Agility Championship, and Agility Invitational along with AKC’s 2018 World Agility Team, AKC European Open Team, and AKC European Open Junior Team along with the Westminster Kennel Club 2019 finalists.
“There are so many fascinating similarities between the dog and equine sports,” said Carrie DeYoung, director of agility for the American Kennel Club. “Through this event, the public can learn about agility and cheer on the dogs while learning how it relates to equestrian competitions.”
Twelve dogs will be entered in five competitions of varying jump heights starting from 8 inches to 24 inches for $10,000 in cash prizes. The winner will also have its name engraved on the AKC Agility Premier Cup trophy that will be forever displayed in the AKC New York headquarters.
The Longines Masters Series’ team says its latest programming is making show jumping more accessible and exciting for families and children, with the addition of face-painting and petting sessions with the award-winning breeds of the AKC Dog Show.
“We’re excited to be returning to NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for the second edition of the Longines Masters of New York bringing our iconic show jumping series to America, after Europe and Asia,” said Christophe Ameeuw, chief executive officer of EEM. “We strive to offer audiences a unique experience combining the exciting sporting action, hospitality and fun for the family.”
Highlights of the weekend are Thursday’s Agility Premier Cup and Friday’s Longines Speed Challenge, a one-of-a-kind speed competition considered the fastest show jumping competition in the world.
Saturday’s Family Day features the AKC Canines and Equines event for those who want an up-close experience with the award-winning breeds of the AKC Dog Show and the Lamborghini Masters Power, where riders compete in a high jump competition where jumps become continuously higher, honoring the winner who can break the over-6-feet barrier. For those who can’t take the height, there’s also a Hobby Horse jump competition among other family-friendly events.
The grand finale is on Sunday with the Longines Grand Prix seeing riders compete for the weekend’s largest purse of $400,000. In addition to the competitions, the event will feature live music, luxury shopping, refined dining, and more attractions.