The unwinding days of summer are coming to what always seems like an abrupt end.
But you’ll find it’s an easier transition from the beaches to the schoolbooks when you’re loafing on grass watching tall boots and breeches at the 47th annual American Gold Cup (Sept. 13 through 17), now in its sixth year in the undulating verdure that is Old Salem Farm in North Salem.
The prestigious jumper competition — featuring an international cast of amateur and professional riders of all ages and classes — culminates Sept. 17 in the competition for the actual Cup itself, the $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping New York CS14*-W, a qualifier for the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final, to be held in Paris.
Among the favorites are Olympic silver medalist Kent Farrington, No. 1 on the Longines FEI Ranking list, and reigning World Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward of Brewster, No. 2 on the list. Farrington took the Cup last year despite being knocked off his saddle as his Belgium Warmblood mare, Gazelle, spooked at the end of jump-off.
(He landed upright with a crowd-amusing bow.)
They’ll be competing on a course designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade.
Other events include the $35,000 Hermès Sellier Cup (won last year by North Salem resident Georgina Bloomberg) and the $86,000 Fidelity Investments Classic CS14 (won by Catherine Tyree after her year-long recovery from a broken leg.) Both of these will be held Sept. 16.
The Gold Cup is more than equestrian thrills (and the occasional spill). As the staccato blasts from a ringmaster’s coach horn echo through the hills and pastures of northern Westchester County, families can roam the bucolic venue, ride ponies, enjoy face painting or collect autographs from Olympic champions.
Discerning shoppers can wander pop-ups along what’s been coined “Boutique Row,” featuring Hermès and Danbury Porsche. Other shops carry everything from apparel to antiques to accessories; from portrait art to pet clothing. Or you can reserve a table in the two-tier VIP Hospitality Pavilion, which offers a catered buffet and bird’s-eye views of the Grand Prix and practice rings.
The Gold Cup is free to the public Sept. 13 through 15. On the evening of Sept. 15, tickets ($20) are available for the JustWorld International Benefit Concert, supporting life-changing programs for impoverished children in Cambodia, Guatemala and Honduras and featuring Johnny Rez from NBC’s “The Voice.”
Tickets for Sept. 16 and 17 are $20; $15 for children ages 4 through 12. The final will be featured on NBC Sports Network at 11 p.m. Sept. 18.