For the last eight years, the American Gold Cup – a qualifier for the FEI World Cup Jumping Final – has brought thousands of fans and hundreds of millions of dollars to Old Salem Farm in North Salem and its environs. Now that successful partnership is over. The Cup – which originated in Ohio before heading off to Florida and Pennsylvania – has announced that it is headed back to the Midwest to Traverse City, Michigan, to Flintfields Horse Park.
For the first time in the 50-year history of the event, the Cup will feature two back-to-back weeks of FEI-rated show jumping, with week one of the event taking place Sept. 2 through 6 and featuring the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament. Week two will be held Sept. 9 through 13. Also for the first time, the event will welcome the addition of an AA hunter competition in both weeks of competition. (Hunter events are more about the grace of the horse and rider going over obstacles; jumper, about horse and rider executing an obstacle course in the least amount of time and with the fewest faults.
In the end, while the move seemed to come down to expansion, the coronavirus did play a role. Traverse City allows for more stabling and additional rings, along with new amenities for the athletes, a spokeswoman said. Additionally, the move to Traverse City will combine the American Gold Cup with 10 other weeks of competition, allowing riders and their teams to remain in one location as the threat of COVID-19 remains throughout 2020.
It is a bittersweet parting on both sides. For equestrian buffs here it was an opportunity to see many of the world’s top riders and rising stars, including two-time Olympic gold medalists McLain Ward and Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden, Georgina Bloomberg, Jessica Springsteen and Adrienne Sternlicht in a fun, family atmosphere that featured food, kids’ activities and curated boutiques amid the undulating verdure of Old Salem Farm and northern Westchester.
Cup organizers shared this sentiment. “Returning to North Salem, New York, each year felt like a homecoming,” Matt Morrissey, the Cup’s events director, said in a statement. “The community was incredibly supportive and we thank everyone that was involved from our partners to the fans. We will miss them and hope to see some familiar faces joining us in Traverse City.”
As they say, happy trails.
For more, visit theamericangoldcup.com.