Sunday at the American Gold Cup: A Fond Farewell to Rothchild, and a Banner Day for Molly Ashe

Sunday at the American Gold Cup: A Fond Farewell to Rothchild, and a Banner Day for Molly Ashe

Is there a better way to spend a Sunday than posting up on a grassy hill, mimosa in hand, watching the world's best riders battle to the finish on a green, grassy field? Possibly, but none are coming to mind right now, and that's because we're all in on The American Gold Cup. Nestled amongst lush greenery and crystalline skies at its current home on Old Salem Farm in North Salem, New York, Sunday at 'the Gold Cup' is like something out of a show jumping dream. From the retirement of a living legend to a nail-biting face-off between riders, this day certainly did not disappoint.

A highlight of the day was, undoubtedly, the retirement ceremony for McLain Ward's famed fiery chestnut mount, the legendary - and ever quirky - Rothchild. In front of a packed house, McLain and the small, wiry horse with enough character to suit a horse three times his size paraded around the grass field, celebrating an incredible career and a horse that has since become an icon in the sport.

We're not crying, you're crying.

Just to keep spectator's emotions on a wild rollercoaster ride, the $204,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup New York proved to be nothing less than an edge-of-your-seat showdown, with Molly Ashe Cawley of the United States aboard D'Arnita narrowly edging out fellow American duo, Margie Engle and Royce, to take home the top prize. It was an American sweep, with Mattias Tromp and Quinta rounding out the podium with a well-earned third.

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Seven horse and rider combinations made it to the jump-off round on the world-renowned grass field, a true joy to watch as each pair took on another one of Alan Wade's outstanding course designs.

Photos by Dani Maczynski.