What do you do when the weather is rainy and cold in the morning with thunderstorms predicted for the afternoon? Why you don as much rain gear as possible and head out to the cross country course to watch eventing with 30,000 other fans. Although the weather for this year’s Rolex Kentucky **** Three Day Event was less than cooperative, that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of its intrepid fans.
Rolex Kentucky is one of only six events in the world that are offered at the four star level, the very top level of eventing. It is also the only four star offered within the Western Hemisphere, making it a destination show for many upper level riders and fans. Although called a three day event, it actually takes place over four days from Thursday through Sunday, with two days dedicated to dressage due to the number of competitors. Horse inspections, known as the jog, are held the day before competition on Wednesday to ensure that all horses are sound and fit for competition. Most riders will dress for the occasion and the jog has become something of a fashion show as well, with prizes being offered for the best dressed by some sponsors of the event. All 75 horses passed the jog and were cleared to compete, although Kyle Carter chose to withdraw Madison Park from the event before the jog.
The first day of dressage was cool, crisp and blustery, leading to a challenging ride for some competitors. Despite the weather, Michael Jung of Germany rose to the occasion with his second horse entered, Fischerrocana FST, and took and held the lead with a score of 39.3. Laine Ashker held at second with Anthony Patch with Philip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive in third as the overnight leaders. The last day of dressage offered better weather and many of the seasoned riders with their top horses. With ten horse and rider pairs within ten points of each other competition would be tight leading into Cross Country on Saturday. Michael Jung on his top horse La Bioshetique- Sam FBW would tie for first on a score of 36.3 with New Zealander Tim Price and Wesko. William Fox-Pitt and Bay My Hero were close behind with a score of 38.5.
In an effort to beat the inclement weather, they moved up the start of cross country and ran in just three minute intervals instead of the standard five. Despite the weather there was still a robust, enthusiastic crowd. The ground crew volunteers were hard at work to keep the footing sound, and extra gravel was placed at the start and landing of fences to help.
Style Trends of Rolex
- Grey Show Coats: In addition to the standard black, navy and country colors for international riders, grey show coats were seen on a number of riders. Try out a non traditional coat for yourself.
- Bling Helmets: As they rode in the dressage ring, an extra sparkle was seen on a number of riders, who sported helmets with crystal insets. Want one for yourself? Check out the One K Defender Helmet.
- Micklem Bridles: These anatomical bridles have become a favorite bridle for those riders who chose to compete with a snaffle.
Unable to watch the event in person? NBC will be broadcasting the highlights from Rolex Kentucky on Sunday, May 3rd at 12:30PM EST. You can also view the full program on demand on the USEF Network.