Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event – Day One – Frost on the windshield, but the competition was heated….

April 26th, 2013 10:35 PM | Comments Off on Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event – Day One – Frost on the windshield, but the competition was heated….

By Sarah Miller, Primary Blogger for MacMillan Photography & Media Services

Rolex is finally here. Our crew drove down Wednesday night and arrived at various times through the night.

Thursday morning came far too early and too chilly (about 27 degrees with heavy frost on our windshield!), but sunny. We headed to the Kentucky Horse Park and arrived an hour or so before dressage began. Security has been “upped” this year, due to the recent events in Boston. The security crew at the gates checked our bags, double checked our tickets and sent us on in short order. You couldn’t ask for a better welcome walking into the Horse Park this morning than the lane of crab apple trees so full of pink blooms that they look like pom-poms.

Rolex is starting off slowly for me this year. I watched William Fox-Pitt and Seacookie TSF make the test look easy from the warmth of the Media room, instead of ringside. My fellow photographers who took the morning time slot working at dressage were on the arena floor, where it was not so warm. After that was a meeting with Molly at Cavalor, to discuss our video session with Michael Pollard tomorrow morning. 

Andrew Nicholson and Calico Joe rode their test Thursday morning, and held onto the first place spot all day.


 Photo credit – Kristi Crowe

Thursday isn’t the biggest crowd at Rolex, but there was still some p (6,512 official attendance for Thursday) people watching to do.


Lily and Emma Callahan from Missouri won tickets to Rolex this year at a silent auction. They are here for the first time and I caught them getting their picture taken by one of the parks famous statues (the statue is of Bruce Davidson and Eagle Lion).

The girls weren’t the only ones enjoying the morning. This young man takes advantage of the statue to practice his Limbo. How many points should that get me in the people watching game?

I checked out the Sponsors’ Village next to grab some “swag” and window shop. At Nutrena’s tent I signed good luck banners for Becky Holder and Can’t Fire Me (a.k.a.Teddy) and Sally Cousins and Tsunami (a.k.a. Sue). Then I brushed up on the morning’s scores and found my first candidate for cutest dog at Rolex. He has a mini horse blanket on and his leash looks like a lead rope.



After that it was my turn to head to the ring and shoot dressage. It was warmer than this morning in the stands, but still a bit brisk, especially if you were sitting down.



The sets of riders included two people from my “Cheering For” list (see pre-Rolex blog # 8):  Bruce Davidson Jr. (a.k.a. Buck) on Mar de Amor and Kristin Schmozle on Ballylaffin Bracken. Both were good rides. Kristin and Ballylaffin received a 53.7, and they are tied in sixth place with Caitlin Silliman and Catch a Star. Buck and Mar de Amor received a 55.2 which put them into ninth place.




I shot from a new place in the ring and had the opportunity to watch the entrance/exit ramp as well as the arena. I learned something new today. That the ring girls who move the boards at A to let the riders in and out, and take the scores from the judges get a little bonus – Bruce Davidson Jr. and Peter Atkins weren’t the only riders who signed hats and took the time to talk.



At the end of the day the leaders are:


1. Andrew Nicholson and Calico Joe (NZL)

2. Becky Holder and Can’t Fire Me (USA)

3. Shandiss McDonald and Rockfield Grant Juan (CAN)


Tomorrow is more dressage and a video spot with Michael Pollard. Can’t wait!

Most photos by Sarah Miller, except the two of Andrew Nicholson and Calico Joe, which were taken by Kristin Crowe. All photos are copyrighted and owned by MacMillan Photography & Media Services. To purchase photos contact us at or 260-468-2392. Blue October all mp3 albums

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