2012 Rolex Kentucky – Sunday, April 29 – Stadium Jumping

September 13th, 2012 2:06 PM | Comments Off on 2012 Rolex Kentucky – Sunday, April 29 – Stadium Jumping

Stadium Jumping

by Sarah

William Fox-Pitt at Rolex 2012

William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk
pass the final inspection Sunday morning.
Margaret MacGregor/MacMillan Photography

The final day of Rolex competition doesn’t start for the crowds until the afternoon, although there is plenty to do and see for spectators in the trade fair and sponsor’s village. But for the riders and horses it starts much earlier with the final horse inspection. Three riders did not present their horses for inspection or voluntarily withdrew during the inspection, and 1 more was eliminated at the inspection, whittling this year’s final competitors down by four more, leaving 28 horses and riders to contest the final phase.

In the morning while two of our group photographed the horse inspection, the rest of us had time to pack for the trip home, check out of our hotel and get some much-needed shopping done. We also went to the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center (MMSC) in the northwest corner of the Kentucky Horse Park to see Dorothy Crowell’s retired four-star horse Molokai. An off-the-track Thoroughbred (OTT), he won a silver medal at the World Equestrian Games in 1994, and the inaugural CCI**** at Rolex Kentucky in 1998. In the pasture, next to his Warmblood buddy Alex, Molokai looked small. Then the two of them came to the fence and it’s just that Alex that is HUGH and Moloki is a normal good-sized sport horse. Molokai’s presence there attracted people to the Center, where they could learn about the MMSC’s mission of taking off-the-track Thoroughbreds and retraining and adopting them out. Maybe one of the horses we saw there will join the other OTT’s at Rolex in the future?

Alison Springer at Rolex 2012

Alison Springer and Arthur
on their way to 2nd place.
Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography

Sunday’s main event, stadium jumping in the Rolex stadium, couldn’t have had better weather, bright, warm and sunny. There was no chance of rain to discourage the crowd or the riders. The stands were packed, and outside the stands, the warm-up rings were full of activity. If you get the chance, and can bear to miss the first few riders, I recommend watching the practice arena. It’s fascinating to see the riders and the coaches make their final preparations. And before you go up to your seat, watch a rider come down the entryway ramp, face full of determination. Then watch them come back up the ramp, flushed and happy. It’s a dimension that you don’t get from the stands.

William Fox-Pitt at Rolex 2012

William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk
clear the stadium course.
Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography

Inside the arena, under the spectators’ stares and cameras’ view finders, this year’s competitors gave great performances. Five riders went double clear and four of those riders also had double clears on cross-country day. It came down to Allison Springer and William Fox-Pitt again. With one rail down apiece, the standings remained the same for the top two with the win going to Fox-Pitt. This win gives him the second leg of a possible Rolex Grand Slam ($350,000 prize for any rider that can win the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI****, the Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials and the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials consecutively) and I wish him all good luck on his next ride at Badminton next week in Great Britain (turns out the 2012 Badminton Horse Trials have been cancelled due to large amounts of rain, so he has until next year’s Badminton to try for the prize).

As soon as the last horse and rider finished the Richard Jeffries-designed stadium course , the stands cleared out. By the time the victory gallop finished there weren’t many people left watching, which I think is a shame. Maybe if they got the feeling, as I did when photographing the awards ceremony, of standing on the arena floor with the ground shaking as the winners ran past with ribbons streaming from the horses’ bridles they would stay.

Congratulations to all of the horse and riders that completed the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI*** presented by Bridgestone with more than $250,000 in money and prizes up for grabs. And thank you to the sponsors, organizers and volunteers too! Completion mementos were given to each rider that finished the event. Ribbons and prize money were paid through twentieth place. The final standings were: William Fox-Pitt (GBR) and Parklane Hawk, first (45.3), $80,000; Allison Springer (USA) and Arthur, second (47.0), $37,000 and an 18-month lease of a Land Rover as the winner of the United States Equestrian Federation’s Four-Star Championship; Boyd Martin (USA) and Otis Barbotiere, third (51.0), $30,000; Karen O’Connor (USA) and Mr. Medicott, fourth (51.0), $25,000; William Coleman (USA) and Twizzel, fifth (51.3), $20,000, and Jonathan Paget (NZL) and Clifton Promise, sixth (52.8), $10,000. For a complete set of results and other information go to www.rk3de.org.

Now it’s time to hit the road and start the countdown to next year. Let’s hope it’s even better than this year’s!

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