2012 Rolex Kentucky – Thursday, April 26

August 13th, 2012 8:40 PM | Comments Off on 2012 Rolex Kentucky – Thursday, April 26

Dressage, Day One

by Sarah

Karen O'Connor at Rolex 2012

Karen O’Connor’s dressage ride.
Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography

This year’s Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event got off to a cool, misty start, before blooming into a warm sunny day. There is a feeling of easy anticipation in the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. As you walk by the stables everyone seems unhurried… The first-day crowds, more casual and less pressed than Saturday’s throng, are wandering between the dressage ring, the trade fair and walking the cross-country course.

Dogs of all kinds come to Rolex 2012

A pair of shelties.
Hannah Wormgoor/MacMillan Photography

Dogs of all shapes and sizes accompany them. The general feeling is one of anticipation, letting the day go on as it will, and everyone looking forward to the more exciting phases while enjoying the present.

It’s a good start to what promises to be an exciting competition!

Americans Boyd Martin on Remington XXV and Karen O’Connor, riding Veronica placed first (45.3) and second (47.8) in today’s dressage with more dressage tomorrow. In third place is New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson on Calico Joe (48.7). With another 29 riders including William Fox-Pitt (GBR), Oliver Townend (GBR), Karen O’Conner (USA) and Boyd Martin, riding his second horse Otis Barbotiere, to go tomorrow, those places are almost sure to change before cross-country.

Rolex Cross-Country Course Media Trail Ride

by Kim

I was fortunate enough to be invited to join the second annual “Rolex Ride the Course” media trail ride around cross-country late this afternoon. Organized by Merrick Haydon of Revolution Sports on behalf of Rolex Watch and staged by Mr. Haydon and the Kentucky Horse Park and USEF and USEA staffs, a small group of journalists were matched with trusty Kentucky Horse Park trail horses.

My partner on the ride was an red roan Appaloosa gelding named Comanche who was a doll, but preferred to be at the front of the pack and jigged a bit to get there. All things considered he was a trooper to take me around the course when he should have already been safely tucked in his stall with dinner in front of him. Looking through Comanche’s ears toward the various obstacles on the course designed by Derek di Grazia and built by Mick Costello, I was able to get a true picture of the height, width and drops of the jumps. It was awe inspiring to say the least.

David O'Connor leads the media ride at Rolex 2012

David O’Connor leads the media ride.
Allen MacMillan/MacMillan Photography

Our four-star rider hosts were USEF President and Olympic gold medalist David O’Connor who was mounted on a chestnut roan Tennessee Walker gelding and four-star veteran Gina Miles who was aboard a grey National Show Horse gelding. Both were very approachable and gracious to answer our questions and shared how they would tackle the course. They commented that the course continuously asked a lot of questions that would keep the horses and riders on their toes the entire way round and that if the riders made any mistakes early in the course it was probable that those would compound as the rode the rest of the course.

Our first stop at the Rolex Head of the Lake (obstacle numbers 19 & 20a,b,c,d) included a briefing from Mr. di Grazia. We stopped at several more obstacles including: the Sunken Road (obstacle number 17a,b,c,d,e); the HSBC Water Park (obstacle number 5a,b,c,d); the Double Corners (obstacle number 14a,b); the HSBC Classic Series Normandy Bank (obstacle number 22a,b,c); the Brush Water Challenge (obstacle 8a,b), and the Bridgestone Park Question (obstacle number 9a,b,c).

After thanking Comanche for his patience and rewarding him with some grazing time before he was ponied back to the stable, I walked back to the media center with a brain full of four-star riders’ perspective.

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