Katie Lindsay’s Fond Look at Rolex 2012

September 13th, 2012 2:21 PM | Comments Off on Katie Lindsay’s Fond Look at Rolex 2012

by Katie Lindsay, Cross Country and Chief Area Steward

Used with permission of USEA Area IV

As Cross Country and Chief Area Steward for Rolex, I am privileged to witness first hand some of the things that make this great competition tick.This year, to any observer, the organization was flawless, and the result was a seamless operation from start to finish, that is until the shameful gaffe at the very end when, in front of a sellout crowd and live European and American television cameras, the wrong National Anthem was played to honor the winner William Fox Pitt – TWICE. To make matters worse, God Save The Queen. the correct one, was never played, and fuel was added to the fire when the announcer, himself a Brit, asked William if he’d hum it. I understand the NBC radios were going bonkers! My advice to the gentleman in the tower would be to get out an updated resume!

Four of us, (three intrepid friends and I), got in Wednesday in time for the end of the trot up. Some fashionista eyes on the ground however did report on a couple of jog outfits. Whoever advised converted jumper rider Marilyn Little Meredith that a one shouldered black filmy cocktail dress would be de rigueur should be shot, and Marilyn’s new BFF. Karen O’Connor, (the two are so close that they are usually referred to as Karilyn), though wearing an impeccably tailored ivory pants suit, didn’t look exactly comfortable in 4 inch heels.

The two days of Dressage went as always. My two dressage related high lights were observing first hand that the aforementioned Little-Meredith had crystals on the tops of her dressage boots, (dear God what next?), and watching William FP patting and feeding his horse treats after his test in a moment of quiet. He is so damned good looking that it should be illegal, and having had dinner with him several years ago, he’s just as nice as he is hunky!

I spent Thursday FEI Stewarding Dressage warm up and learning the cross country course and the escape routes, and Friday was a long succession of briefings – Area Stewards at 11, Safety at 2, and Jump Judges at 5, all of course at opposite corners of the Park. There were four new Area Stewards who were fabulous, and I’m glad we had extras because one, naturally at the toughest complex, Head of the Lake, crapped out at the last minute. You can imagine how this pleased me – NOT!

Safety meetings scare the living Hell out of me. Every person essential to the running of the cross country is involved along with medical, veterinary, security. and general emergency personnel. Where will the on site chopper be located? Where will the Mass. SPCA trucks and trailers as well as back up rigs be parked in case a horse has to be hauled? What is the protocol in case of a human or equine fatality? There are seven Areas. Each Area has, in addition to a team of jump judges and a communicator, completely equipped medical and veterinary personnel and a crash crew for fence and footing repair. Oh, don’t forget stopping stewards, crossing guards and score collecting teams! I think organizing the Invasion of Normandy was less complicated!

Cross country day was in retrospect spectacular! We watched the storms roll past us, amassing probably 20 drops of rain, sufficient rain had fallen the night before to make the ground perfect, and Derek DiGrazia’s course did exactly what it should have – tested the Olympic strivers and at the same offering a safe educational experience for first time 4**** riders. The course I think walked easier than it rode which caused interesting stats at day’s end, but there were no serious injuries, and the one horse who went down walked onto the trailer after he caught his wind.

Probably my personal highlight aside from watching the Brits ride, especially WFP, was having the opportunity to watch Boyd Martin on course. As an FEI Steward, I usually just get to see him in warm up, but at Kentucky, I had a good view of several fences. The guy is just plain GOOD! I find myself getting annoyed at his internet P.R. machine, but after watching him, all is forgiven.

As always, it was wonderful to see old friends and make new ones. I hate to shop so I upheld my tradition of completely avoiding the Trade Fair so I can’t comment yay or nay on that, but everything else was just plain grand!

Thank you Rolex – and Thank You for reading.

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