Monday, May 2, 2016

Back from Rolex!

I am finally back home from a long weekend at the infamous Kentucky Rolex 3-day event. I am so motivated to ride and ride some more (and of course sleep). Seriously though, it was so much fun and exhausting all at the same time. Its a vacation you need a vacation from...just to keep absorbing all the awesomeness seen while recovering from the crazy amounts of walking and lack of sleep.

Sun setting on the flight to Kentucky
While there was a lack of sleep on the plane ride there which I intended to was all excitement and, despite it being my second year in a row, a bit like a kid on Christmas Eve dying to run down the stairs and see all the wonderful goodness.
Enjoying an early vacation beverage on a rather bumpy flight

The flight was actually really bumpy coming in but it didnt put a huge damper on the flight...we all were waging who we thought would make the top 20, what horses we liked, what riders we liked...etc. 

I dont play too much into who will win, because every time I put it out there, I jinx them it seems. BUT I was really amped to come into this trip knowing what I knew from the previous year and ready to take on seeing more.

on the descent.
Ill be breaking up many posts on this trip so this will just be an overview... I brought home quite the haul of items I purchased (I may have a slight shopping problem), and tons of footage and insights I learned.
Dressage day 1, ring all prepped and ready
 I read a few blogs last year before my trip and caught on to a few things you needed to know when at Rolex. One of them being, rent a pair of head sets for dressage. As eventers, we understand the finer intricacies of dressage and can even appreciate them, but watching TWO full days of it could be a bit mundane after a while. BUT if you rent the headphones for a whomping $40 for the entire weekend, you'll get hear Karen O'conner's commentary. It is wonderfully entertaining and makes each test feel more like a clinic-like, learning experience than oohing and ahhing at all the pretty ponies.

Me being unbelievably excited about seeing my logo, branding, brochures and booth designs at ROLEX!!!!
I didnt get to really sit and watch nearly as much dressage as last year, but I was fine with that. I got to listen to the headset and shop a bit between and pop back into my seat to really watch the ones I wanted. One particular horse, A Little Romance, has been one on my radar ever since I ve done research on the stallion A Fine Romance. Unfortunately, he is retired, but I am eager to see how is offspring does.
Got my headset, Program and rider list all ready!!! 
I will be sure to fill you all in on what I purchased while there...and I am not so ashamed to admit, it was just as much, if not more, than last year. But when in Rome right?

The shopping is just insane...sure some things arent the greatest deals, but its sorta a cool souvenir to get it from Rolex.

Day #2 Elisa Wallace about to enter

Elisa Wallace and Simply Priceless down the centerline

I got to sit down and see much more dressage on Friday and was eager to see a handful. The group I came with opted to duck out to visit Keenland racetrack which I would have LOVED to see...but it would have meant missing the last session which was packed with the more infamous riders like Phillip Dutton, Boyd Martin, Allison Springer, Buck Davidson...etc.

I dont regret it at all after seeing Allison Springer's ride on Arthur. It was incredibly cool to see and just gave me goosebumps. I have watched these two compete for quite some time and read about many of their trials and tribulations riddled with Arthur's spookiness. This sounds dumb, but reading an article about her sticking by Arthur and overcoming so much really touched me to stick it out and work through my own struggles.

Mark Todd

Mark Todd during one of the many lead changes

I also opted to stick around because it meant going on a course walk of a few XC jumps with Allison Springer and Boyd Martin. I didnt get to see the entire course last year and really regretted it. So I stuck to my guns and not only made a point to see the entire course, but hear about it's questions from those riding it. 

The head of lake waiting on the course walk
I know I am not destined to ride in Rolex anytime soon and maybe not ever....BUT I do believe listening to these and soaking in anything I can from these situations will not only be inspirational, but educational for my own campaign to get better.

Boyd Martin introducing himself

I prepared myself for the rainy weather due to move in for XC and was much better prepared apparel wise this year. THAT goes a long way when you are standing in a steady rain alllllll day long. While it wasnt too terribly heavy, it was enough that if you werent dry with your feet or layered just enough, it would not be so pleasant to watch.

Starting early on the mimosas to keep us warm

 Seeing these horse and riders take on these fences in person is just incredible. Pictures and TV just do not do it justice. It is sort of like the Grand know how enormous and wonderful it is, you see pictures and appreciate it, but it really just isnt the same as seeing it up close and in person (sorry for those that didnt get to go!!! maybe we can do a meet up next year?!).

In the coffin portion of the course...and boy was it just insane!!!

Ending the event with stadium was electrifying...its the best word I can think to explain it. You get to see everything and its all about the trust here. It was an excruciatingly difficult course with only 4 (I may need to fact check this) clear rides. You could see the horses that had heart, ones that had grit, tired horses that were young, rider mistakes, riders locking on and seeing that right distance from a mile away and it was just cool. Some fences rode so huge at some points I couldnt help but gasp and die inside from excitement of how incredible it must feel to get that much hang time. 

We had an entire day monday to regroup....and my poor phone had about enough. With some conversation with my network provider and some oohing and ahhing at really cool saddlebreds and some white castle...we wrapped up our trip.

I realize I am gushing at this point...I apologize. I will be sure to add more detailed posts on the course walk and xc day next - I literally just landed a few hours ago and trying to get something out to you all!!!

Expect more updates soon!


  1. It's always good to watch upper level riders rider. I may never ride in a Grand Prix but I love watching them that's for sure.

  2. So awesome you got to experience Rolex for the second time!

  3. Can't wait for more updates. And you are allowed to gush I've been gushing and I wasn't even there...

  4. So much fun - I had such a blast with you guys

  5. Wow! What a great experience. Can't wait to hear the details!