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Europeans Clinch Dubarry Nations Team Challenge Victory

Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam FBW. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam FBW. Photo by Jenni Autry.

As if Michael Jung needed more prize money to line his pockets with — ok, who are we kidding, there is never enough prize money to support this habit of ours! — the mixed European team sealed the deal to clinch the win in the Dubarry of Ireland Nations Team Challenge.

Michael Jung, Tim Price, Bill Levett, and Austin O’Connor all had great days in the Rolex Stadium this afternoon, finishing on a final cumulative score of 145.6 ahead of Team USA, who finished on a final score of 250.2.

Although we said yesterday that it would take a disaster of monumental proportions to dethrone the European dream team, it’s still a sport of ultimate highs and heartbreaking lows. Truth be told, anything could have happened today over Richard Jeffery’s tricky course, but the Europeans could be counted on to deliver.

Team USA put in some solid performances in the show jumping, notably just a pair of rails lowered by Colleen Rutledge and Shiraz, who is notoriously difficult in the show jumping. “Luke” looked very rideable for Colleen yesterday and she looked very pleased with her veteran partner as she exited the arena.

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda lowered a rail and had a time fault to complete on a final score of 100.9, and Holly Payne piloted the Fox Syndicate’s Never OutFoxed in his first CCI4* to top-20 finish. Team USA finished their weekend on a final score of 250.2.

Team Great Britain had a rough patch of luck with Zara Phillips withdrawing High Kingdom and James Alliston falling from Tivoli on cross country. Although the team’s remaining members, William Fox-Pitt and Nicola Wilson, did their part and finished beautifully as expected, the extra 1,000 points added put them out of reach of the Nations Team Challenge top prize.

It was another great weekend of competition at Rolex Kentucky, and though Team USA didn’t pull off a repeat victory it was certainly a privilege to see the world’s best give us all a few lessons on how it’s done. I’m sure we’re all feeling very inspired this morning, so get out there and chase your own Rolex dreams!

Many thanks to Dubarry for a great year of Team Challenge competition. We’re updating and tabulating the final Fantasy League scores as we speak, so stay tuned to find out who wins the big prize!

[Final Team Scoreboard]

Screenshot (20)

Preview Richard Jeffery’s Rolex Show Jumping Course

Follow the leader. Buck Davidson leads his students on a walk of the course. Photo by Sally Spickard. Follow the leader. Buck Davidson leads his students on a walk of the course. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Doug Payne kindly took the time to walk Richard Jeffrey’s show jumping course this morning and give us the inside scoop on how it’s laid out. As usual, Richard is not taking it easy on the horses who have made it through the Final Horse Inspection, using related distances and tight turns to really test the competitors’ ability to come back out on Sunday to lay down a clean round.

You can also get an idea of how the track is laid out by watching Elisa Wallace’s walk, which is a great way to see what the riders are looking for when they walk their course.

VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Walk the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event stadium course with Elisa Wallace!

Posted by Wallace Eventing on Sunday, April 26, 2015

Many thanks to Doug for his time and to Elisa for providing her course walk video for us to see her perspective.

We’ll be crowing a Rolex winner in just a few hours, so stay tuned for much more. Best of luck to all competitors today!

International Dream Team Has Firm Grasp on Dubarry Nations Team Challenge

Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam FBW. Photo by Jenni Autry. Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam FBW. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The hodge-podge team of Tim Price and Wesko, Michael Jung and Sam, Bill Levett and Improvise and Austin O’Connor with Balham Houdini are sitting pretty atop the Dubarry Nations Team Challenge after cross country this afternoon. This international dream team holds the lead by more than 100 points over team USA with a cumulative score of 121.6.

Interesting fact: the European mixed team added just .4 penalties to their overall score today due to Michael Jung’s measly one second over the optimum time. Both Tim Price and Bill Levett piloted their horses to double clear rounds today.

It’s safe to say that these heavy hitters are feeling more than a little confident tonight as they dream of their share of the $20,000 put up by Dubarry of Ireland. Naturally, it’s still not over until some lady sings, but the show jumping would need to be absolutely disastrous tomorrow for the leaders to release their vice grip on the standings.

Tim Price and Wesko. Photo by Rare Air Photography.

Tim Price and Wesko. Photo by Rare Air Photography.

Team USA is still holding their own in second place, and will remain there barring, again, an all out disaster tomorrow. The U.S. team consisting of Colleen Rutledge and Shiraz, Holly Payne and Never Outfoxed, Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda, and Allie Knowles and Sound Prospect, are currently on a cumulative score of 225.2. Allie Knowles is the drop score, having retired “Sounder” on course.

Unfortunately, things are looking a bit bleaker for teams Great Britain and Canada, who are sitting on scores in the four digits after an unlucky day today. Team Great Britain is in third place on a total score of 1103.7 with one Rider Fall on their scorecard; Zara Phillips was already their drop score after she withdrew yesterday.

We’re already looking forward to tomorrow’s final horse inspection and show jumping as we wrap up yet another amazing year at Rolex. Who will be crowned the Dubarry Nations Team Challenge winner? All eyes will be on the European team as they look to seal the deal once and for all. Stay tuned!

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Catch Up on the Latest ‘Shahannigans’ from Cross Country Day

Somehow poor Michael Pollard got wrangled into the Sinead & Hannah Rolex after show on the USEF Network this evening, which is set in the Alltech Arena where the reiners are practicing for the evening’s festivities.

The “Shehannigans” are up to their usual antics, humorously commenting on the day’s activities — including Michael Jung’s one second over the optimum time that he’s likely still kicking himself over tonight.

If you need to catch up on the previous episodes of the Sinead & Hannah show, click here for episode one and here for episode two. Many thanks to Sinead, Hannah, the USEF Network, and all of the celeb guests who have made cameos.

We can’t wait for the final edition!

Memorable Quotes from the Rolex Cross Country Day Press Conference

Derek di Grazia, Michael Jung and Tim Price in the press conference. Photo by Jenni Autry. Derek di Grazia, Michael Jung and Tim Price in the press conference. Photo by Jenni Autry.

It was a full press conference this afternoon at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, with not only Tim Price and Michael Jung in attendance but also Will Coleman, recipient of the Land Rover Optimum Time award, as well as course designer Derek di Grazia.

Especially given the conditions today, I think we were all on the edge of our seat holding our breaths while the competitors started off on the course. As the day went on and the footing deteriorated, tensions were high but we’re pleased that everyone is back in the barns safe and in one piece.

This is a huge testament to the skill with which Derek di Grazia designed this course, which has received praise all weekend from riders and spectators alike.

“I think that yesterday we were obviously worried about the weather … finishing before the thunderstorms was something we were concerned with,” Derek said. “At the same time, I think once we started the day, it was great having the first horse out go around clear inside the time — that always makes you feel good. We had some great rides, and it was a really good day for the sport I believe.”

The top riders echoed Derek’s sentiments, acknowledging the conditions but quick to compliment the maintenance of the footing and the way their respective horses handled it.

The ground was not very bad, not very deep,” Michael said. “It was going to be a track of riding well and using your intuition, and a great job was done with all the takeoffs and landings so it felt very safe and secure. I trusted (Sam) and just tried to give him a good trip between the fences and take each fence as it came.

How about that one second over the time for Michael and Sam — was he upset? “No … yeah, ok, maybe a little,” he quipped. “But I’m very happy with my round because Sam had a longer break last year — the last competition was in Aachen last year and this was the first very big competition and he gave me a very good feeling. He’s 15 years old now, but you feel like he’s a young man; he’s very strong and galloped very easy so I’m very happy.”

Tim Price, who now holds the lead by the skin of his teeth on Wesko, said he was also pleased with how his day went, despite being held on course at length. “Basically I had to throw away the plan that I had in mind to stay very close to the optimum time and just focus on being good on the time. It was the best I could do in the situation, just try to use the break, you just have to make with what you’ve got.

Will Coleman will take home a 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport for 24 months thanks to his ride aboard OBOS O’Reilly being the closest to the optimum time. What are his plans for his shiny new ride? “I’ll probably get to look at it here, but I think my wife (Katie Coleman) will probably get to drive it. I’ll be lucky if I get to sit in it!”

It’s worth noting that this is OBOS O’Reilly’s first CCI4*, and Will said he wasn’t entirely sure how the 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Four Star Eventing Group would handle it. His concerns are surely put at ease tonight, and we hope Will is celebrating a successful run around a very tough track this evening.

Stay tuned for much more from Rolex!

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Friday Night’s ‘Shahannigans Show’ is More Ridiculous Than Ever

If you missed out on the “Sinead and Hannah Show” presented by the USEF Network last night, you’ll definitely want to step back and catch up here. Trust us, it’s one of the funniest things we’ve seen since, well, ever.

In tonight’s Rolex after-show, hosts Sinead Halpin and Hannah Sue Burnett face off in miniature Land Rovers — evidently no one will let Sinead have a real car due to some questionable driving skills.

You’ll want to take 10 minutes out of your day to watch this edition, which features cameos from Jacquie Brooks and Kyle Carter. Thanks to the USEF Network for such a funny after-show idea!

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Mixed Bag European Team Takes Charge of Dubarry Nations Team Challenge

Tim Price and Wesko. Photo by Jenni Autry. Tim Price and Wesko. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The Dubarry Nations Team Challenge teams were named on Wednesday evening, and it’s not a huge surprise that the mixed bag European team consisting of an Irish, German, Australian, and New Zealand rider currently holds the top spot in the standings.

The mixed team was made for countries which had sent less than a full team to Rolex this year. Therefore, Michael Jung and Sam, Tim Price and Wesko, Bill Levett and Improvise and Austin O’Connor and Balham Houdini are all on the winning team tonight, with Austin’s 58.0 the current drop score.

Oozing with talent and winning patterns, this team currently stands on a cumulative penalty score of 121.2 after dropping Austin’s score. This puts them well into the lead over Team Great Britain, who sits on a 136.9.

William Fox-Pitt and Bay My Hero. Photo by Jenni Autry.

William Fox-Pitt and Bay My Hero. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Team Great Britain consists of William Fox-Pitt with Bay My Hero, Nicola Wilson and Annie Clover, James Alliston and Tivoli, and Zara Phillips and High Kingdom, who will be the automatic dropped score due to their unfortunate withdrawal.

Great Britain is in a great position with three very solid cross country riders poised to tackle Derek di Grazia’s course tomorrow. Naturally, we’ll have to wait and see what the weather looks like, but with $20,000 on the line you can expect to see some competitive gleam in these riders’ eyes.

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Kasey Mueller.

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda. Photo by Kasey Mueller.

In third place after dressage is Team USA, with members Jennie Brannigan (Cambalda), Allie Knowles (Sound Prospect), Colleen Rutledge (Shiraz), and Holly Payne (Never OutFoxed) all putting in solid efforts for a team score of 159.9 after dropping Holly’s score of 63.4.

Fourth placed Team Canada is not made up of slouches either. Jessie Phoenix anchors this team with her veteran partner, Pavarotti, along with Rolex Rookie Cody Sturgess and Imperial Melody, Rachel McDonough and Irish Rhythm, and Jessie’s second ride, A Little Romance.

Jessica Phoenix and A Little Romance. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jessica Phoenix and A Little Romance. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Canada will take a team score of 165.7, with A Little Romance’s score dropped, into cross country tomorrow. As we all know by now, this will certainly not be a dressage competition, so it’s still anyone’s game at this point.

Stay tuned for more updates on the Dubarry Nations Team Challenge, as well as our Rolex Fantasy League, also presented by Dubarry. The scores for the Fantasy League are updating as we speak, so we’ll get a clear look at our early leaders tomorrow morning.

Go Rolex, and Go Dubarry!

 

Rolex Riders Comment on Derek di Grazia’s Cross Country Course

William Fox-Pitt gives Liz Halliday-Sharp some pointers. Photo by Sally Spickard. William Fox-Pitt gives Liz Halliday-Sharp some pointers. Photo by Sally Spickard.

With the questionable weather forecast for tomorrow looming and a formidable track set by course designer Derek di Grazia, there is plenty of buzz around the grounds today about how tomorrow’s cross country will pan out.

Weather aside, the track poses several big questions to riders — the general opinion remains that they are all fair courses, but that this will surely not be a dressage competition.

We took the opportunity to get some comments on a few of the bigger questions of course from some Rolex riders who are either competing this weekend or who have competed here in the past.

William Fox-Pitt gave us some insight on his plans for the course this afternoon after his dressage ride, walking with Liz Halliday-Sharp and giving her pointers along the way. William stopped at fence 4ABC, which is the first combination on course. It’s a new question this year, and it is quite imposing from the ground.

The perennial crowd favorite question, the Rolex Head of the Lake, has been changed around this year, and the biggest challenge of this edition is the very, very skinny chevron at fence 14 that awaits riders coming through the water.

Hawley Bennett-Awad and Jen McFall demonstrate how narrow the chevron is. You can barely see it on either side of them! Photo by Sally Spickard.

Hawley Bennett-Awad and Jen McFall demonstrate how narrow the chevron is. You can barely see it on either side of them! Photo by Sally Spickard.

We caught up with Hawley Bennett-Awad and Jen McFall at the Head of the Lake, where they provided commentary on the water complex as well as how seriously the riders should be taking the chevron:

Hawley made an interesting comment on the skinny chevron, saying that if it were her she would ride it at a bit more of an angle to give the horse more of a front to read. In speaking with other riders, it seems this may be a plan for many as they think on how to approach this question. The option at the Head of the Lake is very time consuming, so we don’t anticipate seeing many people opt for that route.

The Head of the Lake is most certainly not the only question that riders should be sitting up and taking notes on — of course, this is Rolex, so an “easy” question is not what you’ll find here.

Riding for Ireland, Tim Bourke is back for his second go at Rolex with Luckaun Quality. Tim and his wife, Marley Stone, recently moved into a farm of their own in Virginia and are busy building a training business. Tim is a longtime student of Sharon White’s, and he’s thrilled to be striking out on his own with his business.

Tim kindly took a few minutes to chat at the Water Park, which is set to be towards the end of the course this year as opposed to in the beginning like last year.

This question caught a lot of riders out at the C element last year, and while it’s been repositioned the related distances will still require accuracy, which will be even more challenging at this stage of the course.

Many thanks to William, Hawley, Jen and Tim for providing their commentary on the course this year. With cross country starting and ending earlier than usual tomorrow, it’s going to be a very exciting and interesting day. Stay tuned for much more from Rolex!

Elisa Wallace Reflects on Her Rolex Rookie Weekend

Elisa Wallace and Simply Priceless. Photo by Jenni Autry. Elisa Wallace and Simply Priceless. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Elisa Wallace laid down the test to remember yesterday in her first Rolex dressage test aboard Jill and David Hopcroft’s Simply Priceless. Ever the perfectionist, Elisa noted a couple of things that she felt could have been better, but she still had a big grin on her face this morning after realizing yesterday’s events were not just a dream.

Elisa is keeping busy this weekend, squeezing in demonstrations with her popular mustangs during the day. She said she’s grateful to have the “release,” though, as it gives her time to step away from the pressure that accompanies competing at Rolex.

Elisa Wallace during her mustang demo this afternoon. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Elisa Wallace during her mustang demo this afternoon. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Timothy, Elisa’s husband, has been blogging each day over on the Wallace Eventing blog, which you can catch up on here. They’ve also been utilizing the services of SoloShot, a new self-following camera system, so be on the lookout for that footage on the blog.

Many thanks to Elisa for taking the time to chat with us this morning, and we wish her the best of luck out on cross country tomorrow.

Win a Prize Pack from Absorbine in Today’s #RK3DE Instagram Challenge

The selfie toaster is a thing, and it is a form of #RolexEatsandDrinks after all... The selfie toaster is a thing, and it is a form of #RolexEatsandDrinks after all...

We hope you enjoyed our first Instagram daily challenge yesterday! We had some really great submissions, and we’re expecting many more today. Keep an eye out here and on our Instagram page for the daily themes and prize opportunities while we’re at Rolex.

Today, we’re issuing a challenge to all of you Rolex attendees for a chance to win a prize back from another of our great sponsors, Absorbine! Here’s what’s on the line:

ShowSheen 32 oz
Absorbine Botanicals Body Rinse Concentrate
Magic Cushion 2lb
Bigeloil Poultice Leg Wraps
UltraShield Sport 32 oz
UltraShield Green 32 oz
An OTTB Absorbine Shirt

So what do you need to do? Here’s the scoop:

Today’s hashtag is #RolexEatsandDrinks so to enter simply snap a photo of one of the many food or drink options here at Rolex Kentucky and tag @showsheen in your entry.

As with yesterday, you must be in attendance here at Rolex to enter, and entries are due at 6 p.m. EST tonight. We’ll select the winner this evening.

Good luck and get to ‘gramming!

 

Dubarry of Ireland Nations Team Challenge Teams Announced

Jessica Phoenix and A Little Romance. Photo by Jenni Autry. Jessica Phoenix and A Little Romance. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The pressure is on for Team USA in the second edition of the Dubarry of Ireland Nations Team Challenge at Rolex Kentucky this year. With a total of $20,000 in prize money on the line, four teams representing their respective nations will duke it out in true team-style to achieve the lowest cumulative score at the end of the day on Sunday.

At Wednesday’s welcome party, held at Spindletop Hall, the team members were selected at random — an element organizers felt added a new twist on a traditional team setting. The idea was to have a more mixed bag of competitors, potentially putting a relatively green horse or rider on a team with a seasoned veteran.

Here’s a breakdown of the teams as they were announced yesterday:

Team USA

Holly Payne on Never Outfoxed
Alexandra Knowles on Sound Prospect
Colleen Rutledge on Shiraz
Jennie Brannigan on Cambalda

Team Canada

Jessica Phoenix on Pavarotti
Rachel McDonough on Irish Rhythm
Cody Sturgess on Imperial Melody
Jessica Phoenix on A Little Romance

Team Great Britain

Nicola Wilson on Annie Clover
James Alliston on Tivoli
William Fox-Pitt on Bay My Hero
Zara Phillips on High Kingdom

Team Ireland/Germany/New Zealand/Australia

Ireland: Austin O’Connor on Balham Houdini
Germany: Michael Jung on La Biosthetique- Sam FBW
New Zealand: Tim Price- Wesko
Australia: Bill Levett on Improvise

We are also running a Rolex Fantasy League in conjunction with this year’s Dubarry of Ireland Team Challenge, so stay tuned for the first score update from both challenges later on today after dressage concludes.

The winner of our first-ever Rolex Fantasy League will win a “Toe to Head” outfit of their choice from our very generous sponsor, Dubarry.

Best of luck to all Nations Team Challenge competitors! We’ll be bringing you much more from this competition, so keep checking back!

Rolex On the Sidelines: Thursday Afternoon Dressage

Julie Norman returns from the dressage ring.  Photo by Sally Spickard. Julie Norman returns from the dressage ring. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Once again, there was plenty of drool-worthy horseflesh on display this afternoon at the dressage arena. As the afternoon riders took their turns in the sandbox, we saw some more proud moments as riders entered and left the chute leading to the big arena.

I always enjoy watching the grooms work quickly and efficiently to get their charges back to the barns after their rides; horse welfare is definitely at the forefront of their minds, and we applaud each and every hard working groom this weekend!

The dressage warm-up was, as always, bustling with action as riders were pulled away for interviews and autographs after their rides. Family and friends gathered close to be the first to congratulate their loved ones, and there was a lot of emotion buzzing around the warm-up.

I’d like to once again thank all of the volunteers and officials who kept the warm-up and chute running smoothly. It was a lovely day to be watching from the sidelines, and I’m sure everyone is very appreciative of the hard work that goes into pulling an event of this magnitude off.

You can catch up on my other On the Sidelines galleries here:

First Horse Inspection

Thursday Morning Dressage

Go Rolex!

Sights and Sounds from Rolex Dressage Day One

Our top American after day one of dressage. Photo by Sally Spickard. Our top American after day one of dressage. Photo by Sally Spickard.

We had a chance to catch up with a few of the riders competing here at Rolex Kentucky this weekend, and the overall attitude is quiet confidence with the dreary weather forecast for Saturday in the back of their minds.

We’ll be bringing you more analysis of the cross country course in the coming days, and the general opinion of the riders is that is a very fair test for the horses. Derek di Grazia does a wonderful job of asking the horses questions that they understand while still being able to separate the cream from the crop.

Jordan Linstedt was one of the riders whom we caught up with today, and she’s very cheerful to be back in Kentucky after making her debut in 2012 with Tullibard’s Hawkwind. You may remember the very classy ride Jordan gave “Jack” around Rolex that year, coming home with 79.2 time penalties after Jordan made sure he was safe and confident throughout the course.

Now, Jordan is back with RevitaVet Capato, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding. Capato has been here before, as Tullibard Hawkwind’s travel buddy in 2012, but now he’s getting the chance to show everyone what he’s made of this weekend

Check out Jordan’s thoughts on the weekend — one of her goals is to go a bit faster than her last time out! — in our video interview below. Please excuse any wind interference, it’s still quite blustery here today!

It’s been a lovely day of dressage here at Kentucky Horse Park, and everyone is in high spirits. We’ll have more candid shots posted later from the dressage warm-up, which is always a great place to see the last minute preparations and pep talks, as well as the celebration after a good test.

A.P. Prime is relieved to have dressage over with. Photo by Sally Spickard.

A.P. Prime is relieved to have dressage over with. Photo by Sally Spickard.

One of the Rolex Rookies this year, Leah Lang-Gluscic, rode her first CCI4* test earlier this afternoon, and while her OTTB, A.P. Prime, was quite tense in her test she is still please with how he handled himself. “He’s happy he doesn’t have to do anymore dressage for the next few weeks!” Leah laughed.

We also caught up with Kate Chadderton, who is returning to Rolex this year with Regis Dvorsky’s Collection Pass, a 13-year-old OTTB gelding. Kate made her Rolex debut last year, but her weekend was ended prematurely when they parted ways at the Ditch Bursh on cross country. She kindly chatted with us to tell us how “Cole” is settling in and what her plan of attack is this weekend:

Bobby Meyerhoff was all smiles after his test with Dunlavin’s Token today, although we’re sure a big part of that smile was due to the fact that he didn’t lose his top hat this weekend! You may remember that Bobby’s top hat flew off in the middle of his debut Rolex dressage test last year. We’re happy to see he’s subscribed to the #mindyourmelon lifestyle this weekend.

Bobby and Danica Meyerhoff. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Bobby and Danica Meyerhoff. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Bobby and his wife, Danica, are in the process of relocating back to the East Coast after spending the last few months in California. They’ll be based in North Carolina after Rolex, but naturally they don’t mind making the pit stop in Kentucky for Bobby to go for his first Rolex completion after parting ways from “Token” late in the course in 2014.

We’ll have much more from today’s dressage, including a full press conference report, coming shortly. Stay tuned for more!

Go Rolex.

 

Rolex on the Sidelines: Thursday Morning Dressage

Down the chute! Photo by Sally Spickard. Down the chute! Photo by Sally Spickard.

The morning session of dressage has come to a close here at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, and we’ve already seen some fantastic rides from the early riders. There are so many more great horses and riders yet to go, but Michael Jung has set the bar low — on the horse who is getting less attention that her stablemate, no less!

Lainey Ashker made her mark in the sandbox today in a triumphant beginning to her return to Rolex. It was heartwarming to see her greet her mother and family after her test in an emotional moment where every heartbreak and setback was worth it.

Lainey took a few minutes to give some interviews and sign some autographs before heading back to give Anthony Patch a good grooming with a pitchfork, as he prefers.

Standing at the chute is always one of my favorite places to be during Rolex. The game faces, the nerves, the raw emotion when you’re entering that magnificent stadium — it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. I can’t even imagine what the riders feel, no matter if it’s their first time or their tenth.

I’ll be wandering about this afternoon, so stay tuned for many more “off-camera” moments right here on EN.

Check out my other On the Sidelines galleries:

First Horse Inspection

Go Rolex.

Submit Your Instagram Photos to Win Each Day at #RK3DE15!

Chinch wants YOU to enter our Instagram Daily Challenge! Chinch wants YOU to enter our Instagram Daily Challenge!

We’re officially in the middle of Rolex Contest Week here at Rolex Kentucky! In honor of how many spectators we know will be coming through the doors this weekend, we’re introducing a brand new Instagram photo challenge!

Each day, we’ll be announcing a new theme and hashtag to use on Instagram to enter the daily challenge. We’ll have some great prizes from sponsors on the line for a randomly selected winner, and you may submit multiple photos as long as they are done separately (i.e., not a collage).

Today, on the first day of dressage, we’ve teamed up with Total Saddle Fit to giveaway a Shoulder Relief Dressage Girth — one of the most innovative and popular girths out there today. So, what do you need to do?

Simply use the hashtag #TotalFancyPrancing and tag @goeventing in your photo for today’s theme: “Fancy Prancing.” Snap a photo of a dressage rider showing off their moves, of your friends doing their best impersonation of their favorite horse, or anything else that may fall into the “Fancy Prancing” category!

Upload your photo to Instagram and check back here as well as on our Instagram page for the winner announcement later this evening. Submissions are due by 6 p.m. EST today.

Good luck, and Go Rolex!

First Look at the Rolex Kentucky Cross Country Course

Here’s your first look at Derek di Grazia’s cross country course at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. We’ll have much more analysis on the fences and commentary from the riders to bring you in the coming days, so keep checking back for more details on the course. Let us know what you think in the comments!

Go Eventing.

Rolex On the Sidelines: First Horse Inspection

Rachel McDonough and Irish Rhythm share a moment before jogging. Photo by Sally Spickard. Rachel McDonough and Irish Rhythm share a moment before jogging. Photo by Sally Spickard.

One of my favorite parts of attending any event is getting a look at horses and riders when they aren’t in the ring. For that reason, I plan to capture as many “off-camera” moments as I can this weekend at Rolex, and I started with the First Horse Inspection this afternoon.

The fashion was out in force this afternoon, and the initial cloudy skies and cold temperatures blessedly gave way to sunshine and (slightly) warmer temperatures just in time for the jog. It was still blustery, so the horses were definitely on their toes with anticipation — and the sight of the cross country course certainly did no favors.

Most of the horses were well-behaved while waiting their turn to jog, although a choice few decided to make their disdain for the formality clearly known. Bay My Hero was the first horse to act up, standing up just before William Fox-Pitt entered the strip.

William dealt with “Moonie’s” antics well, asking the photographers who were clicking away if anyone had captured the tantrum. With a thumbs up and a grin, he headed into the jog strip, where Moonie again chose not to cooperate — fortunately he was accepted, so his antics were a write-off for a successful first step.

The riders all looked fantastic today, wearing big smiles and high fashion. It’s always incredible to see the hard work the grooms have put into the care of these top-notch horses, and events such as these are truly the time for all of that hard work to come to a head.

Thank you to all of the grooms, riders, owners, officials, volunteers, and of course the throngs of adoring fans who came out to see the first glimpses of the pairs who will be competing this year.

Let’s get this weekend started! Go Eventing.

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Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Meet the Rolex Outriders

Each year at Rolex, there are more than just the horses competing out on the cross country course. Other horses and their riders stand at attention and survey the course, on call to step in and help if needed. Spectators ask them questions about their horses, and their formal attire adds a traditional and classy element to a day already ripe with history.

We’re talking about the Outriders at Rolex — volunteers who bring their horses to help out on cross country day should a horse get loose. Horses and riders from every walk of life are on hand tot take in the sights, all decked out in their Sunday best, and they’re a part of cross country day we look forward to each year.

Check out this awesome video from Romig Video Service featuring the Outriders from 2014 — you may even see some familiar faces! These smiling folks (and their horses!) are a huge hit at Rolex each year, and we’d like to take a moment to thank each and every one of them, as well as the multitudes of volunteers that keep this event running smoothly.

Go Rolex!

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4th Annual Rolex Top Dog Contest Presented by World Equestrian Brands

Last year's top dog, Jesse, celebrating Ellen Doughty-Hume's wedding. Photo from Summer Rhone and Angie Mitchell. Last year's top dog, Jesse, celebrating Ellen Doughty-Hume's wedding. Photo from Summer Rhone and Angie Mitchell.

Keep your children on a leash and your dogs in focus!

Sniffing, wagging, splashing, napping – and hopefully not chasing Buck Davidson – the pooches will be on parade at Rolex this year. Capture one with your camera and you could win a fabulous Mattes Gold Half Pad with Rear Trim from our generous, animal-loving friends at World Equestrian Brands in the always popular Fourth Annual WEB Rolex Top Dog Contest.

Here are a couple faves from last year to help you hone in on the hounds:

Kaylen Moon’s Tucker ponders his options at Head of the Lake.

Kaylen Moon’s Tucker ponders his options at Head of the Lake.

Stephanie Sills’ Aiken stray smiles almost as big as Libby Head as he clears the corner.

Stephanie Sills’ Aiken stray smiles almost as big as Libby Head as he clears the corner.

The winning photo will receive a Mattes Gold Half Pad with Rear Trim from our awesome sponsor, World Equestrian Brands. The Gold Half Pad features wool panels and sheepskin trim. The wool for the panels is a high loft, dense 1 1/4″  long wool on fabric backing.

The Mattes Gold Half Pad with Rear Trim that is up for grabs this weekend.

The Mattes Gold Half Pad with Rear Trim that is up for grabs this weekend.

Mattes pads are well-known for their functionality as well as their sophisticated look — you and your horse will be riding in high style with this addition to your tack closet!

Contest Details:

Send your puppy pic to en.contest@gmail.com with the subject line “Top Dog.”

One entry per person.

Deadline: Monday, April 27, 5 PM ES

Tuesday Video from SpectraVET: Get a Look at Cruising’s Clones

The news broke earlier this year that the famous Irish stallion, Cruising, had been successfully cloned. We’re now able to get a more in-depth look at the two young stallions, who have been made available for breeding this year.

Mary McCann spoke candidly about her decision to clone her stallion and how the process worked. The plan, of course, was to have one successful clone, but she found herself in the fortunate situation of having two healthy clones.

“They both have different characteristics of Cruising,” she said. “I hope to God they don’t buck as many people off as he did … they definitely have a lot of similarities.”

Mary recalled the process of keeping the secret of the two clones, Cruising Arish and Cruising Encore, and how she found it easier than she’d expected to keep the news of the clones hidden.

It’s fascinating to hear Mary talk about the young stallions, who won’t start jumping until they’re “properly three” later this year but will be selectively bred to quality mares.

Be sure to check out this fascinating video of Mary’s interview about her two clones — definitely exciting times for the Irish Sport Horse!

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Monday Video from Tredstep Ireland: Lauren Kieffer Rocks Rolex

What better way to get excited for this year’s edition of Rolex Kentucky than to revisit our reigning USEF National Champion’s super show jumping round? Thanks to the USEF Network’s archives, we can relive each jump from Tredstep Ireland rider Lauren Kieffer and Veronica as they jumped double clear for second place overall.

This year, Lauren and Veronica will make their return to the Bluegrass State, and the EN team almost unanimously picked them to repeat — and even improve! — on their performance from last year. We’re excited to see how this weekend unfolds for this pair.

Want to make Rolex weekend special for someone else? Be sure to check out our Tredstep Ireland Solo Makeover Instagram Contest for details!

 

Make a Friend’s Rolex Trip Special! Nominate Them to Win a Tredstep Solo Makeover

The new Tredstep Solo Collection is here! Photo courtesy of Tredstep Ireland. The new Tredstep Solo Collection is here! Photo courtesy of Tredstep Ireland.

Happy Rolex week, EN! With eventing season kicking off in earnest around the country, we thought it might be a good time to launch a contest to revamp someone’s show wardrobe — and what better way than to introduce our first ever Instagram contest?

Thanks to our generous sponsor Tredstep Ireland, we’ll be giving away an entire show outfit from the new Solo Collection. From the beautifully designed Solo Competition Shirt to the innovative and creative Solo Classic Show Coat, one lucky EN reader will be dressed to impress this year in the show ring.

Here’s the twist: We want you to nominate a friend who is going to Rolex this week that you think deserves this Tredstep Ireland makeover. We want to make their Rolex trip even more special, and what better way than with a total Tredstep makeover?

We want to know their story and why you feel they deserve this makeover. Are they attending their first ever Rolex? Are they gearing up to return to the show ring after a long hiatus? Could they use an extra boost this year? We want to hear all about it!

Tredstep Ireland will be providing the winner with a Solo Pro Show Coat, Solo Competition Shirt and Solo Competition Breeches. Pretty fantastic, right? Here’s what you need to do to help your friend win this makeover.

How do I nominate someone?

1. Post a photo of your friend on Instagram (no watermarked or professional photos that you don’t own, please!)

2. Tag your friend in the photo

3. Tag EN’s Instagram at @goeventing

4. Explain why your friend deserves to to win the makeover in the photo caption

5. Use the hashtag #TredstepSoloMakeover

You may nominate as many friends as you’d like; just make a new post on Instagram for each one. And remember, your friend must be going to Rolex this week in order to be nominated!

When is the deadline to submit my nomination?

Entries are due on Sunday, April 26 at midnight EST.

How will we determine the winner?

We’ll be selecting finalists to put to a reader vote in order to determine the winner. Those finalists will be posted the week of April 27 right here on EN.

Stay tuned for a full review of the new Tredstep Solo collection, and be sure to check out Tredstep Ireland’s website to browse all the products in this new collection by clicking the banner below.

Good luck, and Go Tredstep!

EN’s Annual Rolex Pick ‘Em Contest, Presented by Omega Alpha

Take your best guess! Take your best guess!

It’s Monday of Rolex week, and you know what that means! It’s almost time to see the riders’ jog outfits and decide who made the best dressed list EN’s Contest Week!

We’re starting off Contest Week with our annual Pick ‘Em Contest brought to you by Omega Alpha. So we challenge you, dear readers, to pick the winner of Rolex.

Get your calculators, Excel spreadsheets, FEI rider rankings, your Magic-8 Ball, your lucky T-shirt, maybe say some “Hail Mary Kings” and attempt to predict who will walk away with that coveted Rolex watch come Sunday.

Here’s how you play: Give us the name of the horse/rider combination you think will win and their overall score. As a tiebreaker, include your guess for who will finish 2nd (score not required).

The contest entry with the correct horse/rider, closest score (and correct runner-up, if necessary) will win a prize package from Omega Alpha, worth at least $150! 

While at Rolex, make sure to stop by Booth 172 in the Trade Fair to say hi to the good people of Omega Alpha.

Please email your entries to en.contest@gmail.com with “Pick ‘Em” in the title. Contest closes Thursday at 8 a.m. EST before the first horse completes dressage. Entries are only open to readers in the U.S. and Canada.

Here’s the entry list to get your juices flowing, and you can check out EN’s team picks here. Stay tuned for Maggie Deatrick’s predictions and analysis for the entire top 15!