Ask the Expert: Your #1 Source for Terrible Eventing Advice – Rolex edition

Some readers may vaguely recall that I used to write a column for EN called “Ask the Expert.” Not because I’m an expert at anything, but because I’m highly skilled at deluding people into believing that I know what I’m talking about. This letter from reader Brittany arrived in the mailbag earlier this week and Visionaire sent it my way.


Dear EN,

I love your site — thank you so much for all you do!

My non-horsey husband surprised me with a trip to Rolex this year — I cannot wait.

I was wondering if you guys could do a post on first-timer tips to a great time at Rolex. Like best ways to view cross country, any course walks available, etc. Especially if there are also tips to keeping the husband happy and interested (he loves the jumping but dressage will be tough :-D)!

Thanks in advance. I cannot wait!



Dear Brittany,

Your husband surprised you with tickets to Rolex? Score.

My first piece of advice: NOW is the time to go heavy on the positive reinforcement in order to plant the seeds for future “surprises” (think romantic getaway to Normandy in 2014 or Rio in 2016). Training a husband is just like training a horse: When he exhibits good behavior — helping with barn chores, acting interested when you rehash the details of your dressage lesson, etc. — be sure to reward him generously, if you know what I mean. Most men are super-fast learners. A few months into an effective training program, even the least horse-savvy significant other will be asking questions about shoulder-in and volunteering to rearrange the hay loft.

The training program has a 99% success rate, but occasionally you'll run into an exception. This is a photo of my ex-boyfriend Clint on cross-country morning circa Rolex 2009. We were supposed to drive up together for the weekend, but instead I couldn't get him out of bed and had to go alone. I snapped this photo for a visual reminder that I needed to break up with him when I got home.

On to your upcoming Rolex adventure. So much fun awaits! Keep it locked on EN between now and then for all the latest announcements: We’ll keep you posted on course walks, contests, events and … drumroll … Eventing Nation’s First Annual Reader Appreciation Tailgate Party, featuring FREE BEER! And EN SWAG!! And JOHN IN A DUNKING BOOTH!!!! (I’m still ironing out the details on that last part, but the swag and free beer are definitely happening.) Anyway, lots more on that coming later.

As for keeping your husband “interested and happy,” that’s a slightly trickier issue. Dressage day is the toughest for sure–watching lady eventers bounce around at the sitting trot is mildly entertaining from a male perspective for a while but eventually the appeal will wear off. At which point you are going to casually introduce some nice, stiff alcoholic beverages. Rolex always offers an amazing assortment of fancy signature drinks and let me tell you, it’s never too early to get started — every hour is Happy Hour at Rolex.

Ewww! There's a bug in my Bloody Mary! It's a Rolex disaster!!! Just kidding, I'm still gonna drink it. Photo by Jackson Schrickel at RK3DE 2012.

Another exciting activity for un-horsey boyfriends and spouses at Rolex is the Land Rover test drive obstacle course. There, an assortment of teeter-totter bridges, narrow tunnels and off-road paths to navigate will satisfy his manly urges, and it tends to be a popular hang-out spot for other un-horsey dudes who have been abandoned by their wives/girlfriends/daughters. Shooting the breeze with fellow bros while watching four-wheel-drive vehicles go round and round will buy you some time for other activities, like maxing out his credit card at the trade fair.

EN Tip: Let your husband drink, or let your husband test-drive Land Rovers, but don’t let your husband drink THEN test-drive Land Rovers.

Good luck, Brittany! You’re going to have a blast. Don’t forget to stop by the tailgating party and say hi!

Have a question for the “expert”? Email it to [email protected] 
Editor’s Update: Reader Cheryl sent us a quick note that our friends at COTH have addressed this all-important topic, apparently in their latest print edition, and the article from Molly Sorge is also available online here.  Happy reading!

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments