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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