Rolex Rookies: Lizzie Snow and Coal Creek

Welcome to our second annual Rolex Rookies series! We're thrilled to be profiling the new faces on the entry list for Rolex this year, and we couldn't be more excited for these riders taking their first crack at Kentucky. We'll be bringing you exclusive profiles on each Rookie pair, so keep checking back to learn more about the competitors you'll see in Kentucky this year. Go Rolex!

Lizzie Snow and Coal Creek at Bromont. Photo by Jenni Autry. Lizzie Snow and Coal Creek at Bromont. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lizzie Snow has had big plans for her and her black OTTB, Coal Creek, in 2015. Those big goals have always included a CCI4* debut in Kentucky, but it wasn’t until 2014 when that goal became to seem like a reality.

“I think (Rolex) has always been in the back of my mind,” she said. “But I’d say after last year it actually became possible. I’ve always wanted to go, but the past year I think we’ve really solidified our partnership and made the idea worth entertaining.”

It hasn’t always been an easy ride for Lizzie, who acquired the ride on Coal Creek in 2011. Campaigned through the CCI3* level by Amy Tryon, “Devon” became Lizzie’s new ride thanks to the generosity of his owner Kathryn Rosson, who made half of the horse available for purchase to Lizzie and her mother, Diane.

Lizzie commented in her Eventing 25 interview that Devon had taught her to ride, teaching her patience and giving her invaluable experience that she would need to compete at the top levels.

“I think he’s changed quite a bit since I got him,” Lizzie said. “He was so strong; he ran away with me at Young Riders (in 2011), and he tends to be more strong at different venues. I figured out how to ride him in the three-star at Carolina, where he’s usually very strong.”

I’ve figured out how to deal with how strong he is, especially on a course like Carolina where there are a lot of turns. I’ve had to just let him go in between fences and learn how to get him back. Carolina is very twisty and turning and I think that type of course is harder for him.”

Lizzie Snow and Coal Creek.  Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Lizzie Snow and Coal Creek at Bromont. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

Lizzie and Devon, who will be 16 this year, placed third in the CCI3* at Bromont last year and re-routed to the CCI3* at Galway Downs after retiring at Fair Hill in the fall. Having ridden a good amount of tracks designed by Derek di Grazia, Lizzie is feeling confident that she’s as prepared as she can be for Rolex.

“I think that we’ve been running at the Advanced level and gotten our partnership strong enough to where I am comfortable with the step up,” Lizzie elaborated. “Of course, whenever I walk the course for the first time (at Rolex), I’m sure I’ll change my mind!”

Lizzie is hoping to add Kentucky to the list of venues that Devon seems to prefer. “We’ve had a string of bad luck at Fair Hill — we’ve never gotten around there,” Lizzie said. “But he isn’t too strong there, so I’m not sure what it is. He’s run well at Pine Top and The Fork, and he’s very strong at Carolina. I do feel the bigger, more open courses suit him, such as Bromont and Galway, so I think that bodes well for Kentucky. I think he prefers the bigger galloping stretches because then I am not on him all the time to adjust.”

Lizzie ran the Intermediate at The Fork over the weekend as her final prep, with the intent to be to go slow and have a solid fitness run leading up to Kentucky, where they finished fourth, logging 13.6 time penalties to add to their dressage score.

As Rolex approaches, Lizzie says she is the most nervous about the dressage. “He can be really good, or something will set him off and he’ll bolt and take off,” she said. “I’m just hoping to get his brain in the right place and not have him look up and see the crowd!”

Lizzie knows she has a lot to be grateful for as her longtime goal finally approaches fulfillment. “At the moment, I’m not feeling too bad — I’m sure that will change, though. I am really excited to go and get around, and I think it’s the next logical step for us.”

Best of luck to Lizzie and Devon as the days continue to count down to their Rolex debut!