Social Media Round-Up: The Sunday Showdown at Kentucky

There are few days that match the final day of a CCI5* for high-octane adrenaline, tension, excitement, and every emotional response on the spectrum (except, perhaps, the Saturday of a CCI5*). Today was no less intense even despite the conspicuously absent thousands of fans, who amplify every feeling a hundredfold when they fill the Rolex stadium. We’ve seen it all: from trot-up drama, with the spin of reigning champion Cooley Master Class, who had suffered a small stud wound on yesterday’s course, to showjumping drama, with rails falling left, right, and centre, plus slick saves and unfortunate tumbles. We’ve cried and bellowed and cheered and wailed and here we are, at the end of all things. Let’s take a look back.

The day began with a grey and grizzly final horse inspection:

Despite the tough challenge set on Saturday, many of the horses presented look exceptionally fresh:

And the outfits were, of course, poppin’:

Cooley On Show took a nibble — or five — out of Sharon White:

Shorty got low, low, low, low, low, low, low:

And emotions ran high:

Tamie showed off her lucky charm:

Meanwhile, the busy team on site put a top-class showjumping course together:

The ‘spectators’ went for adventures, including, poignantly, one fan’s late mother:

Meanwhile, everyone else took their seats:

The governor of Kentucky — and brother of eventer Emily — Andy Beshear posed with some volunteers:

The stadium looked very different than usual:

The CCI4*-S got the day kicked off properly:

And Alyssa Phillips was crowned the winner — her first at the level:

And what a four-star to win!

Here’s a few more photos of the action from the first finale of the day:

And an interview with the champion herself:

Then it was time to prepare for the CCI5*. The riders walked — and re-walked — their lines around the tricky track:

And Phillip Dutton gave a teaser of what was yet to come:

The at-home audience got even more diverse:

And the Pony Club was once again out in force to see how far their dreams could one day take them:

There was drama throughout the afternoon, but also triumph:

The wayward wiener supported his favourite rider, Matt Flynn:

And Matt himself chatted with the press after completing a stellar round with Wizzerd:

As did rookie rider Emily Hamel after bouncing around with Corvett:

Kevin McNab and Scuderia 1918 Don Quidam impressed for a top ten finish:

Tim Price bettered his previous result:

Boyd Martin put up a game fight:

It came incredibly close, but only one rider could cross the line as the winner:

A third consecutive win for Oliver Townend means that Ballaghmor Class has now finished in the top five in all six of his CCI5* appearances:

He accepted even more silverware for his collection:

While Boyd Martin once again took the National Champion title:

Jess Errington was awarded the groom’s prize:

Oliver posted an emotional reaction to his page:

And the trophy looked tantalising at the final press conference:

The top four riders couldn’t resist a photo op with EN mascot, Chinch (“can I have your bunny rabbit?” asked Tim Price, plaintively):

EquiRatings put the win in context:

Back at the stables, FE Lifestyle posed with his people:

Palm Crescent investigated his gifts:

AP Prime fobbed off the paparazzi:

Galloway Sunrise showed off his beachy waves:

Jakobi put his special wellies on:

Vermiculus broke all the USPC rules:

And commentator John Kyle bowed out from a busy week of saying ‘Scuderia millenovecentodiciotto Don Quidam’ without a breath:

And so, too, shall we. We can’t wait to relive Kentucky with you over the next hours and days with plenty more content to come — but from me, at least, it’s goodbye to the virtual patch of Bluegrass we’ve all shared this week. Go Eventing.

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