The Equine Scholars Program attended the 2013 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park this April. Rolex is always one of our favorite events, as the excitement in the air is like none other, and the event draws top level riders from all over the world. Nowhere else in North America can somebody watch a four star three-day event. Not only is it the only one in the western hemisphere, but it is only one of three, four-star events in the world!
As with all eventing competitions, competitors at Rolex must ride and compete in three separate disciplines: dressage, cross country, and stadium jumping. Riders must compete in all three areas on the same horse, which shows the incredible athleticism these horses and equestrians have! The most popular, and most crowded day, is cross country. Here riders must gallop their horses over a six+ mile course, navigating jumps that will make your heart pound. While watching the course spectators can get up close and personal with these jumps. There is nothing more humbling than standing feet away from a jump that is larger than you! While this sport is not without risks (as are all equestrian sports!), every effort has been made to ensure the safety of both horse and rider. The use of dense foam (made to look like logs) and break away pins, have cut down the number of injuries. This year there were no injuries sustained by horses or riders.
And what could be better than watching Rolex? Volunteering and being part of the magic that happens here every April! This year Scholars helped out various organizations to make sure the event ran as smooth as possible. We did everything from helping the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation driving golf carts around and shuttling spectators and riders around the park, to ushering people during the dressage competition. Several Scholars helped work the information tent and others helped work our booth in the trade fair. Planning Rolex is a year long commitment and two Scholars were lucky enough to have internships with Equestrian Events, Inc. (EEI) who runs Rolex!
In addition volunteering, interning, and watching the competition, Scholars were able to attend a course walk with Olympic Medalist and Rolex competitor, Boyd Martin. We even got our picture taken with him! Thanks Boyd!
We had a blast at the 2013 Rolex and can’t wait to attend next year! If you will be attending the 2014 Rolex, we hope you can stop by our booth in the trade show pavilion and say hello.