The Road to Rolex...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Well they say the road to Rolex is never easy, apparently that holds true for spectators as well as competitors. Wednesday was my last day at home before we headed down to Kentucky and of course it was busy and I didn't get the nap I hoped for. Carol was nice enough to let me leave early since I hadn't taken a lunch the day before. That part was nice. Of course though I couldn't just go home and go to sleep. I had to make a few stops and pick some things up before the trip. And then I had to go home and finish packing, and take a shower to wash my hair, since I wouldn't have another opportunity for a shower until Thursday night. And I had to and see my Mom before I left. All that adds up to Jennifer not getting any sleep before driving to Kentucky.

Picked up Astrid a little after 11 and then headed to Zelie to pick up Ethan. Got to the barn a little before midnight (agreed upon plans were to leave at midnight) No Bonnie. So I text Bonnie that we are there and head in the barn to say good bye to His Poniness. Heather and Ari pull up, followed by Taryn. And then finally Bonnie shows up. Turns out we have to hay the horses and move hay bales around for Tricia. So by the time we get all that done it's much closer to 1:00 than 12:00 when we actually get on the road. Hop on the turnpike, drive into Ohio, stop for coffee at McDonald's. Get back on the turnpike and promptly get a flat tire. FML! Couldn't find the jack in the CRV, so we used Bonnie's AAA. About an hour and a half later, tire is changed and we can finally get on the road again. We made it to the horse park just in time to get in our seats and see Phillip Dutton's first ride of the weekend. Whew!

We got to see some incredible dressage on Thursday, Phillip Dutton, Boyd Martin, and Becky Holder, among others. It was a long day at the horse park, and after getting no sleep the night before, I'll admit I was a little bit goofy. After Rolex dressage finished up we headed down to Lexington to find the hotel and check in. And lo and behold there was a Fazoli's right next door to the hotel! Awesome! Checked in and headed over to Fazoli's for dinner and then it was back to the horse park for the Kentucky Cup Freestyle Dressage. Oh My God! Was that amazing to watch. The winning pair was Tina Konyot and her horse Calecto V, and they had an amazing ride.

It was late by the time we finally made it back to the hotel, like after 9 and I pretty much just crashed! I was so tired by then and we would have an early morning on Friday.

Friday morning we headed out early to watch the horses gallop at Keeneland. Unfortunately it was raining and just generally yuck, so I didn't want to take the camera out. We watched the horses for a while and then headed back to the hotel for breakfast and then back to the horse park. Since it was still raining and gross, I only stayed in the stands long enough to see the first two horses of the day, Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin. Then Astrid, Ethan and I headed over to the Trade Fair, where we spent most of the day. Unfortunately we ended missing the Kentucky Cup Show Jumping Warm Up class when they moved the time and didn't really announce it at all. We all headed back to the hotel then and well, Taryn and I weren't quite ready to turn in yet. So we headed over to the bar that was attached to the hotel. Ended up having a good time there, drank more than we should have. But it's okay cause we had like 4 different guys buying us drinks. It was a lot of fun, of course though we paid for it the next morning. Not with hangovers but with Bonnie's somewhat snide remarks.

Saturday was cross country day. Woohoo! They were calling for some pretty bad storms Saturday afternoon and evening, so they ended up eliminating the lunch break and sending out horses every 4 minutes rather than every 5. Taryn and I slept in a little bit and didn't head over to the park with the others so we did miss the first few rides of the morning. But that's okay. Got to see a lot of careful riding this year, not the run around at top speed and hope and pray you get over the fence. Laine Asker was back with Anthony Patch (her first time back at Rolex after the terrible fall with Frodo Bagins two years ago) and I was really impressed with her. She took her time and from the few fences I saw she was jumping really well. Good for her that she was able to come back to Rolex and do so well, I'm sure that it wasn't easy for her. Read more about how it felt on her blog.

Laine and Anthony Patch over the Keeper's Brush

Finally, their third year running I managed to see our local eventer Kelly Sult at fences other than the Sheep's Shelter and the Double Diamonds.

Kelly Sult and Hollywood over the Offset Brushes

And then of course the highlight of my day was seeing Boyd Martin on his three horses.

Boyd Martin and Remington XXV over the Dray

At the end of the day William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain held onto his overnight lead with a double clear cross country round.

William Fox-Pitt and Cool Mountain

It was a good thing they shortened up the day because we made it back to our hotel just in the nick of time. We had only been in the room a few minutes when it started pouring down rain. Of course though I still had to go out in. Had to get that pesky tire fixed. So I stopped at the front desk to ask where I can get a tire fixed. The guy there tells me to go to Walmart. Said to make a right out of the parking lot, go about a mile down the road, at the redlight with the liquor store on the right you'll make a left and Walmart will be on the left. So I follow his directions, make the left at the light and I drive for about 10 minutes, no Walmart. Finally I search for Walmart in the GPS, it tells me I have to turn around. Turns out, at the light I should have made a RIGHT turn. Ok, no big, I find Walmart, pull into the parking lot, drive around looking for the service center, don't see one. Of course they don't do tire repair. So I ask the woman at customer service for help, she directs me to a place further down the road. It's closed. Finally I just start searching for Walmarts in the GPS and called them to find out if they have a service center. Find one about 10 miles away so I head there to get the tire fixed. And of course I find out it can't be fixed I have to replace the damn thing. Finally the tire is taken care of and I can head back to the hotel. I get changed quickly and we all pile into the van to head back to the horse park for the Kentucky Cup Show Jumping Grand Prix. Only we get there to find out that it's been canceled because of the weather.

Sunday morning we did get to sleep in a bit. Checked out of the hotel and headed over to the horse park. Since stadium didn't start until noon, we had plenty of time to wander around the horse park and check out the trade fair one last time. Bonnie and I went on a mission to find a nice leather spilt lead shank that we could have a plate with the farm name engraved on. Plus we spent a lot of time drooling over pre-fab stalls and expensive leather saddles. But soon it was time to head back to our seats and get ready for stadium to begin.

After the very first ride (and the competitor in last place) had an easy double clear we began to worry that the stadium course was too easy and it wouldn't be very excited. But then they started dropping rails left and right. Kelly and Hollywood had an unfortunate stop in stadium, but that still moved them up 2 places to finish in 28th.

Kelly and Hollywood

Of course things got really exciting as we headed into the top 20. Lots of great horses and riders up there and it was pretty exciting as falling rails started moving the placings around.

Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch finished in 14th place

Boyd Martin and Rock on Rose finished in 11th place

Phillip Dutton and The Foreman finished in 6th place

Will Faudree and Pawlow finished in 15th place

Boyd Martin and Neville Bardos finished in 4th place

Karen O'Connor and Mandiba finished in 7th place

Phillip Dutton and Woodburn finished in 2nd place!

Becky Holder and Courageous Comet, unfortunately a rail dropped them down to 3rd place

Kim Severson and Tipperary Liadhnan had some problems that dropped them out of the top 20

William Fox-Pitt and Cool Mountain

Cool Mountain finishing a double clear stadium round to win the 2010 Rolex Kentucky

All in an awesome weekend. Of course I was not at all happy to be leaving Kentucky to head back to Pennsylvania. But at least I have the combined test at South Farm to look forward to next weekend!