Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Rolex Recap (photo-heavy)

After years of looking at friends' photos from Rolex, I finally got to take some of my own and experience the fun that went along with them.

In February? March?, Austen asked/volun-told me to go to Rolex. She already had the campsite and logistics figured and would pick me up on her way to Kentucky, I only had to finance myself as needed. I checked with Dave that we didn't have anything else planned, checked my finances, decided I could probably make it work, and that was that!

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Shameless photo with the statue

This was my first time attending an event with high caliber horses and riders at an advanced level. It was incredible to witness the athleticism of the horses. I didn't grow up in an area that had a big horse scene or show scene - what did/does exist is largely western-based. With last month's visit to Loch Moy and now Rolex, I'm continually learning and building my understanding of show format and etiquette. It's been a lot to take in, but I'm really glad I'm finally getting the opportunity to do so.

As I was attending the event with a dressage rider, we obviously watched a fair number of dressage rides on Thursday and Friday. I loved sitting with Austen for these as her commentary far exceeds any that I could get elsewhere. She has an impeccable eye for biomechanics and she can explain it in layman's terms when necessary, too. As someone who works in a field with a lot of jargon, I really appreciate when someone can break things down into layman's terms to help explain them. I built up my current knowledge-base as we watched each test and was surprised when I could nod along with the large majority of Austen's commentary, seeing exactly what she was seeing as she verbalized what I could not.

20170427 Rolex Finals (5)
Jenny Caras and Fernhill Fortitude (Retired on XC)
20170427 Rolex Finals (6)
Caroline Martin and Spring Easy (28th)
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Jennifer McFall and a very expressive High Times (24th)
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Vermiculus and Lauren Keiffer (Withdrawn before 2nd Inspection)
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Vermiculus looking adorable (Withdrawn before 2nd Inspection)
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Good boy! He took the lead for a short time after this
(Withdrawn before 2nd Inspection)
20170427 Rolex Finals (18)
Loughan Glen and Clark Montgomery had a beautiful test
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Loughan Glen
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Cooley on Show (Retired on XC)
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Sharon White and Cooley on Show with a lead change (Retired on XC)
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fischerRocana and Michael Jung (1st)
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fischerRocana and Michael Jung (1st)
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fischerRocana and Michael Jung (1st)
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They had a great test (1st)
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Allison Springer riding Arthur one final time </3
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Floating Arthur
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He knows he's a good boy

Unlike other bloggers, Austen and I didn't have a very strong burning desire to shop. I had a list of things I need for showing, and I wrote down which websites I could find the best deal at for them and what they cost so that if I did find them at Rolex, I would know what was actually a good deal.

Regardless, we still browsed the Trade Fair on Thursday and Friday. I crossed 4 items off my list (white breeches, a sunshirt, C4 belt, and black spur straps) and picked up two other items - one that was very "me" and I had to have (the tank that says "Wanderer with Horses") and a sweatshirt that Betsy at the Plaid Horse Magazine hooked me up with.

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So much blue, totally not intentional

While I'm really excited to have some show essentials and another sunshirt, I can honestly say my favorite thing is actually the sweatshirt from the Plaid Horse Magazine! It is hands down the SOFTEST and stretchiest fabric I've ever worn. Austen and I both were over the moon when we put them on for the first time. SO soft, SO comfortable. I plan to buy another one or two just to have more excessively comfortable clothing.

On Saturday, we woke, started the day with mimosas and some breakfast, and headed the 100 feet from our campsite to the XC course. We started our day at the Hollow, worked slowly over to the Head of the Lake, spent a good while at the Frog Pond, then meandered to the area between the 4th and 25th obstacles, and finally to the Park Question where we stayed until the final rider passed by.

I took so many photos of XC - it was hard to pare them down! (Though I was able to cut images for final consideration down to ~35% fortunately!)   I watched 90% of the jumping through my camera lens. #noregrets


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I'm Sew Ready and Phillip Dutton were the second pair to make it to the Hollow (4th)
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No surprise, but they got it done efficiently (4th)
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I'm Sew Ready sucked back a bit before the final element though, so Mr. Dutton gave him some encouragement with the whip (4th)
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And over they went! (4th)
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Cracker Jack cornering like a boss as Boyd Martin guides him along (7th)
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Hard to say who this pair is, but look at that table! First element at the Head of the Lake
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Another shot of the table with Tsunami and Sarah Cousins (30th)
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Madeline Backus and PS Arianna dropping into the water (20th)
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Locked and loaded on the rainbow trout (20th)
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Bunnie Sexton aboard Rise Against who is locked and loaded onto the next jump (Eliminated on XC)
20170427 Rolex Finals (45)
Selena O'Hanlon and Foxwood High (11th)
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Selena O'Hanlon and Foxwood High (11th)
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Mettraise and Erin Sylvester (14th)
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Sparrow's Nio and Allie Sacksen looked good in the beginning (Eliminated on XC)
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But things quickly turned south when Sparrow took a stumble entering the water
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Allie couldn't hold her position and things snowballed from there
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Sparrow did his damndest to stay upright though
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Nonetheless, Allie's momentum carried her into the water
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"I'm OUTTA here!" - Sparrow, probably
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Wet pony not looking too worse for the wear; Allie on her feet beside him
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Hawley Bennett-Awad and Jollybo up the bank at 20 (12th)
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Vermiculus and Lauren Kieffer; I adore his face (Withdrawn before 2nd inspection)
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Vermiculus over the second element of the Frog Pond (Withdrawn before 2nd inspection)
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Pavarotti and Jessica Phoenix (17th)
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Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill by Night over the first element at the Frog Pond (Eliminated on XC)
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Good horse! Onto the next jump. (Eliminated on XC)
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Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Fugitive getting it done (8th)
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And off they go to the next challenge (8th)
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Jolie Wentworth holding a bit too tight to Good Knight over the first jump at the Frog Pond (Withdrawn before 2nd inspection)
20170427 Rolex Finals (67)
Their landing was about as you'd expect it to be from the above photo (Withdrawn before 2nd inspection)
20170427 Rolex Finals (68)
Andrea Baxter and Indy 500 over the first jump at the Frog Pond (31st)
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Lisa Marie Fergusson and Honor Me over the table that preceded the Frog Pond (18th)
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Honor Me does it with ease ()18th)
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Loughan Glen and Clark Montgomery, who led after dressage,
had a very conservative XC round (27th)
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Loughan Glen's eye is what grabs me in this photo (27th)
20170427 Rolex Finals (73)
This photo demonstrates the controlled chaos that was XC day at Rolex as
Sharon White and Cooley on Show gallop through (Retired on XC)
20170427 Rolex Finals (74)
Zara Tindall and High Kingdom over the first element at Mighty Moguls (3rd)
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High Kingdom demonstrating athleticism over the final element at Mighty Moguls (3rd)
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And everyone's favorite girl, fischerRocana (1st)
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fischerRocana and Michael Jung getting it done (1st)
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Over the boat and off they go (1st)
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Doug Payne and Vandiver showing us how it's done at the Park Question BCD (Eliminated in 2nd inspection)
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One stride... (Eliminated in 2nd inspection)
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And over again! (Eliminated in 2nd inspection)
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Tight Lines and William Coleman III (34th)
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Tight Lines and William Coleman III (34th)
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Jessica Phoenix and Bentley's Best galloping on XC (Retired on XC)
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Phillip Dutton and Mr. Medicott at the Park Question BCD (4th)
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One stride and... (4th)
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Boom, nailed it. (4th)

While part of me wished we could have watched one of the huge ditch/brush jumps in person to witness the sheer athleticism and air time those horse and rider pairs were getting, I was really happy we meandered our way around course to watch as much as we did. Seeing how riders handled the complex questions of combination jumps was really cool - especially when things didn't go as planned and quick thinking and reroute to another option saved them. Hot damn are those some game horses!

Overall, it was a fantastic weekend. I had a blast watching Rolex, meeting/visitng with bloggers, and hanging out with Austen. 10/10 would do it all again - though as the camping is already sold out for next year, we'll probably wait a couple years before returning. 

21 comments:

  1. Wow love your pictures!! I was counting on people like you to get excellent action shots because there's not much point iphoning it in next to you. ;-) So glad you could make it!

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    1. Thank you. And yeah, I hardly used my phone at all this weekend for media.

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  2. Those shots!! I'm speechless. Glad I didn't bother with my DSLR this weekend, I would have felt so inadequate 😂

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  3. ahhhh so many great photos!!!! you definitely gotta come watch some of the more local-ish big events around here - great meadow, fair hill, plantation!!!! and it looks like you like to enjoy cross country day the same way i do: walking the full course and seeing everything ridden by a couple horses, esp those combinations!! so much fun!!!

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    1. Austen was a great cruise director on XC day...and really the whole weekend. Loved the way we ended up seeing things.

      And yes! I'd love to get out to more local stuff sometime =)

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    2. Yep, Emma, we basically have the same theory of xc spectating. Though, I tend to skip the flier table fences in favor of combinations!

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  4. Amazing shots! Part of me would love to go to Rolex some year, the other part of me hyperventilates at the idea of watching XC in person...my palms start sweating just looking at photos of some of those jumps.

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    1. Aw, but it's fun when you don't have to be the one jumping them! Haha

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  5. Nice pictures, very pro looking! I wouldn't be surprised if some of the riders find your photos soon. I've contemplated going to Rolex but I have zero idea how logistics/how to navigate around the event would even work. I need me a friend like Austen haha

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    1. Austen definitely is the reason this trip happened! She was a great 'cruise director'. This is the second (of 2) trips I've taken this year and for both I was just along for the ride instead of calling the shots - it's AWESOME.

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  6. These photos are fantastic!!

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  7. Sounds like another fun weekend! So cool that you got to go! And you got some amazing photos :)

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  8. Wow! Your photos are awesome! Jealous of your fun weekend :)

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    1. Thanks -- and yeah, we had a blast!

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