I have to say I’m surprised my credit card wasn’t shut off.
If you’ve never been to Rolex, start making plans to now. That was literally the best weekend EVER. The only downfall is that there’s no way to instantly warp your way around the KHP…and the KHP is BIG. I don’t mind walking (or running ), and can do it all day long with no problem, but I wanted to GET to the places, and the places were all so far.
I went with my mom and sister, both of whom are the opposite of horse people. When they come to visit, my sister will shudder and shriek when P sniffs her and my mom keeps about a 30 ft radius between her and horses. But my sister goes to college in Louisville and my mom lives in Chicago, and Rolex was actually THEIR idea.
I flew into Louisville Thursday evening, after spending the day at work glued to the live stream (so, super productive), and then the next morning I woke up at 4 AM (not on purpose) and was ready to go by 5 to get to KHP for dressage. Unfortunately my sister and mom were not as gung-ho, so we didn’t actually leave until 8. I wanted to watch the warmups, but my mom wanted to see the dressage, so we watched a few warm ups (and I warmup stalked the rider dressage trainer J recommended jumping with), then ended up buying additional tickets so we could go in the stands. Worth it- got to see Clark Montgomery’s test in person and it was BEA-UTIFUL.
And of course Michael Jung. I would’ve bought the dressage tickets if only to see his test anyway.
My favorite part of the day was seeing Allison Springer and Arthur, though. I’m not a crier, but at the end my eyes were a little shiny. That horse can MOVE.
Then we attempted to walk the XC course with Tim Bourke. Tim’s a really cool guy, and I enjoyed riding with him in his XC clinic last year, but as we hit jump 4 my mom obviously was in a bit of pain with her not-so-great-knees, so we decided to leave.
We got up early the next morning to get there at 8 because my mom wanted to see the mounted games (so cute) and I wanted to see the TB Makeover Preview. The dressage horse in the demo was INCREDIBLE.
Then we headed to XC. Since we didn’t get to see the whole course on Friday, we weren’t sure where to go, so we headed first to 4abc since that was right across from a water jump (26? I can’t remember), and you got to see jumps 2 and 3 as well. That was SO.MUCH.FUN. 4abc was definitely tricky and SO COOL to see when it was ridden right, like by Sharon White and Louie.
And then came the legend, Michael Jung. He came in slightly wrong to 4a…you could hear him clucking as they got up to it and then over it he went, “Oh, shit” which was way too human for him, but they (of course) made it over just fine.
Then we made our way to the “Stick Pile,” which was actually a humongous table, and then to the Normandy Bank. Then it started to rain and we went inside because I was the only one who thought to wear boots, long sleeves, and wear a baseball hat.
After that we headed to the finish line/warmup area, because I love watching warmups. That’s where the pros get the spooks out of their horses and makes me feel better about my own horse. Because if a horse as difficult as Louie can get out there and tear up a 4* course, surely with time P will be just fine. I also love watching the riders come in through the flags, especially the ones who are appreciative of their horses, and then watching the pit crews come in to take care of the horse. It also makes me want a pit crew. Usually I AM the pit crew.
Finally it was over and we headed back to the hotel before hitting up church so we didn’t have to go Sunday morning, then out to dinner for a bunch of margaritas. We had to get up early because I wanted to see the horse inspection.
I had to wedge myself in between a few people and do a weird crouchy thing, but there he was…so close!
And…since we had a lot of time before SJ started…GO SHOPPING!
Since I flew, I only brought a small suitcase as a carry on and then my purse. I intentionally didn’t bring a bigger one, thinking that would cause me to refrain from going nuts.
No…no it didn’t. So without further ado:
It all started when we hit the restroom and as I was drying my hands, a flyer for Devoucoux caught my eye. They were selling the Cambox ISI2 camera that I’ve thought on and off about since it was released and I realized I hated wearing my GoPro so much that I hardly ever wore it at all.
So we headed straight into the tent and immediately a girl comes up, I ask her a ton of questions, she gives me a demo and it’s mine in 3.5 minutes flat.
I mean, that will definitely fit in my bag, so it’s all ok.
Now that we were in the shopping area, let’s just browse some more.
How could I resist? No, it’s not turquoise, but it’s still beautiful. Plus OTTB. Duh.
Shirts for husband and I. I had to go back and get him one because I figured the shock would be easier if I had a present for him.
Mango Bay belts. These are the only belts I wear. LOVE them.
#2 all the way.
And a book for the kids, written by Andrea Davidson (Buck’s wife), and signed by her and Bruce Davidson.
At first we were just searching for the stand that we heard Bruce Davidson was at so he could sign my hat, then I saw they were doing a book signing, figured I should get the kids something, so I got the book, then looked closer at the booth while I was checking out.
Damn you, Kastel. I ALMOST escaped.
I was going to just get one. But then the lady said that buying 2 gets you a free hat, and free hats are definitely worth an extra $75. So I got 2. In my own defense (not that I need one with you guys since you all are enablers, I’m just practicing for my husband), my 2 Kastel shirts are both super light colored and both are somewhat stained thanks to my cuddly horse. So it only made sense to buy new ones.
And now for the things I didn’t buy…YET.
My CO helmet is coming near replacement time, so this will for sure be it’s replacement.
Thankfully they didn’t have any other colors besides grey and pink, but I’ve been eyeing these stirrups for almost a year.
And then this stopped me dead in my tracks:
I’ve only vaguely heard of Bliss of London (though now I have a hat from them), but this saddle was fantastic. I sat in it and a couple of other sizes/models, and really was a fan from what I felt on the immobile saddle stand. I got their NC rep’s card and am going to do a bit more research, but I know that I’ll have to replace the CWD sometime since it doesn’t fit me that great. And since P is older and not growing like a weed before, a custom saddle may be in the cards.
You’ll all be ecstatic to know that I managed to fit everything in my bag, and my prayers for it not to explode were listened to, and everything made it home safe and sound. I can’t WAIT to try out the new camera!
Then we went and took some touristy pictures because besides some of horses, we hadn’t taken any pictures at all.
So anyway, back to Rolex. Now it was finally time to go watch SJ!
Next year I am definitely getting seats in the stadium. I actually liked the view from the bleachers, and being so close (we were 4 rows in so super close when they went into the 1 stride combination at 10ab), but they WAY oversold the bleachers and people were constantly moving around, trying to find seats, shuffling people around and it was just annoying. So next year I am getting actual seats for sure.
My flight out of Louisville was at 6 PM, and KHP was 1 hour and 15 minutes from the airport, so the event was cutting dangerously close to the time I needed to leave, but I HAD to stay for MJ’s round. Since it was pretty clear that a US rider wouldn’t win, I was really rooting for him. I thought the announcer was quite rude when MJ entered the stadium and was waiting for the beep, and he was talking about how he could only have 1 rail down to win, that his average is TWO rails, and how he has only gone clear in 2 out of the 6 FEI events.
So we were sitting right in front of 10ab, which was a 1 stride combination and Roxie got in incorrectly to B. Rather than be a normal horse and knock it down, her front legs went up by her shoulders and she did this incredible almost upwards bend, leaving both rails in the combination up. It was INCREDIBLE.
I was so hoping he’d go clear so the announcer could eat his words, but even though he knocked down the b element of the triple combination, the save at c was equally as incredible. It was so cool to see that in person.
So he wins, we cheer like mad.
Then we ran.
But I made it on time, got home at a reasonable hour, and now I’m at work wishing it was already April 2018 so I can go back.