Saturday, April 30, 2011

Doug Payne and Peter Atkins - Cross-country Recap from 2011 Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event

Peter Atkins gives his thoughts about the cross-country phase at 2011 Rolex Kentucky and answers a few questions from Doug Payne.

Fence Judging: It's a Job

Phillip Dutton navigating the second element of my fence

For the sixth year in a row, I had the privilege of being a fence judge at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event. But I’m actually quite the baby; I spoke with at least three folks who’ve been doing this for 20+ years! Last year at WEG I opted to “just” be a competitor and roam from fence to fence; but there is something magical about watching every single rider—the BEST riders in the world—take a single fence, seeing how they navigate it differently.

Being a fence judge, however, isn’t all savoring each ride; it’s making sure that we pay attention to every ride in case of a problem, making sure that each rider has as close to the SAME ride, making sure that the crowd doesn’t interfere, making sure that the jump remains consistent….and sometimes we have minutes, sometimes we have seconds. While I have friends stop by and say hi, I feel bad, but I can’t spend time talking with them. I have a job to do. I have to make sure the riders have a good, consistent, fair experience over MY fence.

My fence this time was #26, the Angled Brushes. I recall a version of this fence from WEG, and I also recall some folks having a wee bit of trouble with the fence, but I wasn’t quite prepared for it to begin so quickly. Our first rider, Allison Springer and Arthur, were in third place and had gone cleanly up to us. Arthur was still “going” and since the approach to our fence was a long downhill gallop, I thought she was having trouble getting her horse back. She got to the first brush fairly flat, then he put in an extra step and launched himself through the brush (scraping his stifle), stumbling on the landing and popping Allison off.

We had several “iffy” rides, mostly from riders slowing down too much and not having enough impulsion to get over the brush and ditch handily. What I learned was that a good, forward, up, consistent ride worked. Every time. Notable was Kim Severson’s ride—she made it look like a series of bounces. Mary King was VERY forward, but also VERY balanced and consistent. Same for Hannah Sue Burnett. Bravo!

Poor Mark Todd was one of those who slowed down a bit too much, and his horse simply said “I can’t do it at this pace—I’m tired!” and ran out of the first element. He circled and took the long route and then finished the course well.

I saw a LOT of tired horses—I mean REALLY, tired, spent horses—and I wonder how the SJ will go tomorrow. The new course designer provided a challenging course, and the fact that the refusals and runouts and falls were spread out throughout the course makes me think that it was a fair course, too. Well done!

After cross country day, I always feel a little bit like the young girl in the ancient “Shake and Bake” commercial: “Mamma made fried chicken—and I helped!”. Once again, we had a successful Rolex cross country—and I helped!

Cheryl and Calina's Cross-Country Recap - The Top Ten

Despite the miserable weather and tornado warnings earlier this week, cross-country day was ultimately bright and sunny, with a light breeze. The footing was very good, though heavy toward the end of the day. There were numerous refusals and run-out, particularly at the beginning of the day, and even a few rider falls. Fortunately, all equines and humans are safe and sound, and a look at the scoreboard shows that the problems were spread out throughout the course. That said, I think its safe to say that the hollow claimed more than its fair share of victims. Fence 5, the first water, also caused numerous problems and lots of ‘peaking’.

The Top Ten Horse/Rider combinations after an exciting and grueling day of cross-country are:

1.    Mary King and Kings Temptress (47.7)

2.    Mary King and Fernhill Urco (49.7)

3.    Clayton Fredericks and Be My Guest (53.0)

4.    Sinead Halpin and Manoir de Carneville (53.1)

5.    Hannah Sue Burnett and St Barths (53.3)

6.    William Fox-Pitt and Neufs des Coeurs (54.0)

7.    Oliver Townend and ODT Sonas Rovatio (58.2)

8.    Jessica Phoenix and Exponential (60.0)

9.    Boyd Martin and Remington XXV (61.4)

10.    Kim Severson and Tipperary Liadhnan (62.5)

Cross-Country Videos - 2011 Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event by Holly

2011 Rolex Kentucky Cross Country Videos. Enjoy!

Mary King - Kings Temptress 

Rebecca Howard - Riddle Master - The Hollow

Karen O'Connor - Quintus 54 - at the corners

Mark Todd - Grass Valley - at the sunken road

Sinead Halpin - Manoir de Carneville - sunken road
Sinead Halpin - Manoir de Carneville

Mary King - Fernhill Urco

Mary King - Fernhill Urco, water and brushes

Michael Pollard - Wonderful Will, double brushes

Jennifer's Rolex Adventure-The Very Late Dressage Recap

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Eagle

I feel like such a horrible blogger. But the internet at my hotel is practically non existent! Anyway onto the Rolex fun.

Well it's been a fun two days of some really great dressage. It's also been a long couple of days. We made it down to Kentucky very early Thursday morning so I was going into dressage day one with very little sleep. Unfortunately I didn't get to see as much dressage as I would have liked but I still was able to see some great rides. First thing Thursday morning I was able to hang out by the warm up and watch Allison Springer, Phillip Dutton, Mary King and Jessica Phoenix. During the morning break I headed over to the Ecogold booth to finally met Patricia in person.

We unfortunately got stuck in some traffic when we went to check into the hotel during the lunch break so I did miss Boyd's ride just after the break, but I was able to take my seat for the rest of the afternoon. There were some really nice rides in the afternoon, including Heather Morris with Slate River. All too soon the first day of Rolex came to an end.

Tiana Coudray and Ringwood Magister

Friday morning started with a trip to Keeneland to watch the morning workouts, something that has become a tradition in the last few years. It's pretty fun to stand at the rail and pick out the ones we'd like to turn into event horses. Then we headed over to the horse park in time to watch Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master. They were having a beautiful test, but a couple of bobbles at the canter hurt their score. Then in came Tiana Courday and Ringwood Magister and I could not take my eyes off of them. They had a perfect test and rightfully so took the lead from Allison Springer. The rest of the morning saw some great rides from Karen O'Connor, Mark Todd, and Clayton Fredericks.

Mary King and Fernhill Urco
After the lunch break came some riders that I was super excited to see: Hamish Cargill, Sinead Halpin, Missy Ransenhousen, Mary King and William Fox-Pitt. After following Hamish at the World Equestrian games last fall, I was looking forward to seeing him ride. And he really did have a lovely test. He scored at 51.3 to put him in 14th place. Very respectable placing and he should be able to move up if he jumps clean. Missy Ransenhousen had a nice test as well. I always enjoy seeing them go, Critical Decision reminds me a lot of one of our horses. And then Mary King. I don't know what to say about her. I've wanted to see her ride for so long and I wasn't disappointed. Quite impressive to sit both 2nd and 4th at Rolex.

We finished up the day with a little bit of shopping in the trade fair and then headed over for a night of reining in the new Alltech Arena. So cool to watch something that seems like it would be totally different, but really it was dressage in a western saddle.

Carrie's Rolex Experience - Saturday...Need I say More?

Good thing we got to the KHP when we did. As we pulled off I-75 (at 8:15 a.m.) there was a line, a long one, already forming to get in.  Parking, was closer to the campground for us today, which actually, I didn't mind.  I think by now we have seen literally one end of the park to the other.  The place is massive. 
Ecogold Rider Sinead Halpin and 'Tate'

From what I heard described as 'a pretty straightforward track for a 4*'...I can assure you, it certainly didn't ride that way.  There were a ton of run outs, 'the Big E' reared its ugly head more times then I can count and there were massive changes among the leader board from yesterday.   

I loved Laine Ashker's ride though the HSBC Water Park...not only was it brilliant, on the way out...she had a massive smile on her face and gave 'Al' several huge pats. 

Bobbi - Who has been a Jump Judge at
Rolex since I have been alive
We spent a little time at the Head of the Lake (d'uh), where I was lucky enough to be sitting beside the jump judge.  No big deal right?! Well, this might be a little different.  Bobbi, from Cincinnati, Ohio, has been coming to Rolex and volunteering as a jump judge since 1978....for the record, I was born in 1978.  I turned 32 last December.  A-Ma-Zing!!!  She said she has been coming every year because she loves the horses, the atmosphere and the people.  She was awesome.  She also told me that "1978 was a pretty good year then."  Thanks for speaking with me Bobbi!! And thank you as a volunteer for making Rolex what it is today! 

At the end of the day, we were headed over towards the Altech Indoor because the rest of my entourage wanted to check out the reining horses and|Western which point I realized I wouldn't be able to do up a western girth if my life depended on it...anyways...probably the highlight of my day...We were walking along the dirt path that the horses use to get to and from the start/finish of the xc.  Ecogold rider, Jessica Phoenix, whom I  interviewed yesterday afternoon, was on her way back to the barn (she literally still had all her gear on and her helmet done up), after a wicked run on Exponential.  I saw her, she saw me, I went "Hey!!! You were amazing!!" She threw her arms around me, hugged me (more like crushed my ribs) and said "Isn't he AMAZING?!"  I wish I could describe the pure joy and admiration in her voice.  It was probably the highlight of my day.  Exponential = one Hell of a horse.  I can only describe him as being able to soar.  Walking back to the wouldn't have thought he had just run around a 6,300 meter track.  He was cool as a cucumber.

We spent a little bit of time swimming with the ducks on the way out of the park and are really looking forward to stadium tomorrow.  As all the horses are getting their legs iced, I am hoping that the riders are enjoying a much deserved beer. 

We are sunburned, our feet hurt, I have blisters from my flip flops...and I wouldn't have it any other way!!

ECOGOLD's Phillip Dutton Q&A at 2011 Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event

Phillip Dutton at the ECOGOLD Stand
ECOGOLD-rider Phillip Dutton was at our stand earlier today answering questions asked by US event rider Doug Payne . Boyd talked about how he finds top quality horses, how he plans a competition season for a horse, what he would change if he were "king of eventing", what he does to make his students successful and how it felt to win Rolex in 2008.

1/3 ECOGOLD Phillip Dutton at 2011 Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event

2/3 ECOGOLD Phillip Dutton at 2011 Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event

3/3 ECOGOLD Phillip Dutton at 2011 Rolex Kentucky Three Day Even

Sarah's Saturday XC Impressions

WOW! is all I can say about the course. It was seriously influential today. I would be interested to see how the stat's from previous years stack up against today because it felt like there were quite a number of issues. That said, there were also some really fabulous rides. Mary King is an obvious one! As a kid I had a Mary King's Eventing Stable computer game that my sister and I would spend hours playing. So, understandably, I was thrilled to see her go around in such great style!

Mary King on Cross Country.

Another ride I loved was Jessica Phoenix and Exponential. That horse has some serious hops. Not to mention she looked thrilled to be out there riding him around the course.

<- Jessica and Exponential getting ready to jump the double brush towards the end of the course!

I was worried for a little bit that we would be seriously missing out on horse Show Jumping tomorrow with all the R/W/E's. As it is I am looking forward to a great day of jumping tomorrow.

Best of luck to the competitors tomorrow. My condolences to those whose day's didn't go to plan and better luck next time out!

Tracy's Friday Rolex (just a little bit late!)

I feel like the M.I.A. blogger!! Due to a series of epic FAILS, I find myself sitting in a McDonald's writing my Friday blog on Saturday!
First and foremost, I hope that everyone has safe clean rides today and also a whole lot of fun!
Walking the course with Jessica Hampf yesterday I realized many things about the sport I love. Not only do you need to be incredibly fit to ride these horses but you need to be incredibly fit to walk a four star course! Jessica was FABULOUS about explaining the jumps, the quality of gallop she looked for between fences, and the canter she wants before her take-off point. Jessica made me feel like a friend, not a guest as she patiently answered all of my questions. I asked her what she thought of the course and she told me that it was a "Trevor" kind of course.

While my experience yesterday did not go the way I planned, I learned that it is impossible to have a bad time at Rolex and sometimes plan B is better than the best laid plan A. I did not see a single Dressage ride in it's entirety, but I spent a lot of time in the warm up. Spending time there gave me a better feel for what the riders are like as people, not just the well oiled machines we see in the arena. Some spent the entire time with lots of warm up, perfecting every movement that would be asked while some worked for a shorter time and let their horses relax. I watched grooms and coaches bustle around while horses patiently stood for the final preps. Sinead Halpin was especially nice, chatting with people and allowing a few to pet Tate before she finished her warm-up. The rest of my Friday experience was spent doing large amounts of shopping and helping to support our equestrian economy! Festin will be so happy when I come home with all of his new gear, especially his new ECOGOLD cross-country boots!

Sinead Halpin & Manoir De Carneville (Tate)
Oh and I almost forgot to mention one of my other highlights, a personal introduction to Peter Atkins and a nice chat about his riding & his amazing horse Henny.

I will add an album to Facebook once I stop at Wal-Mart for a new card reader, just another one of my epic FAILS yesterday!

Fun times with Canadian Eventing Team's Jessica Phoenix, Jessica Hampf...and Rebecca Howard at 2011 Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event

We spent some hilarious moments interviewing ECOGOLD riders and fellow Canucks Jessica Phoenix, Jessica Hampf... and Rebecca Howard (Diana Burnett was doing a longer than expected course walk, we'll get her tomorrow) on Friday afternoon before heading to the Red and White party.

We talked about their horses, mentors, support staff, but most importantly, fashion. Enjoy one of our most memorable Q&A sessions hosted by our amazing Ammie Blogger Carrie Braff!

1/2 ECOGOLD's Jessica Phoenix and Jessica Hampf at 2011 Rolex Kentucky

2/2 ECOGOLD's Jessica Phoenix and Jessica Hampf at 2011 Rolex Kentucky


A wild and crazy day. As of now I've been up too many hours to count, over 18. Here's photos and when I can see straight, more videos of the great course walk with Sinead.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cheryl & Calina’s Friday Recap

One of the most interesting and educational places to be during Rolex, or any other big event, is the warm-up ring. It is truly fascinating to watch these top horses and riders get ready to step into the big ring. We started the morning by watching Hannah Sue Burnett and St Barth's warm up. Under David O'Connor's watchful eye, she and Nike did some absolutely lovely trot work. 

Canadian Ecogold rider Rebecca Howard, and her Canadian-bred horse Riddle Master, were also competing this morning. Riddle Master is one of my (Calina's) favourite horses competing right now. He rose to the challenge last fall when he ran his first four-star at the WEG and I can't wait to see how he progresses over the course of the next year or so.

Quintus 54 and Karen O'Connor were very impressive today. While his dressage score didn't put him at the top of the leaderboard today, it is clear that he will be very competitive in short order. 

This afternoon, after eating a quick lunch, we headed to the warm-up area to watch Ecogold rider Sinead Halpin prepare for her four-star debut. Manoir de Carneville (Tate) showed off his super trot and then took a few quiet moments to meet some fans. It was very heartwarming to watch a couple of kids get to meet one of their equine heroes.

Sinead’s test was absolutely beautiful – we are sure she was thrilled with Tate’s performance and are so happy that she is sitting in the top 10 going into cross-country tomorrow.

Hamish Cargill and Sandhills Tiger were also warming up at the same time – I (Cheryl) loved the bridle Hamish had on his horse. It stood out from all the other bridles I saw this weekend, and looked stunning on his beautiful black horse.

During the afternoon break we got to watch Jessie Phoenix warm-up Exponential (and Mary King warm-up her beautiful grey Fernhill Urco, who is currently sitting in second):

We hope Jessie was happy with this test – it was very tactfully ridden and the pair had some nice trot work. Where this horse really shines, however, is on cross-country - we can’t wait to see his jump tomorrow.

Becky's Day Two "Quickies"

I felt like a celebrity this morning….I got to be a guest on the Horse Radio Network! That’s right: I was interviewed by none other than Glenn the Geek himself. Jimmy Wofford was the guest before me….so in a way, my day was book-ended by JW! Here’s Glenn and Jen:

After my brush with radio stardom, we settled down to watch dressage, and I was able to see Hannah Sue Burnett put in a respectable dressage test.

We ended up making sure we knew what was in the trade fair soon after, and we missed Tiana Coudray’s first place dressage score….drat! But we watched Mary King’s ride, and it was phenomenal.

As always, Jimmy Wofford’s coursewalk was 20 minutes after dressage….and as always, that gave me about 30 minutes to watch and learn from “the Woff” before I had to attend my fence judge meeting. Just a few gems: “The first three fences are designed to get the butterflies in the rider’s stomachs flying in formation. Then they get to fence four. Fence four isn’t a fence; it’s a condominium!”


At the fence judge briefing, I ran into my good friend Nancy, a fellow fence judge since my first time six years ago. It was nice to catch up!

Tomorrow I’ll be at fence 26. Good luck to all the riders!

Carrie's Rolex Experience - Oh, So Dubarry's Are Cool...?

1-75 South is the longest, straightest, most boring highway I have ever driven on...except when trying to navigate through Dayton and its 137 lanes of construction at 2:30 in the morning. We arrived to our location of choice - located off of Exit 110 - to find that - well, we didn't really have a reservation to come to...there was no person in my name with a reservation at our location of choice...good thing my credit card had already been charged for it...

I can not believe just how GREEN Kentucky is amazing. 

As we pulled into the Horse Park for the first time, I was a little bit taken aback by the size of it.  The volunteers directing traffic were fantastic and we ended up a good hike away from everything...but were made to feel very welcome by the other Ontario license plated people who were drinking 8:30 in the morning...I liked the place even better instantly.

There was a strange and eerie feeling as the morning progressed.  Something wasn't, right.  It took me about an hour to figure it out. EVERYONE was wearing Dubarry's....everyone except us Canucks who thought that flip flops were much better suited for walking around the Horse Park for the entire day.  Honestly, I have never seen so many Dubarry's in one place, at one time. 

This being my first time here, it was very much the sensory overload that I expected it to be...amazing people, incredible horses, the trade fair is to die for!  And the Daiquiris at 10:30 a.m. were pretty great too! 

After a quick stop in to the Ecogold booth, we stuck to our plan of watching the riders in the dressage warm of the Ecogold riders, Hannah Burnett - was warming up with DOC and St. Barths....There was a point in the warm up, where her pony was having a quick walk break and he started to get a little tense and we could see the white of his eyes...Hannah simply gave him a couple soothing pats, murmured to him and calmly carried on.  It was very sweet.

Hannah warming up with St. Barths
She ended up having a really nice test...Especially for the first horse of the morning.

I met Peter Atkins today. Told him he was my hero and he hugged me and said: "I like being people's hero's."...I might as well have been a 13 year old teenager meeting Justin Bieber. (I am a loser.)

Unbeknown to me at the time, our wonderful host Patricia roped asked me to host a Q & A with one of their sponsored riders, Boyd Martin.  Ummmm, okay?!  Actually, it was pretty fun.  Patrica has already posted the video to this blog and if I do say so myself, I think I did a pretty good job.

I was even MORE excited about going on a course walk with Diana Burnett.  She hails from my neck of the woods, has a machine of an xc horse and I was really looking forward to meeting her and getting her take on the course...annnnnd then total chaos happened.  There were about 4 or 5 (no joke) OTHER course walks all going on at the same time with groups of people EVERYWHERE...long story made really short - I couldn't find Diana and didn't get to walk the course with her. I am completely totally bummed about that.  Honestly - I really thought that was going to be my highlight of the entire weekend.... I did get to walk around the course though and there are a couple REALLY cool questions and jumps that we are going to be scoping out tomorrow. 

I will never, ever, EVER complain about the
height and width of a Training Table with brush again
(Ps - I'm almost 5'9)
After reporting back to Patricia that I wasn't able to hook up with Diana, and sobbing uncontrollably about it for a solid 10 minutes she told me to get it together and once again cornered asked me to host another Q&A...this one with Jessica Phoenix, Jessica Hampf...they were great...AND we talked about Fashion...what better? Oh - how about Rebecca Howard showing up half way through!  You can tell from the Q&A, that all three ladies really truly enjoy what they do, love their horses and more importantly, have a wonderful support crew around them that enables them to come out and perform at their best...and I am sure the Ecogold products help too!

So after the disappointment of not being the cool kids with the Dubarry's and not going on a course walk with Diana - WHICH IS NO ONE'S FAULT BUT MINE - I, and the rest of my entourage will be cheering on all the Ecogold riders - and well, okay, all the others too - tomorrow on what looks to be a super xc track. I can not wait to hear the thundering squishing hooves on the waterlogged ground!

Sarah's Dressage Day 2 recap and more!

Whew! As you can see from my fellow Ammy Blogger's posts it was an exciting day of dressage at Rolex 2011! It seems that the grey horses dominated! (which is fine by me, they need some compensation for all the extra time spent bathing!) I have taken over 400 pictures... yea excessive I know. But I will be posting those of the Ecogold riders on their facebook page so stay tuned for that later this evening!

I think my favorite ride of the day (and there were many great ones!) would have to be Joe Meyer (NZL) and Snip. I read an article about their relationship recently in the April 25 edition of The Chronicle ( and just loved their story. Such a wonderful and long lasting partnership!

From Q&A sessions (see below for video footage) with a number of great riders to course walks there was definitely no shortage of things to do. I really enjoyed the course walk that I went on with riders Allison Springer, Sinead Halpin, and Rebecca Howard (I believe there were other riders but they were switching off and we bailed out a bit early to get to the Q&A session with the Canadian riders.)

Boyd at a Q&A session this afternoon

One thing I found interesting was that all the riders seemed to think the footing would play a major role in tomorrow's cross country. Obviously footing is important, but I would have thought that it is better to have some great footing and some bad than alot of mud. Apparently this is not always the case. A couple of the riders on the course walk mentioned that it is more difficult for the Horses to transition from one type of footing to another. All the riders were interesting and encouraged those of us on the course walk to ask questions. It was definitely fun to hear more about the riders, their horses and their background and to see the course before the start of XC competition tomorrow!

Is Sinead telling us how to ride the jump...or showing us her dance moves?

All in all a great day! Best wishes for clean, fast, and safe rides for everyone tomorrow!

Hey..That doesn't look like an event horse? Nope it is one of the competitors at the Kentucky Reining Cup!

Cheryl & Calina’s Dressage Recap – The Top 10

Dressage at Rolex is over and there are 3 Ecogold riders in the top 10. The scores for the top 10 are:

1st – Tiana Coudray on Ringwood Magister (40.8)

2nd – Mary King on Fernhill Urco (41.7)

3rd – Allison Springer on Arthur (42.3)

4th – Mary King on Kings Temptress (47.7)

5th (tied) – William Coleman on Twizzel (48.2)

5th (tied) – James Alliston on Jumbo’s Jake (48.2) (unfortunately we didn’t manage to get any pictures of James’ ride on Jumbo’s Jake – we were too busy watching his lovely test. We do have a picture from yesterday’s test on his other ride Parker).

7th – Kim Severson on Tipperary Liadhnan (48.5)

8th – Ecogold rider Sinead Halpin on Manoir de Carneville (48.7)

9th – Ecogold rider Boyd Martin on Remington XXV (49.0)

10th – Ecogold rider Clayton Frederick’s on Be My Guest (50.2)