Before I get into the nuts and bolts of things here, I have to tell ya, I’m pretty thrilled to be here at Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event wandering around as a reporter and photographer-at-large! It’s not every day that you get to wear a blue and white ‘photographers’ pinny and head on out to be right beside the dressage ring and send out requests to interview riders. Currently it’s 12:00 am and sadly I have eaten my breakfast as I’m working on this post and photos. ‘Said’ tasty item was one of the home-made cinnamon rolls that my dear friend Janet dropped by our campsite. Eating at 12:00 a.m. does not contribute to my weight-loss program, but man it was good! Alas, without further ado… here it is…
Dressage 1st Day
The day started off a bit chilly here at Rolex but warmed up to t-shirt weather by the afternoon.
There were some fantastic rides out there today in the dressage ring. I love the ‘floaty’ look and feel of the extended trots. Catches your breath!
Current standings are Michael Pollard in 1st place on 49.9, Doug Payne in 2nd place and Will Faudree is in 3rd with 49.5. Doug Payne has decided to withdraw from the rest of the competition in order to continue on to compete at the Samur C*** in France. He has obtained a Land Rover Competition grant which will allow him to move forward. During a media interview this afternoon all three men were in agreement about the technical difficulty of the cross country course this year.
During our ‘Media Hay Ride Tour’ of the cross-country course this afternoon, the Rolex Course designer, Derek di Grazia, said that the course has changed quite a bit from past years, and the jump sequence is quite different. “This course asks a bit more of the (riders) and the riders will need to know where they are going (in order to) take off from their turns.”
“They need to mentally prepare themselves. They cannot let up on the course in order to stay in the game.”
Derek continues, “There are lots of jump options for riders and there are a lot of first time starters here this year.”
Large crowds gathering at many of the picturesque water complexes (and other jumps) can alter the ‘atmosphere’ of the cross country ride for the newbie horse and rider. When these jumps are approached they can feel a little overwhelmed by the crowds. With that said, this can add an adrenaline boost for the rider and the horse can also pick up on the energy from rider and crowds as well.
More information about Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event 2014 can be found here: http://www.rk3de.com
Interview with Robert Meyerhoff – Debut appearance at Rolex 2014.
I was totally excited to catch up with Robert Meyerhoff this morning for an interview before he headed out to work with his stunning ride, Dunlavin’s Token.
This is Robert’s first appearance at Rolex 2014. He had qualified for Rolex 2013, however a few weeks out Token had come up lame and so he scratched. Needless to say he’s quite thrilled to be here this year.
Owned by Robert’s wife, Danica Meyerhoff, Token is a 14 year-old Zangersheide, a Belgian Warmblood that they imported from Argentina 4 years ago. Approximately 16 hands, Token is one of the strongest horses that Robert has ever ridden and has an energetic massive stride.
I asked him how he thinks they will compete in Dressage tomorrow. “Dressage is a bit tough for him (Token). He is a very tense horse. I will do the best to keep him calm and relaxed in the test.”
“What did you think about the Cross Country course and what will your approach be?”
“It is long, but manageable. My approach will be to take it easy the first quarter or so then cruise along, and then help him along the last little bit.”
Robert was introduced to horses at a very young age when they frequently visited his grandparents 100+ acre ranch in Northern California. He started on POA’s (Ponies of America) at his grandparents’ ranch and showed these ponies in the Western Pleasure ring at the age of four. At nine years old, Robert showed at his first recognized event and he has had two horses competing at all times since the age of fourteen. During his mid-teens Robert knew that he was destined for Rolex and thirteen years later his dream has come true.
Robert grew up in San Francisco, California and currently resides in Virginia with his wife Danica. He is a huge San Francisco Giants and 49’ers fan and an active member of the ProRiders Association. The ProRiders Association mission is to “provide a sustainable professional support system for riders of all levels, grooms, owners and event organizers through leadership, education and mentorship to advance the sport of eventing.” More information can be found at ” https://www.professionalriders.org .
——- Side note: Robert has graciously offered to be interviewed following his own Dressage, Cross-Country and Stadium rides for the duration of the Rolex weekend so please stay tuned!
Until tomorrow…’Leg On!’