Whoop!! In 10 days Rolex 3KDE will be upon us. I’m excited to be blogging and photographing for E-Venting again this year from the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, USA.
“The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is the nation’s premier equestrian event. It is one of only six Four Star Three-Day Events in the world and the only one in the Western Hemisphere. The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event features the world’s best horses and riders vying for their share of $300,000 in prize money as well as a shot at the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing which is rewarded to any rider who winds the Rolex Kentucky, Mitsubishi Motors Badminton and Land Rover Burghley Four Star Events in succession.
Produced by HorsePower, Inc., the $120,000 Kentucky Reigning Cup features The Adequaqn/UESF Open Reining National Championship. The Championship will be an FEI-recognized CR13* event held in two rounds over two days, April 24-25. The Kentucky Reining Cup will also include the World Freestyle Championship which will award the title of “World Champion” in Freestyle Reining, as well as $20,000 in prize money that will mark the larges purse for a Reining Freestyle anywhere in the world.” www.rk3de.org
Last year Bobby Meyerhoff, a first-timer at Rolex 2014, was gracious enough to let me interview him during the event. This year, Bobby and his horse, Dunlaven’s Token, are headed to Rolex once again.
To kick this season off, I’ve managed to track down this extremely busy man to ask him a few questions.
Q. Last year, you and your wife, Danica, moved to California from Virginia. Was it a difficult decision? How has the transition been?
Moving to California was a very hard decision to make. We struggled year-to-year moving from the North to South to keep up with the circuit. Making the move (to California) seemed to be great. The weather has been amazing, business is good, we are teaching a great group of kids and adults, and it is by far one of the best towns we have ever lived in.
Danica and I both come from hard-working blue collar families. We believe that if we produce upper level horses and prove we could compete with the ‘best of the best’, that hopefully we can get some owners that wanted us to ride for them, and to be a part of our journey and goals, which include the Olympic Games and the World Championships. So far, this has not happened for us quite yet. With the struggling getting harder and harder, we decided on this opportunity with the facility we found in California. It would mean we would have a place year round (to train) so the financial loss of moving each winter, and the need for experienced instruction, would make things more feasible.
Eight months later after fracturing a tibia, including a couple of torn ligaments, and going through rehabilitation, teaching a great group of students, fabulous weather and the best supportive wife, we are packing up to go to Rolex and then moving to North Carolina. Shocking! I know. We thought it would be the best move under current (personal) circumstances at the facility here in California. Some ask why not try another part of California? There are several reasons for this move. I’m looking to produce 4* horses and need a particular set up to do so, including land and terrain. Danica has goals to jump at the top of the show jumping circuit, and I believe we need to breed some top level jumpers and produce them.
The costs and hard work for all of this is an abundance, but it will not keep us from trying! If we are so lucky to find others whom are willing to join us, then we will be so grateful. Until then we are determined to work hard and persevere. Or die trying, whichever comes first. LOL.
Q. How did you fair at your competitions last year, after Rolex?
Not bad. We went to Bromont, following our unfortunate tip up at the end of XC at Rolex, and he (Token) was super finishing and we have had our best show jumping round to-date. After moving to the west coast, I competed in one prelim at Copper Meadows before my accident XC schooling. More recently I finished a prelim and an intermediate horse trial in preparation for Rolex with Token.
Q. What were your coping strategies after you broke your leg last year? I bet you were very anxious to get back to training!
Through all the years I’ve been riding, and all the falls along the way, this was my first real injury. It was very hard for me to be unable to ride, walk or even just get around for so long. I remember the days taking so long when normally they just fly by. I was wanting to heal as fast as possible so I used our Respond Laser and Magnetic Blanket several times a day. I think what kept me going was thinking about, and remembering, our ride around Rolex and Bromont last spring. These events were still fresh in my mind and I could close my eyes and soak up some of the enjoyment through my memories. My wife Danica also made it possible! She took over not only riding my horses but all the students horses every week! It would have not been possible without HER!
Q. What is the strategy you are bringing to the table for Rolex this year?
I have a plan that consists of much more than last year. I have had another year with Token at the (4*) level and know him that much more. We have thought very hard (about this) and have set up a totally different schedule then last year.
This schedule starts with more outings leading up to Rolex and the daily work we will do to prepare him for his best performance while we are there. For example, pre-rides before completion, doing a jump school before dressage test, and a couple secrets! Hope it works! LOL!
Q. Do you have any ‘traditions’ that you like to follow leading up to a major horse show?
Not really! I focus on positive energy. I visualize doing well. I enjoy the whole process. Leading up I do a lot of stretching, mental exercises, physical exercises and studying and watching films of great riding. I not only want to complete these shows but I really want it to look good and have the best style I can.
Q. From the horsey side of things, what are some of Tokens’ favourite treats? His favorite things to do?
He loves carrots and Mrs. Pastures cookies! Doesn’t care for apples, loves hand grazing while getting ready to compete. In the off season being muddy and free in a field of grass!
Thanks again, Bobby, for your time and we wish you the best of luck this year at Rolex 2015!!
In a few short days I will be at Rolex and will have some fun ‘surprise’ posts to share with y’all. This includes a Rolex Kentucky Hayride Press Tour on Thursday, April 23rd with Course Designer, Kerek di Grazia, and some other fun niblets. That’s all for now, folks. Until next time, Leg-On!
Darla Aniline is a freelance blogger and equestrian sports photographer based out of Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
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