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The Rolex Experience


Maxime Livio (France) on Qalao Des Mers

Maxime Livio (France) on Qalao Des Mers

Philip Dutton on Fernhill Fugitive

Zara Tindall (GBR) on High Kingdom

Zara Tindall (GBR) on High Kingdom

Matthew Brown on Super Socks

Michael Jung on FischerRocana over fence #28 Lucky Horseshoe

Michael Jung on FischerRocana, with mom, after Stadium Jumping and winning the Rolex

Buck Davidson on Petite Flower

Buck Davidson on Petite Flower

Prince Philip Cup winning team: Carolina/Midsouth/South composite team, Demolition: Jessena Defler, Mary Ledford, Sarah Beckwith, and Henley Younts.

Buck Davidson with Ballynoe Castle RM, Reggie, at his retirement ceremony on Sunday at the Rolex Ky 3-Day Event.
By Brenda Black

My observations from the Rolex [Kentucky Three-Day Event] are pretty simple – it really is the greatest weekend all year! (April 27-30, 2017)

I had the great fortune of traveling with a group of young riders, ages 12-15, from Brookstone Farm, trained by Clare Tyner White (see IMG 1993). As many times as I have attended the Rolex over the years, I always find something new and exciting. This year it was watching through the eyes of these young, hopeful eventers. They could easily see the dedication and caring it takes to get to the top of this sport, and I think a lot of personal commitments were made to become a better rider and horse person.

A few of us got up early on Sunday morning to watch the jog and marveled at the beautiful turnout of both horses and riders. Our group walked the entire cross country course, and sat on pins and needles during stadium jumping. We were all happy to celebrate Michael Jung’s three-peat win!

I was pleased to see a large number of “repurposed racehorses” competing. Given the opportunity for alternate careers, these wonderful creatures excel in many different disciplines. As horse lovers, it makes us all happy to see them come off the track, find wonderful new homes, and continue to utilize their athletic abilities in partnership with their riders. 

The sheer number of volunteers who help make the Rolex a successful event, ranging from outriders to jump judges and beyond, is huge!

In addition to the CCI**** event, there were plenty of U.S. Pony Club activities going on over this weekend as well. On Friday April 28 and Saturday April 29, the Prince Philip Cup Games Rounds 1 and 2 were held in the Walnut Ring, with four teams competing this year: (1) a Carolina/Midsouth/South composite team, “Demolition;” (2) Midsouth Region team, “Turn N Burn;” (3) Midwest Region team, “It’s A Games Thing;” and (4) Sunshine Region team, “Butterfingers.” On Sunday, the presentation of the USPC Prince Philip Cup Teams took place in the Rolex Stadium just prior to the Opening Ceremony and the Show Jumping phase of the CCI**** event. Winners were the Carolina/Midsouth/South composite team, Demolition: Jessena Defler, Mary Ledford, Sarah Beckwith, and Henley Younts.

The Prince Philip Pony Club Games were really fun to watch. The teams were well supported by family and friends in matching team colors, cheering loudly from the sidelines. Pony Club members participated in the Opening Ceremony for the final leg of the three day competition by presenting flags from each country represented at the Rolex. Several of the flag bearers were from Middle Tennessee and I could see that my group of young riders made a mental note to get their own flag carrying spots in future years!

The International Trade Fair at the Rolex offer opportunities for all interests, with over 200 vendors! Horse-related items dominate, with equine nutrition and supplements, equine products and equipment, farm equipment, riding apparel, saddles, tack and equipment. But there are also designer and sport clothing and accessories; paintings, prints and sculpture; crafts; jewelry; gift items and souvenirs and many other offerings make the Trade Fair a favorite place for browsing and buying at any time during the Rolex.  We put the saying “shop until you drop” to the test. The incredible display of vendors can’t be described – it must be experienced.

If you want to have the Rolex Experience next year, mark your calendar for April 26-29, 2018, and visit for more information.
IMG_1933: Photos of girls at last cross country jump. Riders from Brookstone Farm, trained by Clare Tyner White. (Photo by Vanessa Stacy)

Photos by Brenda Black:

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