We got up early to beat the traffic to Rolex. Luckily there wasn't any traffic since I think a lot of people held off to avoid the predicted rain and thunderstorms. And also we were super early. In addition to beating traffic, the nice thing about getting there so early was that we arrived before the rain really started and we also were the first people to arrive at the Kentucky Club.
Kentucky Club is a tent set up on Saturday near cross country jumps 7 and 8. It includes a TV showing coverage of cross country, catered lunch and breakfast, open bar and drinks. And given the torrential downpour, the most important part was the whole tent thing. Since we were the first ones there, we grabbed seats at a front table with unobstructed views of the course and the TV. It was awesome. We could see xc jumps #5, #6, #7a&b, and #8,9ab from our seats.
View from our seats
8 and 9A&B were the Park Question - brush - down a steep hill to a ditch - up a steep hill to another brush. Each element was only one stride away from the previous. It caused quite a few of the refusals and other problems throughout the day so it was a really interesting jump to watch. Not as fun as the head of the lake, but still fun. 7 A&B were the frog pond, which involved a large drop into water and was also fun to watch.
This combination was a mess in the mud. Around 1pm it stopped raining and we ventured out to get a closer view of the jumps. They had workers in between every rider stamping down the mud and trying to put the ground back together. In the video below you can see the horse land and slide down the muddy track.
We went back to the tent to watch the last few riders go as the big names were all last and we wanted to see them go over all the jumps on the tv, not just the jumps we could see from one spot.
Kentucky Club was totally worth it. In the few minutes I spent standing in line for the bathrooms, I got very wet and was very cold. I cannot imagine spending the whole day out in the rain. Even without the rain, I think I'd do it again for the convenience.
When xc finished, we went back to shopping. I picked up some Equiflexsleeves. I'm skeptical, but we'll see how well they work. If they work, I'll be thrilled to not have to wrap anymore. I also got some Irideon denim breeches on sale for only $45. I ordered a sheepskin liner for my TSF shoulder relief girth. They didn't have my size and color in stock so they're shipping it to me. My husband picked up a dressage girth for his treeless saddle. And I got a cool Kerrits vest from Animals to Wear.
Animals to Wear vest on the left, denim breeches on the right
As we were shopping, I finally lost battery on my phone. The cell signal was not capable of handling the number of people at the event trying to use their phones. The constant attempts to connect just killed my battery. It was really frustrating as I was trying to meet up with some other bloggers in attendance and missed texts. Total bummer :(
After shopping, we finally left the park and went into Lexington to get dinner. We went to Nick Ryan's Saloon and it was really nice. I had butternut squash ravioli, which was so yummy. The place had a great atmosphere - a lot like a swanky horsey country club, but they are casual dress so they tolerated our muddy appearance.
After dinner, we drove back to the horse park to watch freestyle reining. Freestyle is a lot more fun than regular reining. There are costumes and cool music. There were also a bunch of eventers doing guest appearances on borrowed reining horses. I don't remember all the names, but David O'Connor was one of the celebrity appearances. A few of the active Rolex eventers also showed up. No one wore a helmet (sigh), but it was still fun to watch.
David O'Conner Reining
As evidenced by the terrible quality of the above picture, the lighting wasn't good enough for pictures. One of the best performances was Laura Sumrall's Frozen reining performance. It was awesome.
After reining, we headed back to the hotel to pack all of our stuff so we could head straight to the park in the morning.