Amidst perfect weather, three horses were held for re-inspection as the 58 horses entered in the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event were presented to the ground jury on Wednesday. Only one horse, Llewellyn, ridden by Brittany Kart of the United States, was not accepted upon re-inspection. The other two horses held for re-inspection and later accepted were Shigatzi, ridden by Canada’s Diana Burnett, and Belmont, ridden by Kate Hicks of the United States.
As always, the fashions were top-notch as riders vied for the “best dressed” title during the first horse inspection. Karen O’Connor created a buzz in a sleek white suit and heels, while Laine Ashker was dressed to the nines as always, wearing a chocolate-colored dress with dark trim that complemented Anthony Patch’s coloring nicely. Lucy Wiegersma of Great Britain was eye-catching in a colorful tailored coat, and Marilyn Little-Meredith made quite an impression at her first Rolex appearance, wearing a one-shouldered knee-length black dress.
Buck Davidson and Absolute Liberty will be the first dressage ride on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. All eyes will be on William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain on Friday morning, however, when he rides 2011 Burghley four-star winner Parklane Hawk in dressage. Fox-Pitt, the winner of Rolex in 2010, could win Rolex’s Grand Slam of Eventing by winning Burghley, Rolex and Badminton four-stars consecutively for a prize of $350,000, a feat only managed once before by Great Britain’s Pippa Funnell in 2003. Badminton takes place the week after Rolex, and Fox-Pitt will have two horses entered for a chance to win there.
Past Rolex winners Fox-Pitt, Karen O’Connor (1999), Phillip Dutton (2008) and Australia’s Andrew Hoy (2006) will all be strong contenders again this year, although they’ll have a considerable number of up-and-coming young superstars of eventing nipping at their heels. Since dressage sets the base score for the rest of each rider’s weekend, stay tuned on Thursday and Friday for dressage results to see who will be in the running at the end of the competition to take home the top prize.
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Ooh, excited to see how each horse and rider will fare. The whole horse-inspection fashion bit is rather laughable; it’s too bad that vanity always seems to creep into horse sports, even at the highest levels where one might think that the competitors would be more concerned with their mounts, their riding, and the competition. Fancy dresses and heels do not have their place around horses, I am afraid–us women really need to set our vanity aside for just one second when dealing with high-charged half-ton equine athletes that are prone to frisking and spooking, not to mention wiping their faces on evening finery.
I THINK THAT THIS IS THE BEST SPORT EVER!