Today was our first full day at Rolex. We drove up from Ocala yesterday and arrive here around 10pm. As the horses are ‘on their way home’ from Ocala to Canada (just a little stopover in Kentucky….) we have two extra horses with us. One of these is our good friend Solo and he is stabled next door to Colombo with the big boys. Unfortunately our other traveler did not have an FEI passport. Without one, we had two choices, we could stable him on the grounds of Kentucky but in another barn complex, or we could stable him at a farm near here that was recommeded to Selena by Karl Slezak, where he could be turned out every day. Karl had put his ‘extras’ there last year. We chose Karl’s suggestion and booked Crosby into his Kentucky vacation hotel. We went there first to drop him off and we were thrilled to find a beautiful barn with lovely turnout paddocks and very nice people to greet us. Crosby got off the rig, walked into his stall, put his head down and started munching his hay. He is THE most laid back thoroughbred in the world. I wish Solo could get that particular trait.
We left Crosby, instantly content, and took Solo and Mr. C to Rolex. By this time it was about 11pm and when we got there there were no shavings in the concrete floored stalls. We knew where to go and raid the shavings containers, but we needed the truck unhooked to make off with the plunder. Dillemma – it needed two of us to load the shavings, the horses could not stay on the trailer without the truck, and the stalls were cement with nothing at all to make you feel relaxed about leaving your horse in there. In the end, we had to unload the horses and put them in the stalls. Mr. C was an old pro, looked around and said “Kentucky again I see”, meanwhile Solo was doing handstands to hindstands, back and forward, up and down, on the concrete. We tied him up…he only did handstands but he kicked the wall while he did them, we opened the doors so he could see Colombo, he did hindstands to wave to him. Finally, I just stood and held onto him for about 20 minutes until he subsided. At that point he acted like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth…”Me? get excited? behave in a juvenile fashion? No, no, no, no, you must have been mistaken” and finally Selena and I trooped off to park the rig and fill the truck with shavings. We got the stalls finished around 12.30 and headed off to look for our hotel, GPS is the invention of the century.
Made it to the hotel, 1.30am by this time, and the clerk casually mentioned something in passing about “when we booked out on Thursday” What do you mean “book out on Thursday” we have a few more things to get done at Rolex after Thursday. The hotel had confused our reservation which was from Monday to Monday, et voila, you have rider, groom and rider’s mother all out on the street. Fortunately the Fairfield Marriot, here in Lexington is being very helpful and trying hard to accomodate us so we very much hope we will have beds of some kind for the whole week as the hotels in the area are choc-a-bloc.
Everything is a big bigger, a bit brigher, and a lot more built up at the Horse Park this year. There are huge buildings here there and everywhere and construction going on all around us. This is the test competition for the WEG and today and tomorrow is a CDI. We didn’t get time to go and watch today but we hope to get there tomorrow.There is also Grand Prix show jumping on Sunday night and that is very exciting news as we always stay over until Monday before we ship back to Canada. This is going to be the best Rolex ever.
Huge problems with the European flights being cancelled. NONE of the judges made it, there are fill in judges stepping up to the plate. Ollie Townend made it this morning and was out riding today. He flew, as did others, from Madrid to Miami and then up to Atlanta, and from there to Lexington, what a nightmare. The horses were all here last week with thier respective grooms. I believe the French rider got here, have not seen William Fox Pitt yet, and I know the Irishman’s horse is here but the rider has not made it yet and it’s not looking good for him to get here before the jog up tomorrow. Hilda Donahue and Extravagance might be Ireland’s only entrant, it’s a good job she is such a super person and her diminutive form certainly holds enough energy and enthusiasm to repersent the whole of the Emerald Isle if the absolute worst happens and Geoff Curran doesn’t make it. We are all rooting for him. I am convinced he will get here, as I was convinced Ollie would get here, Eventers are nothing if not determined and tenacious people.
I have seen most of the Canadians. Sadly Sandra Donnelly is not competing, her horse having come up lame before the Fork. Nor is Will Coleman who broke his collar bone at the Fork. My good friend Bruce Davidson had to pull out because of having had some unscheduled back surgery and some of Phillip Dutton’s horses were pulled out because they double entered for Badminton…when you have that many four star eventers, you have to spread yourself around I guess. ‘So many horses, so few four stars’, must be a nice predicament to find oneself in.
This morning we began by unloading the trailer (no, we did not do it at 12 o-clock last night). It takes forever. How could one horse possibly endenger all that equipment. It would appear that Colombo travels with all his possessions and of course an entourage to load, unload, clean, and care for said possessions. He has his electromagnetic blanket that weighs a ton, his wall of tack, trunks, drawers, kits, apparell (he is nothing if not a dandy), boots, bandages, spare this and spare that, and of course his ‘go everywhere with him’, Canadian Flag. We hung that last, tacked up and rode them both. I rode Solo and can now say I have ridden at Kentucky 😉 They were both good, we hacked for about an hour at the walk, then put them in the stalls for half an hour followed by about forty minutes stretching at walk, trot and canter in one of the arenas.
Sitting outside the stall at Rolex is the best place in the world to have tack to clean. There are things to watch, people to see, dogs to pat, and a quietly charged atmosphere. All are greeting each other, hugging, laughing, and exchanging news and gossip. She of the flapping ears, who quietly sits and cleans tack, learns all sorts of intersting stuff and gets to chat to absolutely everybody who walks by. You gottal love tack cleaning at Rolex.
A quick visit to Crosby, back to the barn to feed afternoon hay and grain and now we are in our hotel until we have to go back to do late night. Selena who is going to write this Kentucky Rolex blog with me, is fast asleep, and she is going to need all the sleep she can get between now and Saturday so for today you only get me.
ROCK ON ROLEX