Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rolex 2011: Show Jumping!

Sunday dawned gloomy and rainy, and thunder echoed in the distance as we got ready at the hotel. I was cursing myself for forgetting my camera's rain sleeve but I took all my equipment anyway just in case the weather cleared up.

We stopped for some coffee on the way to the show grounds and excitedly re-hashed XC day and made predictions for who might win. Mary King had a pretty strong lead with her two horses but I was rooting for Lainey Ashker, whom I've been following for quite a while. She is a true inspiration and a genuinely nice person to boot. We made our way to the show grounds and piled out of the car just as the sun came out...yay! I was so happy.

The sheer size of the ring and the jumps together that greeted us when we entered the stadium were daunting...and we were way up on the balcony looking down at them! The people walking through the ring doing last minute checks looked like toy people compared to the standards with all the colourful poles hanging from them. It was truly a magnificent sight.

We killed some time waiting for the jumping to start by going through all of the vendor's booths again. I checked in with the ECOGOLD crew, as I'd been Facebook-ing (is that even a word?) and Tweeting all weekend for them. I also bought some souvenier t-shirts for myself and a few friends. I really wanted an Ariat zip-up jacket but couldn't justify $100 for it, so I didn't get it.

The deals in the trade fair were kind of unexciting. A lot of things I found I could buy for about the same price, or cheaper, at home. There is currently a large debate going on on the COTH bulletin boards about prices at trade fairs, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, I don't have oodles of extra cash to be spending so I HAVE to find the best deal. Even after the jumping ended when we went back at what was essentially the end of the entire event, trade fair workers were packing merchandise up to ship home instead of marking it down to sell it at the event. I ended up buying nothing at all, except the t-shirts.

Before we knew it, the jumping was starting. We were so excited! We had purchased the most expensive tickets but somehow ended up literally almost at the top of the nosebleed section in the bleachers. :( I wish we had been closer, but I was grateful to have my long lense.

I have about 40 photos from the day. Please do not steal my photos - I spend a lot of money investing in equipment and a lot of time editing and organizing them so that I can share them with you. It is like a punch in the gut to see them posted as other peoples' work or without credit to me.

Meeting Lainey Ashker! One of the highlights of my weekend.

Kelly Prather and Ballinakill Glory were the first to jump. They came in, had a clean round, and made it look easy as pie.

Hamish Cargill and Sandhill’s Tiger, who had a rough round with 24 faults. It was suddenly clear that this was NOT an easy course at all.

Kelly Sult and Hollywood USA

Peter Barry and Kilrodan Abbott

Heather Morris and Slate River

Jessica Hampf and High Society III

Lainey Ashker and Anthony Patch

Lainey Ashker and Anthony Patch, both happy after a great round.

James Alliston and Jumbo’s Jake

Susan Beebee and Prowler

Michael Pollard and Icarus - this horse was really cute.

Missy Ransenhousen and Critical Decision

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Eagle

Olivia Loiacono and Subway

James Alliston and Parker II

Joe Meyer and 19yo Snip

Karen O’Connor and Quintus 54

Kim Severson and Tipperary Liadhnan, who looked exhausted through the whole round.

Kim Severson and Tipperary Liadhnan

Boyd Martin and Remington XXV

Jessica Phoenix and Exploring

Jessica Phoenix and Exploring

Oliver Townend and ODT Sonas Rovatio

Mary King and Fernhill Urco

Mary King and Fernhill Urco

William Fox-Pitt and Neuf Des Coeurs

Hannah Sue Barnett and St. Barth’s

Hannah Sue Barnett and St. Barth’s

Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master

Sinead Halpin and Manoir de Carneville

Sinead Halpin and Manoir de Carneville. Sinead was overcome with emotion after her beautiful round. It was moving to watch!

Clayton Fredericks and Be My Guest

Mary King and King’s Temptress

Mary King and King’s Temptress

King's Temptress and her groom.

Sinead congratulating "Tate" on their third place finish, which is VERY impressive.

Mary King's victory lap.

Mary King with her two horses, whom she placed first and second on, which is a new record for Rolex as it has never happened before.

We drove home yesterday and the drive back was way more painful than the drive to KY. We didn't get stuck in much traffic, but it just seemed to go on forever...and ever...and ever. We were all exhausted and I was so glad to be able to sleep in my own bed last night.

More highlights from the trip coming up.


  1. Great pictures..LOVE the last one! :) What an impressive round she displayed on those two!!!

  2. Very cool! Gorgeous photos. So glad you got to go.

  3. You are a wonderful photographer! Great shots. I think I liked your candids even better than the jumping ones. Sounds like an awesome road trip!

  4. I loved looking at the pictures!!

    What an awesome rider and horses... 2 horses and she gets the top two spots! You know she was super happy with that!!

  5. Great great photos! I tried (and failed)once to take photos like this. Sounds like a great time.

  6. Wow, I can't believe your pictures are that good from the back of the stands! Incredible!

    That last picture of Mary King and her two horses is really cute.

  7. Love your pics! what a fun weekend :) Being at work suckssssssss

  8. Thanks everyone!! I am glad you enjoyed the photos!

  9. Just gorgeous! I love that Mary King got first and second. And the third place horse is dreamy:)


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