After a leisurely morning of playing with dogs, walking in the glorious green grass of Paris, KY, visiting Quillin Leather and Tack shop, Donna and I made our way to the horse park (gawking as we went at the incredible Horse Farms along the way). I never tire of admiring the well-tended grounds, the immaculate black fences, the stately barns, and the rolling green pastures of the Kentucky horse farms around Paris Pike and Iron Works road en route to the Kentucky Horse Park.
We made it in plenty of time to wander around the various outdoor marketplaces, find our spot in the Equestrian tent (a step up from the last few years, to be sure!), and to mosey in and out of the merchants in the covered arena before trudging up to the trot up at 3:00.
When Nigel Casserley announced that "Rolex time is now 2:58, two minutes before the first horse inspection" I knew I'd arrived. There's nothing like hearing that strong British voice over the loudspeaker telling us what time it is. The stands were packed with folks who love the sport, the horses, and their riders. I sat next to a very nice gentleman, a vet from Pennsylvania Peter Blaner, who was as amiable was he was knowledgeable. He had first hand knowledge of several of the horses and riders from the Pennsylvania area, and I enjoyed sitting next to him.
The first rider to present her horse was Polly Stockton, wearing pink. Her horse, Charles Owen Tangleman, was lovely and while she had a bit of a time keeping him together, she passed with flying colors.
Karen presented both Teddy and Hugh Knows (a former Texan, I believe). and Teddy was a handful. Talk about a horse who's full of himself! Both passed without a problem.
Philip Dutton was a cool customer in his shades (though it WAS a bright, beautiful day), and both of his horses (Woodburn and Connaught). I can't wait to see Connaught in the dressage ring; he ought to do well.
Julia Steinburg seemed to be about a week early, in her yellow taffita dress and Derby hat, but she and her horse Mr. Big (who's only 15 hands tall--one of the smaller horses presented at this year's Rolex, which to Teddy must seem to be the Land of the Giants) made a fine showing.
Hawley Bennett from Canada and her lovely horse Linvingstone made a fine showing--another woman "pretty in pink", the Canadian opted for bright shocking pink for her trot up.
Can I say how INCREDIBLE Becky Holder and Courageous Comet looked? Both looked fit as a fiddle. Becky has lost weight, and I think she's the one I'll be cheering for this year. GO BECKY!
One totally uninformed observation: I want to feed Blair King something--the woman looked absolutely starved.
Two sad notes: Amy Tryon and Poggio II never presented, and While Will Faudree and Antigua presented once (and were held), the pair voluntarily withdrew. I'm sad; I would have loved to see the big bay do one last Rolex before he retired. I don't know about Poggio, but I think Antigua had an abscess. What a trooper!
There's something about starting Rolex with the first trot up. The horses are in amazing shape, the riders look ready to go, and I know this year will be a great one!