Rolex 2017: Cross Country

My legs were on fire when I stepped out of bed. Not only had I walked far more than I did at home, but walking on all the asphalt and concrete in only sneakers was apparently not a good mix. I was so slow, but the two girls I’d met the previous day were absolute champs in slowing down for me so I could keep up with them walking the course before it all started. I met up with them at the head of the lake, then walked all the way to the finish with them.

We ended up somewhere near the back of the stables since that’s where the start/end point was, and it was aaaaaaaaall uphill to try to make it back to the course much less the Hollow.

So. Far. Away.

Thankfully, one of the golf cart drivers took pity on the three of us. He drove the two girls to the paddocks to watch the TB presentation and he took me a ways further before I started my trek to the Hollow. I got there just in time to place my towel and sit my ass down for some much needed leg rest. Got my camera out, my food, and then we all proceeded to be quite confused when it was 9:35/9:40 and no horses had shown up yet. A few of us, myself included, grabbed the live stream and loaded it on our phones so we could watch the combinations as they came to the Hollow and then proceed to take pictures.

It was absolutely amazing watching them go. Most were huge horses and powerful, and it was just awe-inspiring. I got to see Maxime run by; his horse is a huge, giant-strided monster. I mean wow.

Maxime

Soon after the girls met up with me, and we watched a few more combinations go for about a half hour to an hour, and then we made our way down to see some other jumps.

I thought the day before that I’d park it at one fence to secure a good view, and stay there the entire day. I was actually quite happy that I’d decided to go along with the girls’ plan to mostly walk the course (AGAIN) and watch at various jumps. I got to see more horses and riders, more jumps, and it was all around a great idea for a first time at Rolex.

Phillip Dutton

Clark Montgomery
One of my faves

It was, in my opinion, perfect for my first-ever attendance at a 3 day. The course was tough and it was a bit worrying because the weather had been so hot the day before and was shaping up to be the same, but all the horses seemed in good health after they pulled up. We made our way to the lake where we saw Michi and Zara and a few others around that time frame pop into the water, and it was by far the most populated jump. People were clamoring for spots everywhere.

Michi again
Can’t remember who this was, but we all held our breath until she cleared it!

I was able to squeeze into a pretty good spot to grab some media, but after a few horses, the girls and I were done with crowds and headed over to the Whiskey Barrel table. That thing was giant. A horse in full jump from a run spanned the breadth of the table as you can see with the picture of Tim Price below. It was wider than I am tall – which is 5’5″. Something else that I will never jump over in my life.

Tim Price

 

Phillip Dutton again

There were a few things going on after cross country, but I was done with people for the day was pretty tired by the time the last horse flew by the table that I called it quits. Plus, the table was also the closest jump to my car, and short walk for sore legs was really the only thing on my mind at that time. I really need to get in better shape.

Friday evening I’d been ready to admit that I missed home and would love to go back, but after watching the cross country, I knew that Sunday and consequently leaving on Monday was going to come way too fast. I didn’t want to be home anymore. I wanted to keep watching cross country. I wanted to stay there in Lexington and soak up how green it was, how politely people drove, go visit the TB farms and get more than a passing glance of the babies.

Of course, all events have a last day, and I was determined that while I hadn’t initially found a lot Thursday and Friday, I’d shop one last time and see if there was anything else I could grab.

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