Rolex KY 3-Day Event

I think I really need to do a major renovation on this page. Until I get around to it, here's a quick link to the 2005 report and the 2006 report.

2007 report is here.

Are you a seriously addicted horse nut? Here are a couple of questions to measure your level of addiction.

When somebody says "Kentucky" and "horses", what event immediately springs into your mind?

What's the first thing that you think of when somebody says "Rolex"?

If you answered "Derby" to the first, or "watches" to the second, you have a lot to learn. The Derby is more about celebrities, parties, and hype than horses. The ultimate horse event in Kentucky is the weekend before the Derby: the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Its name is due to substantial sponsorship by the company that makes those expensive watches that cost as much as a good horse. Their sponsorship has done a good job of embedding their name in our minds, even if we forget what their real product is. The Rolex Event, referred to simply as "Rolex" by its devoted fans, is the ultimate annual horse event in Kentucky, and probably in North America. It's the only annual 4-star 3-day event in North America, and one of ony four in the world. There's a lot more horse action to see in a 3-day event than a 2-minute race; and you can really see it up close.

What's a 3-day event, you ask? Short answer is 3 days of impressive equestrian action. For a longer answer, I'll just refer you to the United States Eventing Association. It's their job to represent the sport, and they do it far better than I could.

If you already know what the Rolex KY event is, and are just looking for official information about the upcoming 2005 event, you might want to check out the official Rolex KY site. This is just an unofficial personal site maintained by an event groupie who has absolutely no affiliation with Rolex, Equestrian Events, or any other organization or individual responsible for the event. I'm just having fun showing off pictures and seeking that 15 minutes of fame promised by Andy Warhol.

If you're interested in pictures of previous events, or the escapades of the Internet Equestrians, or finding out what this group might be up to in 2005, read on.

The Kentucky Horse Park outside of Lexington, Kentucky is sort of a Mecca for horse lovers around the country (and around the world). And for those who wish to make the pilgrimage, one of the best (and most popular) times to visit the park is the last weekend of April, when the Rolex Kentucky 3-day Event is held. This event is the only CCI four-star 3-day event in North America. It also serves as a selection trial to assist the USET in selecting competitors for World Championships and Olympics in years when those events occur.

With equestrian enthusiasts from around the world converging on the Horse Park, it's not surprising that there would be a gathering of Internet Equestrians. Who or what are these people? For at least the last 15 years, horse lovers such as myself with access to the Internet have been using it to communicate with like-minded souls around the world, as described on my Electronic Equestrians page. These geographically diverse cyber-riders have become familiar with each other, and each other's horses, without ever meeting in person. When a bunch of them are going to be in the same location, it makes sense to attempt to meet and attach a face to the email personality.

For a few years, there were some hit-or-miss (mostly miss) attempts to meet at Rolex. Then in 1995, Jenni Armstrong and her superior organizational skills entered the picture, turning to the net in search of enough others who would join together to get a group discount. There was a lot of interest, and the First Annual Internet Equestrians Rolex Gathering took place. Kendt Eklund took a bunch of pictures and allowed me to steal some of them, resulting in the birth of this site.

1996 was even better. We had a larger group, and with some organization and bargaining by Tammy Makela (the official USCTA Area 8 webmaster), we even ended up sponsoring a jump. I took a few pictures of the festivities, and Teresa Winning provided a bunch of cross-country pictures.

And we were back again in 97. I finally decided it wasn't too much trouble to carry a camera around the course, so I provided my own photography instead of relying on others. Here's the exclusive report, with links to photographic coverage of cross-country and stadium jumping .

And in 1998, the story is about the same, with the added excitement of the first North American **** event. My photographic endeavors were a little distracted, but I still managed to get some pictures of cross country and stadium jumping.

The story is pretty much the same for 1999 and 2000. Just follow the links for exclusive photographic coverage.

In 2001, I was there once again, with many of the usual suspects. I got a little lazy with the photography, though. I decided I wanted to relax and watch the event, instead of spending the weekend squinting through a camera viewfinder taking pictures of people I don't know to post on a website for people I don't know to look at. I did take some pictures, and here they are.

2002 was a fairly interesting year. I managed to take a few more pictures than I did in 2001, although not as many as some previous years. Here they are.

I never got around to writing much on the Rolex 2003 web page, but all the competition pictures are available; it's just lacking my exclusive narrative touch.

In 2004, for better or worse, my natural verbosity returned, and I can delight you with words and pictures.

Other Interesting Sites

Official Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event site
Just like it says, this is the official site for the event, brought to you by Equestrian Events, Inc. This site was born in 1997, and has grown and improved immensely over the subsequent years. If you haven't checked it out recently, it's definitely worth a click.
Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau
If you're going to make the pilgrimage to Lexington for Rolex (or for any other purpose), advance planning is important, and this site is a gold mine. It has information about transportation and accomodations in the area, as well as other attractions to visit if you have time for anything besides the event.
Other Eventing Links
My Equestrian Disciplines page has a list of links to other 3-day-eventing sites (not specifically Rolex).

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