Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rolex Three Day Event

Equestrian eventing has been called the ultimate riding challenge!

The Kentucky Rolex Three Day Event is held every year at the Kentucky Horse Park. This annual event takes place next weekend and is usually one week before the Kentucky Derby.

No matter if you are an eventer yourself or just love the outdoors and the athleticism of these majestic creatures - this weekend has something for everyone!

The first day of competition is Dressage. This discipline judges the gaits, suppleness, and obedience of the horse through a series of prescribed movements.
The second day is the cross-country course. Also known as the real meat of the sport! During this phase the team, of horse and rider, compete through speed, courage, boldness, and trust.

The course consist of 12 - 20 fences placed on a long outdoor circuit. They are solidly built natural objects as well as water, ditches, drops and combinations. Speed is a factor, with the rider required to cross the finish line within a certain time frame.

The stadium jumping is the third day of the competition. In this phase 12 - 20 fences are made into a course to test the obedience, fitness and stamina of horse and rider.

Grand Prix riders must have a plan as to how they want to meet each jump in terms of speed, distance, and angle as well as a plan for the pace and balance needed between each jump.

The horse and rider able to complete all three challenges are awarded the prestigious honor of winning Rolex's Three Day Event!

The course is filled with thousands of spectators walking from jump to jump or even setting up in front of their favorite jump to watch the steady stream of competitors gallop by.
A long lens and fast shutter speed are needed to capture the excitement and energy in these competitors.

The horse provides the athletic effort. The rider is the brains of the operation, making swift and often subtle adjustments as the competition progresses.

Any bond between man and horse is strong, but in eventing that bond is more exaggerated than in any other venture. Riders have to know their horse emotionally and physically - and use this knowledge to work as a team.

While viewing and photographing this event I am fascinated by how close a spectator could sit and watch, experiencing the physical and emotional bond shared by competitors and their mounts.
I love combining my love of photography and horses. This event brings the best of both worlds. The willingness of these beloved creatures and the partnership that is formed over years of preparation. To see the results of this dedication and commitment makes for a wonderful weekend in the blue grasses of Kentucky.


carolyn said...

Though the competition is serious and of high caliber intensity. The cute squirrels in the pictures add some interesting contrast to the overall series.

Good shots

Susan Kozlowski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan Kozlowski said...

Thank you carolyn! The squirrels were also used in the cross country course the day before. Their tails were incorporated into one of the jumps. You have to admire the course designers for their creativity, interest and technical challenges when putting these courses together!


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