Rolex is a 4 start event. . . the only 4 star in the US. It's the highest level of 3 Day Eventing and it's often part of the Olympic selections, as it was this year. I'll try to explain Eventing briefly as I post the photos.
The first phase is Dressage. The horse/rider pair will ride a dressage test on either Thursday or Friday (there are too many horses for them to get done in one day). Dressage is the discipline I ride. It's "dancing" with your horse. You must complete a certain pattern with certain movements at certain points in the arena. (similar to figure skating) Each movement is scored give up to 10 points and then there are overall collective points at the end. A good score is say 70+ . . and that is reversed to 30 for eventing. In eventing the lowest score wins. So you want your dressage test to be the best that it can be because you won't be able to reduce your score after the first day.
|This is Michael Jung and Ficsherrocana. They led after dressage and proceeded to win the whole competition.|
Saturday is the second phase of the event. Cross Country!! It's the heart of eventing and probably the reason these crazy people actual do this discipline. The horse/rider combos gallop a course that is approx 4 miles with many obstacles to jump and water to go through. Some jumps are combinations of 2-3 jumps, so there are even more jumping efforts than the amount of numbered jumps. There is an optimal time to complete the course and if you go over you get points added to your score from dressage. If you have a refusal or another jumping penalty (broken pin, etc) you get points added. If you fall you are eliminated. It rained all day on Saturday and was pretty miserable. The course got muddier and harder on the horses as the day went on.
|Again this is the winning horse/rider - Michael Jung and Fischerrocana|
On Sunday the riders have to present their horses in what is called a "jog". The riders are not on the horses, but they lead them in a trot away and back from a panel of vets. If they pass (at this level they most always do) they proceed to the last phase of the competition. This is Show Jumping. . . it's a course inside an arena. There is a time limit just like in cross country. Time over adds to your score. Rails down and refusals also add to your score. Remember lowest score wins. These riders are riding horses that are pretty tired at this point and the rails can fall very easily!
|The winning pair|