Thursday, April 23, 2009

Live from Rolex, day 1: Dressage short takes

This morning I woke up at 3:50am to make my 6:03am flight. You'd think after landing in Lexington at 10:30am, the first thing I'd want would be a nap. Well, yes. That's what I wanted. But when I drove into the parking lot of the one-star hotel in the exurbs of Lexington, my chances of restful sleep seemed dim.

It is a dump. The manager claims that I have not pre-paid, which I'm certain I did, through Priceline, but my paperwork doesn't indicate that. As of now I've paid for this room twice. But no matter, I'll straighten that out shortly.

My standards for clean are not the same as my mother's but even I raised an eyebrow at the lobby. If the check-in counter was crumb-laden and sticky, what hope is there for my room? And the clientele seemed, well, a bit sketchy. So I got my keys, took my luggage into the room, removed all valuables from said luggage, locked it in the trunk, and headed for Rolex!

What I learned today...

Even if you buy a grandstand ticket to watch dressage -- which I didn't do this year -- you're still awfully far away. This footage of Jan Bynny, taken an elbow away from the event security checkpoint, closer than many of the cheap seats...

I mean, really, can you see anything? The view from my window seat on my flight would be about as intimate.

My recommendation? The warmup ring!
Watch the warmups -- it's intimate, instructive(you can sometimes hear the coach give advice) and you get to see the support team in action. Here are some short takes from the warmup area today:

Bettina Hoy (Germany) and Ringwood Cockatoo
Jimmy Wofford says "if you watch only one dressage test this week, this is the one." Looking at those gaits, and that nice flying change, I can see why. Interestingly, he's an Irish Sport Horse.

Ashley Adams and Vaunted, I think
You can just catch a little bit of the coach's advice in the video.

Corrine Ashton and Dobbin

Fourteen year old Dobbin is apparently the uber-eventer, horse of the year and all that. Jimmy Wofford writes, "He jumps around the Horse Park as if someone had shown him the course map the night before." I'm sure Corrine is no slouch. Don't you wish more modern thoroughbreds moved like this?

A smidget of trot, just to give you a gander -- nice suspension!

What else, what next?

Oh, oh, forgot to mention, a young man of 23 who looks to be about 12, Tim Lips from the Netherlands, smoked the competition this afternoon. He has been training with Anky van Grunsven of late, and it shows, with a dressage score of 42. I saw him interviewed and his team's reaction when his scores were finalized. In the warmup ring of course!

The rest of tonight I'm going to read up on Keeneland -- would love to see a morning workout before heading over to the event, if they work out on Fridays. I want to watch Buckingham Palace, Wonderful Will, and The Good Witch. All thoroughbreds -- shocker, huh?


  1. Feel better, don't venture into Waffle House, eat at Sams when you can and see you on Saturday

  2. Remember it's Ramsey's Diner now, not the place we said originally -- will probably try to call folks Friday...

  3. Thanks for sharing the videos! I'll have to check them out this weekend. Have fun and try not to spend too much, oh never mind, ignore me! Haha Have fun!

  4. EEk! What's with Bettina Hoy and deep? Has she been training with Anky? Thank you so much for sharing these. I know it's a lot of work. At least your motel has internet!

  5. it was interesting to read your comments on being there...a friend of mine told me yesterday her product she sells may have a booth there next year and I told her I would go with her to help sell it...and I wondered if the dressage ring felt miles away from watching the online stuff yesterday....

  6. Bettina's horse is way overbent. Is that just for schooling or does the test look the same. Spoils it for me, that's for sure.

    Have to admit, the dressage has really improved over the years. Years ago up at Gladstone (NJ) when I scribed, there were not a lot of good rides like we see today.


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