Sadly, its not the ability to successfully compete at the 4* level. Or, frankly, any level of competition governed by the FEI.

Allison Springer and Arthur at Rolex 2012 - photo by Calina

Rather, we both ride chestnuts (hers has a slightly longer resume and a chance at making the US Olympic Team, mine excels at keeping grass well cropped) and last Sunday, we both got to sit in the driver’s seat of a Range Rover.  Allison, however, clearly has the upper hand as she gets to keep hers for the next 18 months.

Allison Springer with her new Range Rover

Allison Springer driving her Range Rover on flat ground

For those who have never been to Rolex…I should probably explain. Every year that I can remember, Land Rover has delighted licensed drivers by setting up a grueling obstacle course at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Part of the Range Rover Course

This course cannot be tackled by just any vehicle. In fact, I suspect my normal ride, Edmund (an Echo hatchback), would have pulled a Boyd Martin and nearly drowned in the water hazard.

The Water Hazard

Given my challenging daily commute (only a few kilometers on a very flat road) and Edmund’s advancing age, I thought it high time that I take up the Land Rover challenge. My super Land Rover instructor Tim didn’t quite seem comfortable with me taking one for a spin all by myself, so he rode shotgun and was my assistant photographer on this little adventure.

Tim with my shiny Range Rover

With Tim as my guide, we went up and down steep hills, charged fearlessly through water of unknown depth, challenged large moguls and drove the Range Rover across a bridge and over incredibly sloped terrain.

At the crest of a steep hill - there is no need for the driver to use the gas or brake, the Range Rover regulates the speed of its descent. Very nifty.

The Range Rover can easily deal with some pretty uneven terrain!

More terrain challenges!

Small hill - sort of the vehicle equivalent to a let up fence on a cross-country course

Moguls!

The homestretch - just the water and bridge left

Despite my concerns that I would manage to flip the car, we managed to finish in one piece. I think I may just be a convert. I just need to find myself a more challenging commute to justify the purchase.

Range Rover

In all seriousness, Land Rover does a great job setting up a fun course, and their vehicles have features I hadn’t even considered possible. We are very lucky to have them as such a great sponsor of Eventing.