Andrew Nicholson on Quimbo at the Head of the Lake - photo by Cindy Lawler

Andrew Nicholson on Quimbo at the Head of the Lake – photo by Cindy Lawler

Course design is a funny thing. If you get it right, most everyone gets home; only a few make the time; and hopefully if there are any falls, they are just harmless popoffs. Well, I think Derek Di Grazia hit the nail on the head at this edition of Rolex Kentucky Three-day event. Although some favorites came to grief (first-placed Chilli Morning and William Fox-Pitt being one) some first timers made it through and some hard working riders did it right and moved up. Those that fell – Becky Holder, Marilyn Little, Ronald Zabala-Goetschal — walked away.

Some are calling the course different from morning to afternoon — as 18 of 21 finished in the morning but only 10 of 20 in the afternoon. I think there were more green pairs in the afternoon session that reflected the changes in the numbers, but there can be many reasons for horses at this level to decide not to play.

The cool part for me was getting to watch Andrew Nicholson ride two horses around Rolex. I was glued to the screen and plan on watching the replays as much as I can! Quimbo is a phenomenal horse. I liked watching him jump and I really liked watching Andrew setting him up to jump the combinations and seeing how far out he was seeing his distances. I don’t think in my lifetime I’ll get to see anyone better at this sport.

The two guys with three rides — James Alliston and Buck Davidson – came prepared, rode like wolves, and got the job done on all three horses apiece.

From Facebook posts: Buck won the Land Rover for being closest to optimum time on Mar de Amor. Madeline Blackman’s uncharacteristic stops on her wonderful Gordonstown looked due to a torn hind tendon later discovered by the vets after or on-course retirement. Lynn Symansky is ecstatic on her facebook page, thanking her sponsors and supporters for her great, clean ride on Donner in his first time around Rolex despite a broken finger. Phillip first said he may not ride Mighty Nice, then did start him saying the footing was perfect and he was going to give it a try. Alas, he came to grief at the 10th fence and retired. Mary King had her hands full chasing Fernhill Urco around and he too had to say enough before finishing. Boyd Martin retired three fences from home on the green Trading Aces.

Hawley Bennett and Gin and Juice - photo by Lauren Sumner

Hawley Bennett and Gin and Juice – photo by Lauren Sumner

Canada nailed it yesterday. Hawley Bennett and Gin N Juice was so full of herself she couldn’t get her pulled up and Kendal Lehari and Daily Edition also sailed around.

My “look out” riders are Will Faudree and Pawlow and Daniel Clasing and Houston, both rode spectactularly, Daniel as a rookie certainly looked like a worthy “Whodat” winner — a denotation given by Jimmy Wofford annually in his Rolex handicap published at The Chronicle of the Horse.

Here’s the good news – Peter Atkins said he did get footage on his helmet cam! But I’m hoping he takes care of Henny, gets through the jog and show jumps wonderfully — and then you can worry about loading up the XC video and posting it! We can wait! 🙂

I hope all horses are sound and present to the jog and go forward to an exciting showjumping.

Holly