Tim Price and Wesko tied in 1st at Rolex Kentucky - photo by Calina

Tim Price and Wesko, tied in 1st place at Rolex Kentucky – photo by Calina

There was so much to love at this year’s Rolex dressage—especially from the comfort of my home with no wind, no lines for food, and two cats in my lap. Just kidding…I’m super jealous of all the people who were able to watch the top riders in the world in person, especially as many of them managed to make the test look easy in an electric environment.

Here were a few of my favorite moments:

Michael Jung’s no-big-deal lead changes. As the commentators noted, “It’s just another step.” This is definitely something I aspire to, considering most days, it takes me about 25 steps to get a complete lead change.

lead-change

USEF Network

The Rolex rookie mustang tamer who finished day 1 of dressage in 5th place.  Elisa Wallace started strong and held on to her top 10 position till Friday afternoon. And she did a mustang demonstration!

International excellence. At the end of dressage day 2, we’ve got riders from four different countries in the top five. It’s pretty awesome to see riders coming from as far away as New Zealand—and the fact that the competition is heating up between the top 3 riders William Fox-Pitt, Michael Jung and Tim Price, all of whom have already won a CCI****.

William Fox-Pitt and Bay My Hero - photo by Calina

William Fox-Pitt and Bay My Hero – photo by Calina

Hometown hero Colleen Rutledge. I have to say I was especially thrilled to see Colleen and Covert Right in the top five after dressage, since she hails from my home state of Maryland!

Bunnie Sexton’s Road-to-Rolex story. From thinking that she would never go beyond Advanced and running an event barn for several years on to competing at Bromont and making it to Rolex at age 53, Bunnie’s story shows that riding dreams only grow closer the more experience you have, and gives inspiration to anyone who thinks their best eventing years may have passed them by.

Live scoring for each movement on the USEF Network feed. I’m pretty sure that’s new this year. I think it’s a great way to get non-dressage people to understand what they’re looking at, since it’s instantly obvious which parts of the test were strong and which were weak.

jimmie-schramm-dressage-shoulderin

Jimmie Schramm’s dressage skillz

And this is just the beginning….As usual, Rolex weekend is bound to have twists and turns that no one could expect, so who knows who will be at the top of the leaderboard tomorrow. I can’t wait!

Lauren Kieffer and Veronica - photo by Calina

Lauren Kieffer and Veronica – photo by Calina