The Rolex 3 Day Event at The Kentucky Horse Park (KYHP ) is commonly called the best weekend of the year. It always lives up to its nickname! This past weekend 59 riders from all over the world converged onto the KYHP for the only CCI 4 star in North America.
Even though the name says 3 days, the even truly goes 5 days. On Wednesday, every horse is inspected during the jogs. Thursday and Friday have Dressage split between them. If you don’t want to watch the same test over and over again, you may want to shop, watch demos and warm-ups, and walk the cross country course. Saturday is the biggest and my favorite day, cross country day! Sunday wraps everything up with Stadium Jumping day and the presentation of awards.
The last two years were dominated by Michael Jung. He is the current Olympic, European, and Rolex champion. The first year, he pulled out the win after the leader pulled a rail. Last year, he was the leader from beginning to end. This year, he got, and held onto the lead, on cross country day. Jung became the first person in the history of Rolex to win three years in a row.
The American riders were making waves as well. Phillip Dutton completed his 40th Rolex and was the highest placing American in the field. Madeline Backus showed that age isn’t everything. The 21-year-old rookie was one of the few to have a clear cross country round and ended 20th out of 39 people to make it to Sunday.
The shopping is always top notch at Rolex. Companies like Buckwild Breeches, Majyck Equipe, Hands On Gloves and much more fill the Trade Fair and Sponsor Village. The majority of the vendors have show specials and sales that are hard to beat.
Demos, signings, course walks, and fundraisers are also a big part of the weekend. There are breeds, disciplines, and programs (like the Retired Race Horse Project) that put on spectacular demos in the Walnut Ring which is right by the Rolex Stadium. Signings are a great way to meet some of the competitors and get their autograph. Course walks are a great way to see how the cross country and stadium courses will be ridden by the competitors. Every year Rolex posts the schedule of all demos, course walks, and fundraisers on their website and app.