Wow--has this Rolex ever been an unpredictable ride! I was thrilled that so many women (and so many relatively new faces) were in the top 5....but the horses (and riders) were tired, the announcer was PILING on the pressure ("and for Polly, the first rail will be a $15,000 rail..."), and the huge crowd was enough to make anyone nervous. So yesterday's ranking looked quite different by the end of the day today.
Unlike last year, there were really no "bugaboo" fences (the liverpool claimed several victims last year). Instead, it was time faults and downed rails.
Becky Holder, who'd done such an incredible job to this point, simply had a rough course. Four rails down, plus 8 time penalties, and suddenly she went from first to not even in the top 10. That's really a shame--perhaps that's the experience that she needed to come back and win next year.
Heidi J. White, however, plugged on with only two rails down, and moved up to second place. Good for her!
But it was experience that won the day (and the event): Andrew Hoy, who'd already jumped the course once on Yeoman's Point (with two rails down), went double clear on Master Monarch to move up from sixth place to first. Well done, Andrew. You have to love a guy, too, who thanks his horse when accepting his rolex/award.
Another experienced trooper, Stephen Bradley, moved up from 12th to third with a double clean round. Similarly, Phillip Dutton moved from a tied 13th place to fourth in the same manner.
Amy Tryon, who I'd love to see win this thing, remained in fifth place with two rails down and one time penalty.
Ok, ladies--was it nerves? Being tired? Lack of experience? The horses? I know you are the best!! More of you went double clear yesterday than men--what did they have today that you didn't have??
Midland native Will Faudree moved up from 11th to 6th with no rails, but two time faults. I honestly think, too, that we had dinner right next to his table at Ted's Place. I wanted to tell him that I was terribly proud of him, but, uh, it MIGHT not have been him....
Bravo to Ursala Brush and Bru McGuire, who finished Rolex with a whopping 231.8 penalty points. That took courage; the more experienced folks simply dropped out. Good for you, Ursala!
The rain held off until the last three riders--the Rolex weather gods/goddesses were kind to us this year.
So until next year, goodbye to lush, green fields, to stately trees, neatly manicured fences, undulating landscapes, mares and foals in emerald pastures, and all the fecundity that is Kentucky. Congratulations to each and every one of the riders and horses, their grooms and support systems, and to all the people that make eventing such an incredible sport.
And congrats to the wee one back in TX, who's started to treat the nurse mare as his momma.