“I Saw Stars in Kentucky” Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event****

HorsesDaily Media welcomes Diana Caparulo our newest correspondent and content manager. We introduced her to the Eventing big time during her visit to Kentucky this spring, and threw a camera in her hands giving her on the scene training. An artistic writer, Diana paints a picture with her words as she shares her first “Rolex” experience.

As a newcomer to the sport of Three Day Eventing, I was mesmerized by the throngs of spectators (almost 20,000 on Saturday alone) as they brought an enthusiastic emphasis to watch and support riders; willing their horses through and over the daunting obstacles of slippery ground, ducks, fish, tables and brush.  We wished them wings of Pegasus, to fly, land lightly and ride on their way.  The crowd’s utmost respect, quiet admiration and understanding of the sport is palpable.  The hushed silence as riders and their mounts come into the zone; no-one breathes.

What a thrill to be a photographer of such a magnificent event in the Bluegrass State of Kentucky - a privilege indeed; enjoyed by thousands this past week-end. As media we were treated with respect and grace, with a wonderful luncheon provided during the mid day break on Saturday, Cross Country day. Thank you Landrover!

Cameras and lenses poised and focused; heads and hats of many colors move in unison to follow the pounding hooves and the horses grunting and panting for air.  Finally they take the leap out of the water; splashing over the last jump.  The release of tension throws the crowd into a joyous uproar.  The emotion leaves us with tears and clapping hands for their continued success.  This was only the 20th jump on their journey to complete the Cross Country discipline of this Event.

This is a place that one only dreams of.  The Kentucky Horse Park is a magnificent setting of arenas, stadiums, vendors and food courts; lush green lawns and water fountains set the stage; trees newly dressed in blossoms; their feet surrounded by trailing vines and colorful geraniums.  The pristine bluegrass perimeter surrounded by broad, brown rails; divided by footpaths to and fro.  People leading well-behaved dogs, pushing and pulling carts loaded with coolers and clothing- the weather as unpredictable as the ‘Winner of the Day’.

I come, unprepared, for my reaction to the media, in their blue “pinnies” - their diligence, hard work and perseverance to paint an accurate picture of the day’s events is commendable.  Photographers take their place, and line up with anticipation for the perfect outcome; knowing full-well the excitement and dangers of this sport, where the degree of difficulty, seems ever extreme for rider and horse. Television cameras glide eerily, manned by a solitary cinematographer, scanning the scene for the action of the moment.  Planes overhead drag their banners skillfully to persuade all to empty their purses.

The staff, judges and announcers take their positions with a confident ease.  Leader boards carry names; big names of riders and horses known to the world.  Riders who are anxious, after years of preparation and angst, to represent their respective countries at this prestigious competition.

All eyes follow William Fox-Pitt (Great Britain) on “Parklane Hawk”. His win will put him as the only contender for the Rolex Grand Slam. The Eventing award is given to any rider who wins the Rolex Kentucky, the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton and the Land Rover Burghley Four Star Events, in succession.  Hurray for the Brits.

Three Days of Bliss
Written by Diana Caparulo

My three days of blissful entertainment
Included horses, hats and high hopes!
The tempo of the day palpable
Under foot of pounding hooves
Riders at their all time best
Neat and tidy in their presence
Leather bridles, biting bits
Buckles and boots
Spit-polished to high sheen
Taught shiny muscles
Bulging on their flanks
Hard to hold
They feel the winning drive
Moving toward the starting line
Horses and riders in the zone
Simultaneous thoughts and actions
Entice them toward trophy
With exuberant crowd applause

It is, after all, Eventing at its finest!

View our image gallery!

Photos: Mary Phelps and Diana Caparulo at the Rolex water, during the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event; Holly Payne aboard Madeline at the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event. Photo: Mary Phelps - phelpsphotos.com; Jordan Linstedt moved from 50th place to 15th - soaring over the scores of the well established and expected winners. What excitement for the very young rider on “Tullibards Hawkwind”. Photo: Diana Caparulo - phelpsphotos.com; For the first time Rolex rider, embarking on this mammoth course, Jordan Linstedt moved from 50th place to 15th - soaring over the scores of the well established and expected winners.  What excitement for the very young rider on “Tullibards Hawkwind”.