Four riders representing the Professional Riders Organization (PRO) who are in town to compete in the 2015 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Presented by Land Rover, and one rider that will be competing in the Kentucky Reining Cup, will be making a special trip to Kentucky Children's Hospital in Lexington on Tuesday, April 21, prior to the start of the competitions. International event riders Allison Springer, Sharon White, Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp and 2012 Olympian Will Coleman, along with two-time National Reining Horse World Champion Lyndsey Jordan, will be visiting with children undergoing treatment at the hospital, and will be bringing Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and Kentucky Reining Cup souvenirs for them to enjoy. Last year, event riders Buck Davidson, Jonathan Holling, Jennie Brannigan and Lynn Symansky had the opportunity to spend time with the young patients at the hospital, and thoroughly enjoyed their visit.
"For me the neatest thing about it was the first little boy we visited," said Brannigan. "When we first walked in, he was overwhelmed by all of us being there, but then Buck and I got him to open up, and that was really rewarding. It was fun to spend the time with them."
Jordan, a Kentucky Reining Cup competitor who lives in nearby Georgetown, KY, will be making her third consecutive visit to the hospital this year.
"Their stories really inspire all of us - they're really, really tough little kids," said Jordan. "It's a blessing to be there."
"It means so much to the children and their families to have the riders come visit before the competitions," commented Kristi Lopez, Director of Public Relations for the hospital. "They get so excited to meet them in person and talk about what it's like to be a competitor at such prestigious events as the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and Kentucky Reining Cup."
"Rolex Kentucky" is one of the world's most prestigious equestrian competitions, and is one of only six Four-Star Three-Day Events in the world and the only one in the Western Hemisphere. This year's prize money has been increased to $300,000 - with $100,000 going to the winner along with a Rolex watch. This year's event is also an official selection trial for the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and will help determine which US event riders will be chosen to compete at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, next July. The event is a part of the FEI Classics Series, which unites the top four-star international Eventing competitions from around the world, and also gives competitors a shot at the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, which is awarded to any rider who wins the Rolex Kentucky, Mitsubishi Motors Badminton and Land Rover Burghley Four-Star Events in succession.
The Dubarry of Ireland Nations Team Challenge will be featured again this year, awarding $20,000 in prize money while helping national teams prepare for the team competition at the Pan American Games this summer. Teams will be determined by a random draw on Wednesday after First Horse Inspection. The draw will include all willing participants separated by nation and nations with 3 or 4 athletes will automatically be a team. Nations with less than 3 athletes will be grouped together and drawn as a combined team. The team with the lowest combined scores after all three phases will win. Prize money will be awarded to three top four teams.
Held in conjunction with the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is the $120,000 Kentucky Reining Cup, April 24-25, the crown jewel of the annual FEI Reining schedule, which features The Adequan/USEF Open Reining National Championship, as well as the World Freestyle Championship.
Known to fans as "The Best Weekend all Year," the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event offers something for everyone: the highest-level of equestrian competitors, tailgating, music, shopping, bourbon tastings, and, new this year, a 5K and a Commemorative Maker's Mark Bottle Fundraising Auction and Reception. Visitors also receive general admission to the Kentucky Horse Park, America's only theme park dedicated to horses.
Horses and Hope, a breast cancer initiative of the Office of Kentucky's First Lady and the Kentucky Cancer Program (KCP), has been named the Official Charity of the 2015 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover and will be the recipient of the proceeds from the Maker's Mark Commemorative Bottle Auction and Reception. Tickets to this fundraising event are $200 per individual or $300 per couple. A voucher worth $100 will be included with each individual or couple ticket purchased. That voucher can be used during the bottle auction. Tickets will not be available at the door. Limit of one bottle per ticket. Call (859) 254-8123 to order tickets. Equestrian Events, Inc. has a long history of making financial contributions to charities that support local equine interests and serve the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The mission of Horses and Hope is to work alongside the state's equine industry to provide breast cancer awareness, education, screenings, and treatment referrals. Since the program was founded in 2008, Horses and Hope has reached nearly 1 million race track and horse show attendees, and educated nearly 16,000 equine employees. The program has screened nearly 700 workers and detected breast cancer in three individuals who have received treatment.