One event, three disciplines: Dressage, Cross-Country and the Jumping Test. The cross country competition is really the highlight of the event as thousands gather to watch horses and riders gallop over four miles of the challenging terrain, at speeds up to 25 mph, while negotiating remarkable obstacles, water hazards, banks and ditches.
It is by far the BEST and most anticipated horse weekend of the Year and is
THE ultimate test of horse and rider on the highest level of competition!
It is a CCI5* (five star) rated competition, the only one in the US and is one of the three events in the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. The event is sponsored by Land Rover. Prize money of $400,000 is distributed among the top placings with $110,000 as well as a Rolex watch awarded to the first place horse and rider.
Here is Allie Sackson (USA) with her Connemara/ TB Sparrow's Nio going over obstacle 12.
To understand the size of a jump, I think you have to see it in person! They are not just huge, they are massive and gigantic! It takes a LOT of bravery on the rider's part and a great horse to complete these jumps.
While there, I also met up with Laural, my very good friend of over 10 years and her Mom. We became really good friends after I bought Broker, my horse from her. Fun Fact: She decided to move to Las Vegas with her husband, where I lived at that time and we started our own mobile tack company called "Embellishments Tack" and even made and sold our very own FLY SPRAY!
Most people love to hang around the water obstacles, so getting any decent photos there is tough. Here is Olympic Three Day Event Rider Boyd Martin going through a series of jumps in water with his Trakehner horse Tsetserleg. He finished in second place overall!
I did get a few good water images on the other obstacles that were less crowded. Here is Hannah Burnett on Harbour Pilot, a Irish Sporthorse:
I came home with a sheer amount of amazing images, and instead of adding them all to this blog I will post them over time on my social media.
If you EVER get a chance to go to this amazing yearly event in Lexington, I can only encourage you to see the amazing athleticism of horse and rider!
I will write a separate blog about the Kentucky CSI3* Invitational Grand Prix, which took place Saturday evening, after the cross country competition.