Rolex Schedule Modified for Weather

The Saturday cross country schedule at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event has been changed due to the onslaught of wet weather over the past several days. The cross country phase of the CCI**** division will begin at 9:30 a.m., while the Bayer Modified Four Star Three-Day Event will run in the afternoon. Originally, the Modified was set to begin at 9:00 a.m. to be followed by the CCI**** division. The schedule change should offer better ground conditions over the four phases of cross country for riders still trying to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Kent Allen, DVM, of Virginia Equine Imaging, who is chair of the Veterinary and Equine Drugs and Medications committees of the United States Equestrian Federation, and a veterinary official at the event, explained on Thursday the effects soggy weather will have on horses as they take on the cross country course. "If it would stop raining for about 12 hours, it will be quite nice. The biggest danger is horses sliding into obstacles, and horses jerking shoes and running the course unshod," he said.

This year, event organizers are hosting a modified four star that is in part patterned after the format to be used for the Olympic Games in Athens. Open only to U.S. citizens and foreign riders residing in North America who have already qualified for the Olympic Games under FEI rules, the modified division marks the first time that horses and riders will have the opportunity to run the shortened distance prescribed for Athens.

Allen said horses will be presented with more cross country jumping efforts over a shorter distance than typical for three-day events. He said, "Instead of the long gallops between obstacles, over the short distance there are more twists, turns, and re-presenting to obstacles." He explained that the longer distances can mean more fatigue for the horses. "Fatigue is what leads to tendon injury," he said.

"But the question is--what will the twisting and turning do to the horses in the short format? We're all finding that out now--we're going to get a taste here at Rolex," Allen said. "Hopefully (the shorter distance) will be an improvement for the horse."

Jane Atkinson, Event Director and Executive Vice-President of Equestrian Events, producers of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, explained, "Some of the riders in the full CCI are still trying to qualify for the Olympic Games, and we want to give them the best conditions to do that. The riders in the full four star event have to complete phases A, B, and C as well as D, and we want each of them to go over ground that offers the same conditions in Phase D as they had in the first three phases.

"The reason we are making this change is due to the heavy amount of rain over the last few days," continued Atkinson. "Originally, we had the full four star (scheduled) in the afternoon, but the weather has forced us to make the change."

Offering $190,000 in prize money, the CCI**** Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is a qualifying competition for the 2004 Olympic Games and is one of only four CCI**** events held in the world outside the Olympics.

For full information on the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, presented by Bayer, please visit the official Rolex Kentucky website at

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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