by: Sean Nix
Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event comes to the Kentucky Horse Park every year beginning the last Thursday in April. While Thursday and Friday’s Dressage competition and Sunday’s Stadium Jumping competition don’t really peak my interest, the Cross-Country event that’s held on Saturday is a different story. Thousands turn out each year over the course of the three day event to watch the world’s best Three Day Eventers, but the Cross-Country is what brings out the casual fans and even tailgaters.
The Cross-Country course is set with 27 challenging and intimidating jumps spread throughout the beautiful rolling fields of the Kentucky Horse Park. The jumps are high, wide, some contain water and others are just plain scary. The eventers are scored based on a penalty basis, meaning riders can be penalized for faults at the jumps as well as finishing the course outside of the optimum time.
With a general admission ticket, I was able to roam the entire park, seeing each jump throughout the course and then settle in the “infield” of several jumps to watch riders come by every 5 to 10 minutes. You can bring in your own cooler, chairs and even your dog, though vendors are on hand offering typical fair food for patrons to purchase (I hade the corndog and fires). For a tad higher price you’re able to drive your vehicle into the “infield” to set-up your tailgate for the day.
Although my primary interest is watching race horses, this day holds enough action and excitement to keep me interested. I urge you to attend Saturday, Cross-Country day at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event. Whether you are a horse fan or not, you’re bound to enjoy one of the most beautiful parks in Kentucky watching some of the most impressive athletes, human and equine alike, in the sporthorse world.