I'm always taken off guard by late April, and the sudden explosion of horse events, both locally and nationally. On the national level, two of America's great horse competitions, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (April 23-26) and the Kentucky Derby (May 2), take place in the next two weeks. More about the Derby later.
One year from now, the Kentucky Horse Park will host the first World Equestrian Game to be held outside Europe. Tomorrow, 54 of the world's best eventers will be getting a sneak peak of the place. Many of them will already be familiar with the facility, home of America's upper-level eventing since 1978, and the nation's only **** event since 1998. My sentimental favorite every year is the English rider William Fox-Pitt, not simply because he's one of the big names of the sport but also because he's so tall. Not all riders are jockey-sized, but it does seem that many riders are somewhat compact, and it's fascinating to watch someone who looks all legs succeed so fantastically at one of the most demanding equine sports.
The dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping of Rolex can be seen in a variety of ways by those unlucky enough not to be able to be there in Lexington for America's only four-star event.
You can view everything live or on-demand online here for a fee. You can also see just the stadium jumping free online at Universal Sports Network live on Sunday, April 26 starting at 2:00 PM (eastern). Lastly, a one-hour program of Rolex will air on NBC on May 3, at 5:00 PM (eastern), assuming the Stanley Cup semifinals game ahead of it doesn't run over.
Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event
William Fox-Pitt's Website
Phillip Dutton's Website