We had our annual Rolex party today. It has become a tradition on the years that we cannot attend Rolex in person (which is more often than we go) that the barn family sits around my house and we live-stream the cross country (thank you USEF Network and Land Rover this year – sorry, there is zero chance I will be able to buy a Land Rover but I really appreciate your sponsorship of the event). Its like a Super Bowl party except its brunch and we are sober. This year was a small turnout, but a very enjoyable morning regardless. We watched the first rider through Mickey Jung (whose name has had every pronunciation of Michael that I have ever heard of).
I love Rolex. I love it on television via the livestream and I really love it in person. Standing next to some of the jumps, I have told friends and clients that “you could not throw me over this stuff, let alone get me to ride to it”. Secretly, I would love to have the chance. Frankly, however, at this point in my life I would be thrilled to get around Novice again. Sitting next to my friend, a contemporary of roughly my own age, I said that I love riders like Bunny Sexton and Mary King (who won Rolex at 61 a few years ago) because they give me hope – another two decades and maybe I can get my act together and go prelim or something. She commented that her 15 year old laments that her career is over because she hasn’t done “real” eventing yet. I asked the mother to please forgive me if I kicked her daughter in the shins if she said that to me. I will try and restrain myself, but no promises at this point.
Rolex inspires me each year for the coming season. Considering where I am starting this year out (Ries as a pensioner and Whitman on stall rest, and I haven’t even introduced Gust yet), I am pretty sure getting around Starter might be hopeful and Beginner Novice would be a real achievement. Honestly, two decades ago, I really thought I would be much further along at this point in my life in both eventing and dressage. So at the same time, Rolex is a bit depressing. I have no illusions of riding at the advanced level, but would really like to get back to it as a regular competitor. It has been frustrating to watch eventing become a victim of climate change and the wealth gap up here in the North East. I won’t ever be one of those people who gets to head south for the winter (unless I win the lottery and then I will totally be one of those people). Even if I had the money, and the horses (sound horses), the actual talent has to be there as well (I may be the president of the “can’t see a proper distance” club).
So in the meantime, I will go start trying to redo this years show calendar that originally was looking like a summer of 4th level and PSG dressage (I was so damn close to a tail coat) and instead shoot for a driving schooling show and maybe a mini-event. Not quite Rolex but it will have to do.