Short version of Sunday at Rolex? Be early, bring a raincoat, and if you’re going to buy bleacher seats, might not be a bad idea to pack some brass knuckles. JK on that last one. Kind of.
But first – the jogs!
We rolled out of the RV about an hour before the final horse inspection and wandered down there to try to claim a good spot. On our way we passed by MJ in one of the arenas, lunging Roxy at a nice relaxed stretchy trot. It’s really cute seeing him with that horse, it’s very obvious how much he loves her and how involved he is. Made my cold little black heart pretty happy all weekend, and made me love both of them even more than I already did.
Most of the horses looked pretty good, aside from the 3 that were sent to the hold box. Two were accepted when they were re-presented (one of which still looked pretty janky to me), and of course Doug’s Vandiver ended up getting spun. Definitely sad for him. Mostly though I really liked watching the jogs because we were able to get a good look at the horses and their conformation and movement. We kept referring back to their breeding when we spotted one that we particularly liked. For breeding nerds like me and Hillary, it was fun.
Then it was back to the RV to cool off (for real, humidity) and relax for a bit before packing lunches for ourselves and heading back out for stadium. We bought bleacher seats mostly because we’re cheap, but also because if you play it right, you can get REALLY close. We showed up at 10:30 (showjumping didn’t start until 1) and secured what was, IMO, the absolute best spot on the bleachers.
Of course, the real price we paid was having to sit on the metal bleachers for hours and hours. It’s ok though, spines and asses recover just fine with time and Advil. Some things are worth it.
We sat and watched the riders walk the course (which gave me a chance to take creepy pics of Maxime to send to Bobby):
and watched Reggie’s retirement thing, the Pony Club games awards, some exhibition thingy, and the parade of riders. We made sure to tell Maxime that Bobby still loves him, which produced a look that was 50% amused and 50% terrified. You know it’s been a good weekend when you’ve terrified a Frenchman.
At one point a couple girls tried to set up their stuff on the walkway in front of our spot on the bleachers and a volunteer came over to tell them they weren’t allowed to sit there. Because… obviously… there are hundreds of people trying to walk through. They moved their stuff, and not long afterward this rude-ass lady came to the exact same spot and started setting all her stuff down. Hillary very kindly leaned forward and said “Just so you know, someone else tried to sit there earlier and the volunteers made them move”. The lady glared at us and said “WE SIT HERE EVERY YEAR”, to which Hillary replied “Okay that’s fine, just letting you know.”. Lady glared at us again, arranged a sheet on the ground to ‘reserve’ the spot (in the middle of the walkway), put rocks on top of it so it wouldn’t blow away, and then went and sat on the bleachers a little ways down. Still glaring at us of course, and obviously talking shit about us to the girls that were with her. That’s fine, I had nothing to better to do for a couple hours than glare back.
The volunteer came around again and asked if we knew who’s stuff was sitting on the ground this time… Hillary and I both very gleefully leaned forward and pointed right at Ms. RudeAss. The volunteer goes down there and tells her the same thing she told the previous girls, the lady argues with her for a while then finally gets up with a huff, marches over, glares at us some more while muttering rude things under her breath, rips up her sheet off the ground, and marches away. Of course, in the process of snatching up her sheet she threw all the rocks that were on top of it INTO the arena. Way to go, jerkface. There for a few seconds I thought we were going to end up in a Rolex brawl.
While all of the pre-showjumping stuff was going on it rained a little bit off and on, but despite the 20% chance of rain we had decided to bring our rain jackets anyway. I was definitely glad about that. Luckily once stadium started it didn’t rain anymore, and for sure I swear we had some of the best seats in the house. I love being right up on the rail.
Let’s be honest, the two main perks to the showjumping are 1) watching the rider’s reactions when they successfully complete a 4*, and 2) The top 3. Or in this case, the top 2. MJ could only afford one rail and I think all of us were on the edge of our seats, especially when he dropped the middle element of the triple. That man gives me a stroke sometimes. The Europeans still soundly whomped all the US riders though. I have some thoughts about that, but that’s another post for another day.
And with that, Rolex was a wrap. I had an absolute blast with Hillary (and Sonny!), the RV was a stroke of genius, and I 100% for sure want to do this again. I just need a year to recover.