What Is the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event?

Boyd Martin and Shamwari 4 tackled the cross-country course in last year’s Rolex Kentucky (Adam Brennan – www.picturesbyab.com)

Have you always wondered what people mean when they say, “Are you going to Rolex?” They are talking about the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover, known as the “Best Weekend All Year” and one of the most prestigious equestrian competitions in the world. The Fédération Equestre Internationale has designated the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, hosted at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., as a “four-star” eventing competition, the sport’s highest designation, which is given only to the Olympic Games, World Championships, and six annual events around the world. The 2017 edition will also crown the 20th Rolex/USEF National CCI4* Champion.

The Basics: Eventing is the equestrian equivalent to a human triathlon, consisting of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. This event is usually contested over three days, hence the other popular term for the discipline – three-day eventing. By performing each of these phases, horses that compete in eventing show their balance, stamina, and precision. To learn more about eventing, visit USequestrian.org.

Schedule: The 2017 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover will be held April 27-30. It has become such a star-studded event that competition now covers four days to accommodate a large number of participants. Dressage begins on Thursday and concludes on Friday. The cross-country phase is held Saturday and the competition concludes on Sunday with show jumping. A 2017 provisional schedule can be found at rk3de.org.

What to Do: The event also offers a variety of spectator activities, including the ever-popular Land Rover Test Drive, which was featured in the Spring 2016 edition of US Equestrian Magazine. The Sponsor Village and International Trade Fair offer designer and sport clothing and accessories, arts and crafts, jewelry, gift items, souvenirs, and more. The Rolex Kentucky visitor’s guide provides tips for how to get the most out of your experience.

Where to Watch: If you are not able to attend the 2017 Rolex Kentucky, the only place to catch all four days of the action-packed competition is the USEF Network live stream. Wall-to-wall coverage of each phase can be seen on computers, tablets, phones, and smart TV devices. New this year is Champions Live!, a Sunday morning talk show from approximately 9:30-11 a.m., featuring a U.S. equestrian champion from each Olympic equestrian sport (dressage, eventing, and jumping). As always, the broadcast will include multiple camera angles, live athlete interviews, and analysis from professional sports commentator John Kyle with varying guest hosts.

© 2017 US Equestrian Federation

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