Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to ride a top equine athlete across the Rolex cross-country course? Now, thanks to the magic of helmet cams, you can see the course just as a rider sees it. Rider Elisa Wallace took this video of her ride on Simply Priceless during Rolex 2016. It gives you a great sense of just how big (and intimidating) the fences are, and of how long the horse and rider must sustain a gallop to come in under the course's maximum time.
Rolex is a four-star three-day event held annually in Lexington, Kentucky. This prestigious event brings together some of the top eventing horses and riders in the world. According to the competition's official site, Rolex is the only four-star eventing competition that is regularly held in the Western Hemisphere.
In eventing, horses and riders compete in three different phases, each held on a different day. The first phase consists of dressage, in which horse and rider must perform an intricate set of movements with excellent precision. The rider's signals must be almost invisible, and the horse is judged on factors like its movement, fluidity and rhythmic cadence.
The second day features the challenging cross-country course. Horses and riders navigate large, solid obstacles spaced over a natural outdoor course. They must complete the course within the specified time limit or else incur time penalties that lower their rankings in the competition.
The day after they complete the demanding cross-country course, horses and riders then face the final show-jumping phase. They must negotiate tall fences with absolute precision, since these fences fall at the brush of a hoof or leg. Designed as the ultimate test of horse and rider, three-day eventing truly challenges even the best riders and equine athletes in the world. Ultimately, the horse-and-rider pair with the best score wins the competition.
Some riders spend their entire careers working for the chance to compete at Rolex. This helmet cam video provides a great look into what a rider sees during this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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