As I walked around the Kentucky Horse Park and observed everything last year, I decided then that a “Dos & Don’ts” of Rolex was definitely in order. This could be really helpful if you have never attended before and plan to or if you go every year. This edition will make sure that you are prepared and look stylish every step you are there.
Do–Bring a water bottle. There are water fountains all throughout the park for an easy refill and you won’t have to continuously purchase water bottles or other drinks. You will probably be at the Horse Park all day so this is a great way to cut down on some costs plus stay hydrated!
Don’t–Partake in so many adult drinks that you are unable to walk around the park effectively.
Do–Wear a hat. This is particularly important on cross country day, but it’s also great to shade your face while you’re walking around.
Don’t–Act like you know everything about horses, the event, or that you can ride better than William Fox-Pitt. No one believes you.
Do–Wear your barn or sponsors gear! Not only will they appreciate it, but you will fit right in plugging them. It’s always a great thing to represent what barn you are from and where you train. If you have a sponsor, this is a great way to make sure others see this brand. There are literally thousands of people that you will walk by, and your sponsor will love it!
Don’t–Wear the above gear then don’t act appropriately while you are at the Horse Park. Remember, you are representing them!
Do–Wear country boots. Dubarry is the way to go and they have an amazing booth. But, if Dubarrys are out of your price range, don’t worry. You can pick up a pair from Dublin or Ovation that are more budget friendly. Country boots are everywhere at Rolex (and other equestrian events) so go ahead and get yourself a pair!
Don’t–Wear country boots with shorts. Ever. No buts. It looks ridiculous. I don’t care how hot it is. (This is mainly directed at gym shorts).
Do–Wear comfortable shoes. The country boots are VERY comfortable but if you still aren’t sold on a pair, just remember to pack comfortable shoes. You will be walking A LOT. Everywhere in fact. You will really be in trouble on cross country day if you don’t have on comfortable shoes.
Don’t–Wear heels. I don’t care how cute they are with your outfit you will regret it.
Do–Wear aviators. Aviator sunglasses are a favorite style among equestrians so I recommend you pick up a pair. My favorites are by Ray-Ban, Tiffany & Co., and Tory Burch.
Don’t–Forget sunscreen. Always wear sunscreen when you are outdoors for a long period of time. I wear sunscreen on my face every day. Please wear sunscreen and reapply whenever necessary.
Do–Pack clothes for every scenario. There is no way to predict the weather for Rolex so be prepared for it all. It goes from freezing and needing a coat to warm and sleeveless to rain gear. Just go ahead and pack for it all and you will be prepared for whatever Kentucky throws at you. Layers are an excellent idea.
Don’t–Stay in one spot on the cross country course. Walk around and see the other jumps. People are constantly coming and going so don’t worry about not getting a good spot. I had a good vantage point from every jump I went to. It’s fun to watch how these riders handle the different things thrown at them during their ride.
Do–Purchase a program and Rolex gear. I won’t lie…it is expensive but really is worth it. The program is beautifully done and has tons of info in it plus it’s a great keepsake. The Rolex gear really has some great pieces so if the prices startle you at least pick up a t-shirt. That will set you back $25 (so will a hat).
Don’t–Interrupt the riders while they are preparing. This is a huge event for them and they need to focus. If you have a favorite rider you want to meet, attend an autograph session. They have them all weekend long so those opportunities are available.
Do–Attend a course walk. Several riders offer cross country course walks for fans. They give you wonderful insight into the course and jumps plus let you know how they plan on tackling them. I went on two–one with Boyd Martin and another with Hawley Bennet-Awad and Alexandra Knowles.
Don’t–Text, call, or pay zero attention when you’re walking. Nothing is more annoying than walking down the crowded vendor aisles and getting stuck behind someone texting and walking at a snail’s pace. And don’t get me started on those people who just randomly stop abruptly. There are people behind you. There are a LOT of people everywhere so be mindful of that. If you want to text or make a call, step off to the side. Remember also to walk with purpose. Don’t meander. If I’m behind you, I’m walking somewhere intentionally; others probably are as well.
Do–Rent a headset. I strongly recommend it for dressage. I experienced a day with commentary and a day without it, and it was ten times better with the commentary. I don’t think it’s as necessary for stadium jumping but an added bonus.
Don’t–Forget to purchase stadium seating tickets. General admission just gets you into the Horse Park. Unfortunately, there is no place to watch dressage or show jumping without a stadium seat. You can stand at an entrance into the stadium, but if you are not a guest in one of the VIP lounges or with a rider, you pretty much can’t see.
Do–Visit the vendors. You will find some great deals and learn about new equestrian businesses. I had a few that I shared with you over the past year that I found here. I also highly suggest that you visit the vendors daily. You will be amazed at the things you missed your first walk through.
Don’t–Forget where you parked! This could really put a damper on an otherwise fabulous day! 🙂
There you have it! You are now ready to tackle Rolex like a pro. And the most important DO of all is…HAVE FUN!