June 2016 - West Coasters In Kentucky
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 01 June 2016 06:31
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Maya Black leads a strong contingent of West region’s riders at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event.

photos by Sherry Stewart

Defending champion Michael Jung of Germany won his second Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event in spectacular fashion on Fischerrocana FST and by a large margin, starting with their 34.4 score on day-one dressage.

Washington State native Maya Black and Doesn’t Play Fair impressed all with their third place finish.

James Alliston & Parker. James rides for Great Britain but is based in the Bay Area.

Arizona-based Barb Crabo and Eveready

Mackenna Shea and Landioso

That was big news, of course, and especially in light of Jung’s immediate departure from Kentucky to Badminton, England, where he jumped on another amazing horse, La Biosthetique Sam, to contest the Badminton Horse Trails.

He won that, too, and in doing so, became only the second rider ever to score the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. The distinction and $350,000 prize money is reserved for the rider who can win the Four-Stars at Badminton, Kentucky and Burleigh, England, the latter of which Michael did in September.

The German Olympic gold medalist is a revered rider and horseman, so we were thrilled to watch and learn from his rides.

We were also thrilled to have so many West Coasters make a strong showing at the April 28-May1 competition at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. It was a combination of those still based here and those, like third-place finisher Maya Black and Doesn’t Play Fair, who’ve relocated to the East Coast in recent years. No matter where they live now, ace photographer Sherry Stewart still considers them “Westies” and had her lens tightly trained on them.

We’re grateful to this gifted photographer for these inspiring images from the exciting Rolex weekend.

Washington-based Revitavet Capato & Jordan Linstedt.

Matt Brown & Super Socks BCF, who left Petaluma for the East Coast just last year and on their way to an overall #20 finish after a rainy cross-country day.

Alexandra Knowles & Sound Prospect, who finished 16th.

Bunnie Sexton and Rise Against

Also strutting his stuff to great effect was course designer and West Coaster Derek di Grazia, who has been designing Rolex Kentucky since 2011. He has also been named the cross-country course designer for the 2018 World Championships in Canada and the 2020 Olympics in Japan. Riders called his redesigned Rolex Kentucky course “brilliant” and “superb,” partly because no single jump caused more than three horses to incur faults.

“You’re always a little bit nervous about the weather,” di Grazia admitted. “We ran in the rain last year, and the footing held up well, so I thought we’d probably be OK. Still, I will take my hat off to these riders, because they produced some great rounds.”