Video by Jenni Autry for EventingNation.com
It's that time of year again: Rolex Kentucky! Trading Aces, or "Oscar's" buildup has gone well with our preparations for the big event. He’s been in tremendous form, spending the first section of his prep in Silva’s program strictly focusing on dressage. His fitness work has been steadily increasing over the winter in Aiken with long slow gallops gradually changing to shorter, faster sprints on the hills here in Pennsylvania during the past couple of weeks.
It’s always exciting and nerve wracking, preparing a horse for Kentucky; the challenge is making sure you put in a huge amount of fitness so that the horse you’re riding has the endurance to complete the course, while walking the tightrope of not overdoing it and picking up an injury. I feel very confident in our prep; we’ve got Oscar looking like a greyhound at the moment and I feel he’ll be able to jump the course well and inside the time. Being one of the younger horses in the field, I’m sure I’ll feel moments of greenness, but I also feel this is the right time to step him up to the 4* level with the WEG in Normandy in 2014 in the back of my mind.
Even though I’ll be the one riding him next weekend there’s been a huge team behind me: first, my coaches Silva and Phillip, who have also ridden Oscar numerous times in training and competition, as well as Michael Barisone and US team coach David O'Connor.
Oscar’s personal assistant Lindsey Taylor has done a sensational job this year as every year, producing the best-looking horse in the field. She has spent literally hours and hours revolving around all of my horses, making sure they get to the events in pristine condition.
Oscar has ten owners in his syndicate who are an unbelievably fun and supportive group. They have backed and trusted me in every decision we’ve come to in this preparation.
I must say, even though this is the most challenging event in America, it’s one of the most enjoyable for a rider like myself; there’s no better feeling from my point of view than sitting on top of a horse competing at Rolex. We’ll see what happens….