All the horses at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event have spent an hour evacuated from their stables to the Alltech Arena — an indoor school where the vaulting and reining took place during last year’s World Equestrian Games (WEG) — while a storm passes.
The site of the American four-star has been besieged by bad weather over the past few weeks, with parts of the cross-country course under water.
Yesterday it was announced today’s horse inspection had been moved to 10am local time (3pm in Britain), instead of 1pm, because of a poor forecast for the afternoon.
“While the forecast is for beautiful weather here for Thursday through Sunday, they are forecasting the possibility of storms on Wednesday afternoon,” said Christina Gray, director of competition. “It seems clear to us that the safest and most prudent thing is to hold the horse inspection earlier so that there is no worry about a disruption.”
However, this morning’s storm and evacuation meant the trot-up time changed again — it will now take place at 11am local time (4pm in Britain).
During the storm, Mark Todd tweeted that he was stuck at his hotel. After his Badminton Horse Trials win, all eyes will be on the comeback star, who returns Kentucky with NZB Grass Valley, who was 11th at WEG last year.
Six British horses line up to start the event. The riders had early starts to get over to the USA after riding at Badminton.
William Fox-Pitt got home from Badminton at 10pm on Monday and left again at 3.30am yesterday morning.
William is the final rider to go at Kentucky and his mount is the 10-year-old Neuf Des Coeurs, who won Blair CCI*** last year and makes his four-star debut here. The British number one triumphed at Kentucky last year on Cool Mountain, then a 10-year-old who had followed a similar competition pattern, having taken Blair CCI*** in 2009.
Oliver Townend will be hoping for better luck than last year, when he had a high-profile fall at Kentucky with Ashdale Cruise Master. This time, he rides ODT Sonas Rovatio, a nine-year-old at his first four-star.
The most experienced of the British horses is Mary King’s first ride Kings Temptress, who starts at number four. She has completed Luhmühlen twice, including finishing fourth in 2009, and Burghley twice, taking seventh there last year.
Mary’s second ride is the exciting grey Fernhill Urco, who she started riding in 2009, taking over from Portugal’s Duarte Seabara.
The other two British entries are both ridden by San Francisco-based Brit James Alliston. James, 26, is originally from Gloucestershire and has a degree from Oxford. Kentucky is his first four-star.
James’s rides are Jumbo’s Jake, a 13-year-old who was third in the CCI*** at Galway Downs last year, and nine-year-old Parker, who was seventh at that event.
Follow Kentucky live on the H&H website
We will be broadcasting live and interactive written commentary from Rolex Kentucky from Thursday to Sunday, provided by Eventing Nation, the Chronicle of the Horse and the USEA. Find it at www.horseandhound.co.uk/kentucky