On the Eve of World Equestrian Games Jumping: The World’s Best Jumpers Start Tomorrow Toward the Famous “Rolex Top Four”

It’s as if they are playing a game of rotating horse stalls: the dressage horses exit, the jumpers enter. One van pulls out, another pulls in. They appear to be choreographed.

The barns at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are constantly circled by horse vans that load and unload horses according to a schedule that has been masterminded somewhere by someone who is probably an air traffic controller in his or her day job. Which horses go where? And when? Someone is on top of it.

This weekend the last wave of the international superstars are pulling in. While everyone?s attention is riveted over at the main arena this afternoon on the eventing finals, the show jumpers are settling into their stalls. We’ve seen them doing flat work the past few days as the international horses work the kinks out after their flights, and now, as you can see from this USEF video clip, the US horses are arriving.

The gray horse coming off this van is Cedric, one of the stars of the US team. He is ridden by Laura Kraut and has been in Europe competing on the super-glamorous Global Champions Tour. Cedric is a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood. They just came from Spain, where they finished sixth in the Madrid Grand Prix Trophy Volvo and fourth in the SM King’s Cup Trophy. Laura and Cedric were part of the USA?s Gold Medal Team at the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong.

Jumping begins at 10 a.m. on Monday with the speed trials and continues right up to the end. One of the very last events determines the individual medal winner with what is probably the single most interesting and exciting event at all of WEG–and there are so many! That’s what is called the ?Rolex Top Four?.

In WEG showjumping, the Rolex Top Four showjumpers are required to ride each other?s horses, and the scores count! This is a very tense competition. Throughout the week, you will see the riders scrutinizing the top horses, in the event that they may be required to ride a particular horse. It’s a challenge, to be sure, and one you won?t want to miss! All the warmup must be done in full view of the audience. That will be next Saturday night, if I am reading the program correctly.

If the Rolex Top Four night is not sold out, that would be the night to come to WEG! (See you there!)

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