Making Bourbon

Horsing Around – In Between Scenes at Rolex Three Day

I have yet to get around to posting any but the Fresian horse shots that I took during the Rolex Three Day event in late April. I’ll get to it shortly. Those images require more attention than I have to give at present. But I thought I would share some of the in-between fare.

What’s “in-between?” All those things I shot that were not the primary targets, especially since the primary targets are simply over-exposed – meaning you can see a lot of them in a lot of different places. You’ll only see the following shots here. You might conclude that’s a good thing.

Let’s begin with Hats. You can’t have a horse event without hats.

We had baseball hats, some even doubled up on these.


Then there were the fedoras in various materials. The leather ones looked hot – as in warm.


And of course the sort of traditional straw hats that are worn to these events. I’m sure the offerrings later in the week at The Derby put all these to shame but still….


And the no-particular-category hat, decorated accordingly.



Boots are at least as popular here as hats, maybe even more so. “THE” boot was the dubarry – straight from Ireland. They are of the type that if you have to ask how much, you’re not really a dubarry sort of customer.


This was the guy to ask – or just watch. Dubarry really pushes water-proofing and people wearng them would jump into water for any or no reason at all.


Here’s a few up close and personal


Not everyone could afford dubarry’s  –  IMHO in addition to money they also lacked in taste.

We had a lot of KIDS:


and DOGS :


It helped that a lot of these dogs were attached to some very attractive owners.


Rolex was the the main sponsor of this event and has been for the past 38 years. The stadium here at Kentucky Horse Park is named after the company. They were great hosts, providing us media types with lunch and brunch and unlimited internet access and air conditioning. The secondary sponsor was Land Rover. They provided test rides around the back lot for anyone who cared to stand in line for about 30 minutes. So, here are some ROVERS


There were almost as many Land Rovers tethered ’round the park as there were horses.


And everyone wanted to give directions. It’s OVER THERE!


As if anyone listened.


One thing I always listen closely for is REDHEADS.  Wouldn’t be an event without them. There were a lot of Brits and Irish at this event. Great venue 🙂



We had plenty of PHOTOGRAPHERS at the event. Sometimes it seemed as if they outnumbered the Land Rovers. They were a hearty bunch and most were seasoned equine shooters. The good ones had Canons. 🙂

This is the media mosh pit: provided and stocked by Rolex and Rover


Photogs are either shooting, contemplating what they captured, or exaggerating their results with other photogs.


This is Mike. He has this rig that shoots forward and backward at the same time.


When not shooting, contemplating or exaggerating we are all praying for THE shot.


Sometimes prayers are answered


I know the subject of this shot looks pretty much like a horse.  But if you look a little closer just off the horse’s nose and down about 6 degrees you’ll see that it’s actualy a picture of David shooting the horse as it comes over the jump. I suppose if you go to his site at Lone Dakota Photography you could get the other side of this picture. Look for rider #29 in the Cross Country.


I thought this deserved another look. I could rue the decision if Libby Law ever happens to stumble upon this blog. This was great logowear and I guarantee you that it got a lot of attention, which is what advertising is all about, right?



My host for this event and the Media Credentials that came along with it was David Toczko, El Jefe at Lone Dakota Photography.  He’s very good his job. This event was his warm-up for The Derby that followed the next weekend in Louisville. Since photographers rarely ever get photographed themselves – except maybe on a surveillance camera – I thought I would take a few shots of him for posterity.

This is David at the Ariat Reining Event trying to get his head on straight.


This is David feigning that he’s only adjusting his cap.


The end of a long day and a mug of root beer – so he said.


This is David and Beth. I think she’s much more photogenic than he is, don’t you?



So. You’ve made it this far and now you get to see my Favs of the in-betweens:

The horse is a Fresian. His name is Tice. He had just only completed a wondrous demonstration in the ring adjacent to where we’re standing now and everyone wanted to touch him. His rider was as patient as he was. Sitting there. Answering questions. Encouraging all the kids to gather round. She included me in that invitation. It felt good just to stand next to this horse. He was quite calm considering the tidal wave of humanity that had rolled his way. He seemed at the same time to be both proud and humble. He was unquestionably powerful and, from what I observed while he was in the ring, quite intelligent and well-trained. He belonged there.

I don’t know who the young lady is. She reached out to touch Tice. I took the picture.


This is a groom. She was working with her horse and rider in the dressage practice and warm-up area, the spot all the dressage types hung out in just prior to entering the competition ring. Grooms, I think, must be key ingredients to the success recipe of their horse and rider. They’re like the pit crew or the ground crew or the stage crew or anyone of those other types of crews that prepare the way and then stand and wait and cross their fingers and toes. I don’t think grooms cheer. At least not dressage grooms. It’s a very stuffy event and to the untrained eye it’s extremely boring to observe for any length of time. Think twenty-five Olympic figure skaters back-to-back.

I recall the horse this particular groom was leading away was, as horses go, quite handsome. My lens got distracted though.


One of the concessions at the event was Wild Bill’s Soda Bar. You can find a picture of Bill in the Hats area. I also think there is an iPhone post of his rig a few days back in the blog. Bill had a great business model. He offered about seven different types of root beer and birch beer (no beer beer) all dispensed through self-serve spigots attached to ‘wooden’ barrels on the side of the saloon stand. Customers poured the brew into one of three different mugs. In fact, what Bill sold was the mugs. They all looked much the same except for the emblem attached. There was a plain mug that could be purchased for a single filling for $5. There was the mug emblazoned with a ’10’ that cost $10 and could be refilled all day long – for a single day. And there was the ’20’ mug that was good for unlimited refills for the entire three days in return for a $20 fee. It’s hard to imagine that many of the $5 mugs were sold. But it seemed that most of the crowd was carrying one version or the other.

I told Bill I was from VA and he said he thought someone in VA was also running one of these stands. Bill was from Lancaster, PA. I’m thinking that if I spent my summers manning one of these stands (if it belonged to me) I could produce sufficient profit to underwrite wintering in some very friendly climes. I failed to ask Bill what he did in winter. Next time.


Last but not least – The Rover. It was Sunday morning and I was setting up along the railing to shoot the jumping event, the final event of the show. I found myself settled in front of jump #10 and began doing a few test shots. I was still struggling with this task of shooting things that refuse to stand still while I lock on the focus. This event was to be my last opportunity to practice that skill so I was trying to lock my personal focus on the jump area.

The Rover provided some shade. Very thoughtful of Rover. But then I noticed the great reflection I was getting out of the corner of my eye. It projected a very artful visual of the stadium and of my targeted jump. Snap! I liked the shot. I think Rover should swoop this shot up for inclusion in its alltime archive of great Rover shots.

Something tells me though….


More of the Kentucky Rotunda

One of the first places I had the opportunity to visit week before last in KY was the Capitol Building in Frankfort. We were there because my host, David Toczo, was participating in a photographic art exhibit. He had had two pieces juried in. The display was in the Rotunda. After the remarks and handshakes by and with Jane Beshear, the Commonwealth’s First Lady, we wandered round the building and I managed to capture a few photos. I sent one of these up by iPhone on that day but would like to share a few more that I took with the Canon.


The first is of the bronze statue of Lincoln that stands in the center of the Rotunda floor. It’s impressive in and of itself but when viewed with the Rotunda interior in the background becomes even more so. Illinois is the state in which Lincoln was raised and which served as his political launching point but as any true Kentuckian call tell you, he was born in Hardin County, KY. Incidentlally, his grandfather had migrated there from Virginia and for that matter Kentucky’s “Commonwealth” status stems from its having been spawned from the western reaches of Virginia.

The Commonwealth’s representatives were not in session on this particular afternoon so I got to stick my head into the Senate Chamber. About the same time a guide/docent came by and wanted to know if I had any questions. I had already counted the seats in the room (actually I counted the computer screens at the desks) so I asked her how many senators there were. Her response, “38”, matched my count. I sensed that she would like a few more questions thrown her way but none came immediately to mind. So we thanked her and moved on. I should have asked her who designed the room and its surrounding building. The answer by the way is Frank Mills Andrews (thank you Wikipedia)


Andrews’ beaux-arts creation is a major improvement over the Greek style of the Old Capitol Capitol Building across the street.


First Ever Press Creds


Thanks to David Toczko and Lone Dakota Photography!