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The Finish/Vet Box at Rolex

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  • The Finish/Vet Box at Rolex

    Will continue to be where it was last year, far away from spectators. I think this is really too bad, as it was one of my (and many others I know) favorite places to hang out and watch.

    It was so gratifying to see the smiles, hear the whoops as riders came in, watch the teams at work, marvel at their efficiency and teamwork. I never saw the crowd disrespectful or interfering in all the years I have watched.

    I wrote to Rolex about it, and the reply was that this was the place where 'horses and riders needed to rest and recoup", and that they needed " a bit of privacy". I've always thought it a little nuts that NBC was shoving mics at the riders as they were still out of breath, but that wasn't the general public's fault.

    It kind of smacks to me of uneasiness that we might 'see something'. If we're going to 'see something', it's most likely going to happen at a fence right in front of us.

    I have been to Rolex for many years. I haven't been to a lot of other upper level events. How do they handle it? This started with the WEG. It's just disappointing.
    We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.
    www.dleestudio.com

  • #2
    At Fair Hill International, the vet tent and finish area have no spectators at all, or very few if any. It's not closed to the public but you can't see much of it.
    I know, it's kind of weird, but I think it probably has something to do with the course design requirements, too. But that "rest and recoup and bit of privacy" excuse is a bit weird - huh? Calling a big ol' bullsh@t on that...
    Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
    Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

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    • #3
      I don't know, I can see their point... I've never been to a true upper level event, but I can imagine that when a horse and rider come off of that course, they need a few minutes to celebrate with their team and appreciate their accomplishment and hard work. If it was me, I wouldn't want a bunch of random people watching me and my horse while we're recovering from the grueling course we just went through. It would be cool from a perspective's standpoint, but on a personal level, I think the riders and their teams deserve their privacy. Nobody wants to be goggled at by strangers when they've just finished running a marathon, they want to be with the people that helped make it happen and I think they deserve that right. And as for people "seeing something," I think that's jumping to a pretty strong assumption in my opinion...

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      • #4
        I can see both sides of it. I respect the desire for privacy, especially in this day of instant video/photo/media uploading. Speculation is already so rampant about well known ULRs and their horses; say a horse comes off course with a nick on its coronary band, bleeding like crazy but totally superficial. It would be much easier to just deal with the cut, patch it up and move on with your day vs. having to explain/run damage control on what would surely be posted on the web (with cell phone photo, of course) as a "potential serious/career ending/life threatening injury". Maybe that's an extreme example, but the online rumor mill is, I'm sure, a frustrating beast for anyone in the public eye and I don't think it's unfair for them to want a degree of privacy without being accused of hiding something.

        On the flip side, the finish line vet box is usually a blast to work, it's great to see the smiling faces (on riders AND horses- sometimes the horses seemed more pleased with themselves than the riders ). So I can see both sides of it, I guess.
        Balanced Care Equine

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Georgia_Love View Post
          I don't know, I can see their point... I've never been to a true upper level event, but I can imagine that when a horse and rider come off of that course, they need a few minutes to celebrate with their team and appreciate their accomplishment and hard work. If it was me, I wouldn't want a bunch of random people watching me and my horse while we're recovering from the grueling course we just went through. It would be cool from a perspective's standpoint, but on a personal level, I think the riders and their teams deserve their privacy. Nobody wants to be goggled at by strangers when they've just finished running a marathon, they want to be with the people that helped make it happen and I think they deserve that right. And as for people "seeing something," I think that's jumping to a pretty strong assumption in my opinion...
          Keep in mind that the finish/vet box are not open to the public. However, most are just roped off and anyone can stand and watch from outside the rope. No fans or spectators can go into the area to bother them.

          I have been watching vet boxes for years. Such a valuable learning tool to those who aspire to that level or just need to learn proper care at the end of cross country. It's pretty impressive to watch the riders talk to the support team and often help out with the recovery effort. That is one of the things that has impressed me the most about the majority of the UL riders. They turn the horse over to their team, but help out with most aspects of the recovery. I don't see that in many other disciplines especially at upper levels.

          I see no reason why the box has to go "private." I don't necessarily believe they are trying to "hide" anything and can see the concern that someone with a video device would record something insignificant, post it and use it to slam a rider they don't like! I don't get it!

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          • #6
            I have always included the vet box area as a learning tool for Rolex virgin friends! Esp for the teens/young adults that I have fostered their eyeball education. It is a huge part of the eventing equation. Very necessary for people 'to see' ALL the parts.

            The ropes in the past have been far enough away to keep the public distant but still allow them to see the total team support efforts. I agree - big mistake to change the appeal that Rolex has with the public.

            and p.s. the grandma part of my CoTH name begs that the KHP puts some benches out on the road where the shuttles run (esp if they want us to shop!) and also around the trade fair areas. Give us a break we're on our feet all day
            Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by pony grandma View Post
              I have always included the vet box area as a learning tool for Rolex virgin friends! Esp for the teens/young adults that I have fostered their eyeball education. It is a huge part of the eventing equation. Very necessary for people 'to see' ALL the parts.

              The ropes in the past have been far enough away to keep the public distant but still allow them to see the total team support efforts. I agree - big mistake to change the appeal that Rolex has with the public.
              PG, me too. I've always taken people to see, and they are incredibly moved by it. It has been such a special place for me, I've tried to analyze why. It's exhilarating, emotional, incredible, somehow. The horses are beyond gorgeous, sleek and wet from sweat and water, flanks heaving, muscles and veins prominent, no tack to cover anything. Kind of like the trot up, just different. Everyone is all.about.the.horse. It's just very cool to see.
              The hugeness of the accomplishment of making it around Rolex, especially for some of the newer riders and their team, is palpable.
              Just disappointed that this is no more.
              We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.
              www.dleestudio.com

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              • #8
                I think that you nailed it! Your visual, the emotions, very aptly and succinctly put. The box is PART of the competition. It is not a part of the behind the scenes back in the barns.

                And there is a raw beauty there. It is performance art!!
                Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.

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                • #9
                  I miss the Vet box too! My daughters grew watching and learning how important it is to care for your horse; why it's important to put your horse first; why you need to appreciate the care and support of those who help you get "where" you are. I miss that.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PebblesNana View Post
                    I miss the Vet box too! My daughters grew watching and learning how important it is to care for your horse; why it's important to put your horse first; why you need to appreciate the care and support of those who help you get "where" you are. I miss that.
                    Agreed! My trainer would always drag me over there when I was little to watch everything. I learned so much about XC cool out, plus I got some 4* horse shoes!
                    "Red on the right, white on the left, insanity in the middle."

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                    • #11
                      I would have to say that being in the vet box when my kid and her horse crossed that finish line is one of my most precious moments. I have been there 4 times now and it is the same feeling every time.

                      It is, for us, the perfect time and place to share with the people who helped us make it happen. We were all so relieved, pround, excited, relieved, thrilled, did I say relieved!

                      I can also understand that if you had problems, or a rough trip that you may not want to have a bunch of people gawking at you, your horse, your crew.

                      But that is part of the game too. We went to Rolex to observe the action 3 times before we went there as competitors/support team and if was an eye opening learning experience that we appreciated.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Is the box actually going to be screened or blocked off so that spectators can't see it? Or is it just located in that far off field? I'm sure it was always roped off so that spectators can't just wander through the vet box itself, every FEI vet box is.

                        If it's just located in that end field, well, I think that is a great location for it. The spectators can walk over there and watch if they feel it's important. The location of the vet box is subject to course design, which is why it changed with WEG. WEG was when the path of the course was changed, so therefore was when the vet box changed. I think having it over in a quieter field is great. The horses coming off course are full of adrenaline and the last thing they need is lots of things to look at to keep them excited. Spectators don't bother me much, but a far away field is a great thing in my opinion.

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                        • #13
                          It's not blocked off or screened.
                          It is open but it is on the far corner of the x-c but near the stables and logistically a pretty darned good spot.
                          I wouldn't want this in the middle of the action because some of those horses are jacked up from finishing and they really need a quieter place to wind down. Also, for safety reasons, those horse can spin and kick and stuff. Also, if those horses see others on course, they might be more inclined to join them again until they wind down.
                          Nope, great spot and it's got a tv in the tent for viewing if need be.
                          Even duct tape can't fix stupid

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            It isn't screened off but it is quite a ways away and not accessible by spectators.

                            And where it used to be, it was still a very large area, I certainly never saw any spectator in danger of being kicked by a horse. They are surrounded by crowds of their own people. I doubt it has been moved due to safety.

                            My husband was in much more danger, safely behind the ropes in front of a jump, when a horse slipped, fell and practically slid into him and everyone else standing there. Amazing how quickly a crowd can scatter.

                            I don't have any good photos that show how big the 'box' really is, but here are a couple. Love the smile! And both were taken with a telephoto. You can see another horse way in the background as well. That gives an idea how big it really is.

                            Again, I am just saying it is disappointing for the people who loved to hang out there. Many of us liked it as much or more as being at the obstacles.
                            Attached Files
                            We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.
                            www.dleestudio.com

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                            • #15
                              Again, it was in all likelihood moved because the change of the path of the course for WEG. The box must be located very near the finish line. If I recall correctly, the course now finishes in that far off field near the barns, so therefore that is where the box is located.

                              So you can't walk way over there and watch it? What is keeping it from being accessible to spectators?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Divine Comedy View Post
                                Again, it was in all likelihood moved because the change of the path of the course for WEG. The box must be located very near the finish line. If I recall correctly, the course now finishes in that far off field near the barns, so therefore that is where the box is located.

                                So you can't walk way over there and watch it? What is keeping it from being accessible to spectators?

                                I for the life of me can't remember the vet box for 2010 Rolex but I do know that 2011 Rolex was completely sectioned off. There was a volunteer guarding the only pathway to the box and he was not letting anyone past. You could literally see the horses gallop through the finish and then there was another stretch of maybe 50 feet before the box started and really you couldn't see a thing. I was very disappointed. I understand both sides of the story but I was hoping to at least be able to make out some of the happenings in the box.
                                "Lord if we should fall, my horse and I, please pick my horse up first."

                                www.thestartbox.wordpress.com
                                www.useaiv.org

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