I know I need to blog about Rolex, but am still in a bit of a funk about it. There were a lot of great moments but those were certainly overshadowed by not producing the result I had set out for ? a top 5 placing.

The jogs were great fun. Arthur looked spectacular and I was dressed in my new favorite clothes (which unfortunately were not mine). I cannot thank Julie Richards enough for dressing me in some truly gorgeous clothes by Worth. If anyone saw and liked what I wore, please check out We did not Three-peat the Zeppa Award (although I think we should have). Will Faudre and his horse won it ? they did look smashing — so if someone were to beat us, it rightfully would be Will.

Dressage went well enough. I definitely wanted to win the dressage and my goal was to be in the 30s. Arthur was a bit nervous in the atmosphere, so the 30s were unattainable without a good halt, rein back and walk. We ended up tied 2nd with Karen and Mandiba.

I drew a lot of attention by my decision to wear a helmet in the dressage arena. It is obviously something I feel strongly about and the decision was very personal. I lost my brother to head trauma and my best friend was in hospital and rehabilitation for a long time due to head trauma. (She has fortunately recovered well, and I am now visiting her and her family for a few days). If you have had to spend anytime in the ICU with a loved one due to head trauma, it will change you profoundly. Courtney King-Dye?s accident made me think a lot about how important it is to always wear your helmet schooling. Her accident influenced me to start wearing my helmet in the dressage competition arena all the time when I was not in my tails (we wear a shadbelly and top hat for FEI and Advanced level dressage tests). I still wanted to wear my top hat for very vain reasons. I thought it was beautiful and I didn?t want to be different. What I noticed when I got to Kentucky was that a number of the pure dressage riders competing in the WEG dressage test event were warming up in their helmets and then switching to their top hats. I know of at least one girl that wore her helmet in the competition arena. What I recognized is that the helmet doesn?t look any worse than the top hat. And the more I watched, the more ridiculous the top hat began to look I became aware of how ridiculous the decision to wear a top hat based on pure vanity actually is. So, Friday morning (yes, my decision didn?t happen until a couple hours before my test) I went over to the Charles Owen booth where they very gladly fitted me with a stunning GR8 navy blue helmet to wear. Thank you Roy and Danielle for being so supportive and accommodating. A person whose opinion I respect very much and is not from the eventing world later made the comment: ?You looked like an athlete in your helmet, everyone else looked like cartoon characters.? I remember a time when I did not wear my helmet regularly — I did this because my trainers and the people around me were not wearing helmets. I was not trying to make a statement by wearing my helmet, but if my decision to wear it influences others to wear theirs, then I think that this will always be one of my biggest accomplishments.

Cross country day was a bit confusing and clearly a huge disappointment. I felt very confident about the course and Arthur and I could very easily be clear inside the time. He is generally a wild man on cross country day. He loves it! I always have to ride him in the morning to take a little buzz off or else I am toast trying to handle him on course. He felt so relaxed and happy for his morning ride ? he was surprisingly quiet. I ended up not doing much at all because he seemed so focused, happy and quiet. I kept thinking: ?Thank God he is growing up!? Our warm up for cross country was the same. He was super quiet and knew what was up. He was jumping really well and I didn?t for a second think he wasn?t right. We set out on course in a really relaxed and happy gallop his ears were pricked and he wasn?t spooking. I was caught a little off guard that he wasn?t ?taking me? in the gallop and to the jump like he usually does. I did try to motivate him with my stick in the beginning of the course because I didn?t feel like he was correctly in front of my leg (I later got yelled at because I was told those were ?love taps? ? obviously not enough). That being said, he was jumping well and felt happy to be there. He never gave me the feeling that he didn?t want to play. I just needed to ride him much more aggressively than I did. When we got to my dreaded coffin ? which was very similar to the coffin from two years ago where I over rode it and got my self into trouble ? I picked what I thought was a good pace and never really got the power that I needed in the step. I desperately didn?t want to make the same mistake from two years ago, and I ended up having the complete opposite issue resulting in a stop. I was so mad at myself for letting that happen. I got fired up, I fired my horse up, and we jumped right through the direct route ? it would have been much smarter to go the long route the second try, but I was furious with myself and determined to do it right. I did manage to keep my position through it, unlike previous years. I think I overthunk it (great non-word), and I needed to be way more effective in getting my horse truly in front of my leg from the get go. The rest of the course went well enough. I was just shattered that I allowed such a stupid thing to happen. Definitely lack of experience on my part. I certainly need to be doing this on more horses! I had concerns that he was going to tire on course because he did seem so quiet, but he didn?t, he maintained that same feeling throughout and recovered very well after. When NBC interviewed me right away, I remember I kept saying he just was quiet. He didn?t feel sticky to me like he didn?t want to jump, but I did have some not so great jumps because I just didn?t have him correctly in front of my leg. My horses welfare is always most important to me, I think I was just taken off guard by this new feeling.

We ran IV fluids to re-hydrate him after cross country just because I kept saying something was different about him. Other than that he looked AMAZING! He wasn?t sore at all, not a nick on him, his legs looked great. In the morning he was back to his wild self again. I nearly couldn?t contain him at the jog. Because he felt so drastically different I am now certain that he wasn?t totally himself the day before. We are diligent about monitoring how much he drinks during competition, but I do think the combination of him being perhaps a little dehydrated along with the change in weather on Saturday probably gave him that ?quiet? feeling I kept talking about.

Needless to say that ?quiet? feeling was definitely not there Sunday!!! He was full of beans ? he had to be ridden and worked on line to get him focused for showjumping. I thought he jumped beautifully in showjumping. I completely woofed the second jump ? I put him to a place that I think most horses should have had a refusal at. We had the rail and I was in a bit of a panic getting to the third. He jumped it beautifully though. We then settled into things and he jumped great. At the third to last I heard this really fast and loud clicking noise coming from the fence. It started about a stride away and he almost stopped at it!! I did get him over it, but we had the rail. I later found out that there was a camera on the fence that we were not told about. It was supposed to go off only after the horses take off stride, but you could certainly tell which horses had the camera go off entirely too early. The last line was the trickiest line, so starting it that way just seemed unfair to me. We did have the last fence down in that line. So three rails when I felt confident we could have jumped clear. I have worked so hard on our show jumping, so, clearly, this result felt unfair and disappointing.

Yes, all in all, for such a wonderful start and for as high as my expectations were for this event, I am very disappointed in my finish.

I?m not sure what our next step is. I am going to take a few days to think about what comes next. If Arthur does come out of Kentucky as well as I think he has (you have to let them chill out for a while), I still have a shot of making it to WEG if I go to Germany in June and compete in Luhmuhlen. I definitely do not have the money to do that now (which makes me even more irritated that I didn?t get done what I should have in Kentucky). We?ll see. Most importantly is to make sure Arthur is perfect (which so far he seems to be). If that is the case, we shall decide on the next step soon!!!!

Please stay tuned because I will need everyone?s help if I am to keep WEG on the horizon.

Thanks again for everyone?s lovely support. It really means so very much to me!!


  1. I want to thank you for wearing the hard hat. If everyone did it, it would ne the norm in very short order. I sent you some pics and the helmet looks normal.

  2. After seeing you ride dressage in your helmet, I too marched right over to the Charles Owen booth, got fitted by (I think her name was) Danielle, and bought myself the same helmet. My husband didn’t even scuff at the price tag when I got home. He said, “If you’re going to do this, you have to be safe – ALL the time.” So thank you. Enough said about that.

    I was at the coffin jump when you and Arthur came through, and we thought the same thing…needed a little bit more aggressiveness, and you would have been fine. It’s OK. You’re still one of our favorites, and

  3. oops…what do I know…I just love eventing and you and Arthur are fantastic. We will be crossing our fingers that you get to WEG – you and Arthur need to be there. Keep your chin up, shoulders back, heels down….etc. 🙂 Amy

  4. Allison – This is Vickie typing to you. (From your Connemara fan club) Scott and I both want to encourage you. Thanks for your wonderful writeup about your experience at Rolex. It is helpful to hear first-hand about the many facets that go into your decisions for your rides, Arthur’s welfare, and all that is involved. We thought you two were just amazing throughout the whole event. Your constant quest to completely understand the needs of your horses, and your eloquent way of writing about it so others can be learning at the same time you are learning is so valuable. May God bless you and keep you as well as honor your hard work with your horses. Vickie Maris and Scott Greeson

  5. Thank you for making – and sharing – such a smart decision about wearing an equestrian safety helmet. As a rider, a parent and an equestrian journalist, I salute your stand and hope this will influence many to do the same.

    Linda Ann Nickerson
    National Equestrian Examiner

    Linda Ann Nickerson, Equestrian Examiner

  6. I love that you stood your ground for what you believe in and wore your helmet!! That shows leadership and commitment! Good luck to you and Arthur in whatever you decide to do next!! 🙂