We’re burning midnight oil again, but we promised to blog about the oldest horse show in the country, Upperville – ditto, the Dubarry Style Awards at Rolex. So, we’ll TCB in one post – and it isn’t really a non sequitur: Dubarry has set up their distinctive booth at Upperville, which oozes style and class. It just feels really appropriate to merge our overdue post about the Rolex Dubarry Style Awards with our first blog about Upperville.
Of course, we’ve been wearing our Dubarrys. Having bashed a little toe a week ago in Pennsylvania, the only footwear we can walk in without wanting to pitch to the ground writhing in pain is, you guessed it, our vintage bling boots. Call them ‘early Dubarry’ if you must, but they’re like the energizer rabbit – they just keep going. Best of all, they help to compress and support the injured tootsie. In fact, if we were not endowed genetically with pigheaded determination, you might not be reading this, but we have this jones for the Upperville show and a pragmatic fondness for a certain brand of boot all year round, but we digress…
The other day we met the great-grandson and great-granddaughter of the Col Dulaney who started the Upperville Colt & Horse Show in 1853. Met them under the oaks in the main hunter ring when they presented the Founder’s Cup. Amazing to be so connected to so much history. We’re really hoping they have some stories to share about their distinguished ancestor (more on that another time).
At this year’s Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, we survived the press marathon to cover the equestrian triathlon plus the Kentucky Cups for show jumping and dressage – test events held at the Kentucky Horse Park in preparation for the Alltech World Equestrian Games, Sept. 25-Oct 10. Dubarry sponsors the Style Awards, and each year at Rolex a distinguished (albeit secret) panel of judges study the riders as they present their horses for the First Horse Inspection, which takes place on Wednesday afternoon, the day before the first day of dressage.
“The Jog” is a tradition of the three-day event. Competitors get dressed up for the formal presentation of their horses to the jury of veterinarians and officials. Some really glam it up although we have no clue how the women stay upright if they’re wearing high heels – boots or shoes – when those big powerful event horses show off at a huge trot. This year, the two ‘best dressed’ riders were Lauren Kieffer of Middleburg and Peter Atkins, an Australian based in Florida. They each won a pair of Dubarry Boots.
Tara Ziegler began ‘modeling’ the new lines of apparel several years ago at Rolex under Dubarry’s sponsorship, which makes her ineligible to compete for the Style Award. This year at Rolex, she wore a tweed jacket, ruffled shirt and tweed shorts with the signature boots.
Blissful booted four-star bling are a few of the words we used to describe the waterproof boots in 2008 in a profile for the June Sidelines. But they’re more than bling. They’re boots that go anywhere and can handle water, mud, snow – you name it – and they’re comfortable, too. We couldn’t be on our feet for hours at Upperville without them, especially with that mashed, swollen toe.
You can’t miss the Dubarry tent – they usually have someone standing in a shallow tub of water, wearing – you guessed it – a pair of those uber-cool boots. Break them in gently and your feet will thank you.
The other reason why we’re happily doing Upperville is Metro Golf Cart Rentals. We struck a deal with A.W. – even without an injured tooties, a golf cart is the only way to keep yours truly from getting totally worn out, handing out magazines and carting heavy camera equipment back and forth from ring to ring, from hunter to jumper side.
Metro has been doing golf cart rentals at Upperville for about 15 years, maybe longer. You like getting a good deal – talk to A.W. He’s a cool dude. He goes to Florida to WEF to fix folks up with golf carts on the sunshine circuit. Check it out. Oops – obscured the phone number: (800) 772-6776.
Tommy Lee Jones manages three shows: Upperville, Warrenton Pony and Warrenton Horse Show. He’s been huntsman for Casanova for 40 years, but at heart he’s still a jumper rider. Before he reached his teen years, he rode open jumpers under the tutelage of his father, the late, great Thomas E. Jones, known affectionately as “Papa Tommy.”
Tommy Lee does a great job. He hasn’t exactly been on speaking terms with Mother Nature the last few years, and her hissy-fit downpours have resulted in extensive improvements, especially all-weather footing in the rings.
Jones is also coping with the departure of longtime Upperville Jumper Classic sponsor Budweiser. The new owners now channel their monies into show jumping in their own country. So, this year, a bunch of local people who love Upperville stepped up as financial angels. Check out the win photo from the $25,000 Welcome Stakes. Joe Fargis, Middleburg’s own, placed one-two in the $10,000 1.40 meter class on Thursday in the Theo Randolph grand prix grass ring. Oeji Farm and Mary B. Schwab’s Diams III won it, with Sandron Farm’s Lariat second.
Fargis is a great horseman. Instead of jumping Lariat in the Welcome Stakes, he let him rest, no doubt saving him for Sunday’s grand prix. The spectators were treated to Fargis riding Diams III and Kimber in the class of 23. Diams (dee-ums) has put in clear rounds all week and scorched the clock in the jump-off against seven younger horses (and riders) to win it with the maestro. Kimber finished ninth with Fargis and took home a paycheck, too.
Too bad Dubarry doesn’t make horse boots, too. Diams III and Fargis both have style. They’re genuine class acts, and it’s been great to watch them in action, doing what they do so well, whupping the ‘youngsters’ and showing all of us how to do it right.
Catch the action live on the web – go to www.upperville.com and click on the camera.
Better yet, come on out to Upperville and experience good old Virginia hospitality for yourself.