We pretend to go to the horse show but everyone really knows it’s a circus!
Bring on the clowns! And the horses too!
Every Friday Counter-Canter Culture features the important US and International Horse Shows currently under way.
FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival 2014
With a polar vortex taking over the northern regions of America, it is absolute time to take equestrian activities down south – Wellington, Florida for the Winter Equestrian Festival to be exact. The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, which kicked off on January 8th and runs through March 30th, is the world’s largest and longest running equestrian competition. This year close to $8 million in prize money will be awarded during the twelve weeks of world-class competition.
Week one is sponsored by The Mar-a-Lago Club and runs through Sunday, January 12. The week’s highlight is absolutely the $75,000 Nespresso Battle of the Sexes exhibition class to be held tomorrow evening, Saturday, January 11, as the start of the “Saturday Night Lights” series.
The Battle of the Sexes is a three-phase contest, including a speed round, match races and a six-bar competition. Each team has ten world-class competitors who, in the speed round, jump a course in a head to head competition with a particular rider from the other team. The fastest time wins one point for their team! The match races come next, with the men and women competing side by side over identical courses. Again, the winner of the match race scores one point for their team.
The final phase is an exciting six-bar competition in which riders face six fences of increasing height set in a straight line. Two points are awarded to each team for clear rounds, while knocking down a rail will get a rider eliminated from the competition. After each round where more than one competitor goes clean, or is tied for the fewest faults, the six fences are raised for each subsequent round until there is a single winner. Last year, the competition started at 1.60m (5’3”) in height and moved up to an impressive 1.80m (5’11”) through three rounds before a winner was declared. In years past, the final fence has been set at well over six feet!
Watch Georgina Bloomberg and her mount, appropriately named High Rise, clinch victory for the girls in 2013 with this video.
General admission is free, so for those in the Florida area there is no excuse for missing this unique event! If you do attend, note that spectators are encouraged to wear pink and blue to support their favorite team. We recommended you go with pink if you want to be on the winning side. The women have dominated this event since it was launched in 2009! You can get a sneak peak at each team’s battle plan for Battle of the Sexes 2014 in this video.
Will the women be able to pull off the win once again? We’ll have to wait and see tomorrow!