Those of us who didn’t grow up spending our weekends picking stalls and counting strides don’t necessarily understand the horse world – let alone the elaborate goings on of the famed Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. Something equestrians and non-equestrians alike do understand, however, is the age-old rivalry between men and women, which is what inspired Neue Schule Ambassador Candice King to lead the women’s team to yet another victory during the 2016 Battle of the Sexes Grand Prix exhibition.
The accomplished rider, who has competed in the Battle of the Sexes since its inception in 2009, says that what keeps her coming back is not only the exciting start to the Winter Equestrian Festival, but also the chance to spark an interest in horses within the non-equestrian community.
King explained, “The other day I walked into the bank and a lady noticed me. She didn’t know my name or really know who I was, but she said, ‘You’re the one in the poster. We love Battle of the Sexes. We come every year!’”
The woman, of course, was alluding to the Star Wars-themed event poster, which prominently featured King—captain of the women’s Battle of the Sexes team— with her arms crossed beside the captain of the male team, Charlie Jayne, who looked equally serious about the January 16 face-off. The event, which drew a record number of fans to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, concluded with a win for the women’s team. Although the men put up a strong fight in the beginning, the women rallied together and won the event 30-25.
“We’re incredibly proud of Candice— both for her impeccable performance in the Battle of the Sexes and her dedication to the continued success of equestrian sports,” said Mette Larsen, president of Metlar Premium Performance Saddlery, the U.S. and Canadian distributor of Neue Schule Bits. “It’s so rewarding to stand by someone who invests so deeply in everything she does— from engaging the public to selecting the best, most comfortable bit for each of her horses.”
As King prepares for the exciting season ahead, she hopes some of the Battle of the Sexes competition fans will stick around to see the 2016 winter circuit unfold at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida— where the fun is just beginning.
King looks forward to partnering with her four mounts to make 2016 a memorable one at the Winter Equestrian Festival. In particular, she’s eager to continue competing Kismet 50, a mare owned by Bellissimo LLC. “I’m always excited to work with Kismet 50,” King said. “She’s really my best friend and partner, so I’m very excited to be competing with her, especially at a couple of five stars.”
King is also bringing along two up-and-coming Grand Prix horses— Azizantos, owned by Group C, and Bugatti VDL, also owned by Bellissimo LLC. Additionally, she’ll be working with Chento, a stallion owned by River Farm Sporthorses, who she hopes to bring up to the Grand Prix this summer.
Along the way, she trains her horses in Neue Schule bits – which King considers key to her success and, more importantly, her horses’ comfort.
“My Neue Schule bits are my go-to bits, from the loose-ring snaffles to the pelhams and universals,” King said. “These bits are critical to my competitive success and wins in the ring. The bits are comfortable for my horses, which makes them accepting of the bit and comfortable with the horse-and-rider connection. And a happy horse means a more successful one.”
King encourages anyone wishing to experience this type of comfortable contact to try a Neue Schule bit of their own.
To learn more about these innovative, ergonomically designed bits, or to find a retailer near you, visit www.NeueSchuleBitsUS.com or call 631–252–5574.
Photo: Neue Schule Ambassador, Candice King, lead the women to a win in the 2016 Battle of the Sexes at the Winter Equestrian Festival (photo courtesy of Candice King).