If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try (eight more times) again.
That was the unspoken motto for the blue team going into last night’s Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.
For the first time in the event’s ten year history, the men emerged victorious—restoring honor to their gender and balance to the (equestrian) universe.
USA’s Charlie Jayne led five Irishmen (David Blake, Andrew Bourns, Jordan Coyle, William Hickey, and Darragh Kenny), three Americans (Alex Granato, Spencer Smith, and Michael Tokaruk) and a Venezuelan (Luis Larrazabal) to the long awaited victory in the class. Together they defeated Nicole Bellissimo’s predominantly American cast of female challengers, represented by Heather Caristo-Williams, Maggie Jayne, Caelinn Leahy, Abigail McArdle, Chelsea Sundius, Annabella Sanchez, Sydney Shulman, Alexandra Welles and lone Brit, Amanda Derbyshire.
The contest was held in three phases that included a faults converted speed round, a relay race, and a match race.
After two rounds of competition (round one ended in a tie), the women’s team was on track to prevail over the men once again with a five point lead (15:10). Alas, the tides turned in the third and final round. The men took a decisive 18 points to the women’s nine in the match race for a final tally of 28 to 24.
Bragging rights went to the blue team. Finally.
The important thing here is that all the riders, regardless of gender, had the chance to embrace their inner 12-year old and dress up their horses in body paint and bows.
WEF picks up again next week with the first FEI competition of the season.