Saturday, January 7, saw the annual Battle of the Sexes competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival. This battle has been held for the past 14 years and the Girls team has won no less than 11 times. But would they win this time? The two teams consist of 10 riders on each team and there are three phases in the competition. The first Phase had the riders jump a course and each rail knocked down adds 2 seconds to that horse and riders time. The horse and rider with the fastest time and wins one point for their team. At the end of Phase One the Men were leading by 9 to 1.
Phase two was a relay with three relay groups and each rider would jump a section of the course. At the the end of this phase the women had closed the gap by 10 points but with the scores 11 to 14 the Men were still leading.
In the interval between the phases there was lots of entertainment. A Dance Cam that got the kids dancing, plus jugglers and fire breathers etc. All of them good.
Phase three was a race over two identical courses of jumps.A flagman would lower his flag and the two riders would set off at the gallop. With amazingly tight turns and speed the horses cleared the course fences and then had a final gallop to the finish line, but there was one remaining jump in that final line!
The Stadium was packed and hundreds of people cheered on the teams .It was very exciting! When it was time for the penultimate pair to start their race the scores for Men’ Team and Women’s Team were even. Could the Women bring home another victory?The starters flag went down and they were off. Christian Coyle from the mens team and Nicole Jayne of the women’s team both rode very fast rounds but Christian was just seconds faster. The tie was broken. The photo below is Christian Coyle just walking before the start of the race.
The final race was won by the men and so the Men’s Team were the winners of this year’s Battle of the Sexes. The prize money was $75,000 presented by the Wellington Regional Medical Center. Despite the fact that I was rooting for the Woman’s Team it was a grand evening. Both Teams got into the spirit of the fun with decorating their horses.
There was even a Unicorn that was a great jumper!
The atmoshere in the stadium was terrific and I think that everyone there had a good time. Two riders, one man and one woman, had what we riders refer to as “involuntary dismounts” but neither riders nor horses were injured.