It was a packed house at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center this evening as the women earned their fourth consecutive victory in the $55,000 Nespresso Battle of the Sexes at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. The ladies swept the three phase competition with 29 points over the men's score of 17 to win.
The women's team was captained by Katie Prudent, and included riders Tatiana Dzavik, Margie Engle, Brianne Goutal, Maggie Jayne, Reed Kessler, Candice King, Laura Kraut, Marilyn Little Meredith, Catherine Pasmore, and Jessica Springsteen.
Henri Prudent led the men's team, which included riders Daniel Bluman, Steven Bluman, Charlie Jayne, Ben Meredith, Todd Minikus, Richie Moloney, Michael Murphy, Andres Rodriguez, Nick Skelton, and Shane Sweetnam.
The first round of competition in tonight's Nespresso Battle of the Sexes was the speed round, with a six to four win for the ladies. Catherine Pasmore and Pacific Beach H.C. had the fastest round for the women (59.010 seconds) and Michael Murphy and Ultrafox were the fastest of all the rounds for the men (58.424 seconds).
The match races followed, with the men and women competing side by side over identical courses. The women dominated, winning seven to three and bringing the total points to 13 over seven.
Although Catherine Pasmore did not do the six-bar tonight despite winning the round last year, she was happy to help the team with her speed rounds. "I definitely believe that my horse was the fastest out here. She is just wicked fast. She turns tighter than I want to and sometimes I have a hard time staying on!" Pasmore laughed. "I have actually never shown her in a night class before and she was amazing, so I think I might go for some bigger night classes with her now."
"I love this class," the rider added with a smile. "It is just so much fun to go against the guys. Everyone tries the little cheating maneuvers for fun. It is fun being paired up and it really gets your adrenaline going."
The six-bar competition completed the evening with four men and four women returning, each earning two points per clear round. The six-bar went just two rounds before only two men remained and the women were deemed the winners, scoring 16 points to the men's ten. The final tally for all three rounds was 29 to 17 - a clear victory for the women.
Another young rider who excelled in tonight's class was Reed Kessler, who showed her horse Flight in the speed rounds and Ligist in the six-bar. Kessler also did last year's class and admitted that it was a team effort. "It is a great experience," she said of the competition. "It is really fun to just tear around and I feel like I know everybody on my team better from doing it. It is just a blast. It is a great class and I think it is great for the crowd. I love doing it every year. I hope I get to do it again and thanks to Nespresso."
Laura Kraut was a veteran competitor on the team, having shown all four years. Kraut noted that it is great to have a team of young, talented riders to compete with. "I remember when I was the younger rider on certain teams and I think it is important to feel the support of those that are older," she said. "I enjoy it and plus we have some great young riders. Catherine Pasmore, Reed Kessler, Jessie Springsteen, the list goes on. You would be happy to ride with them anywhere."
Kraut has shown in the Battle of the Sexes every year and enjoys the competition. "The first couple of years it was right down to the wire. It has only been the last couple of years that it has been kind of a runaway, which is great," she recalled with a smile. "I am just super competitive at everything, so it is good. I enjoy the night. Once you get here and you get going it is really fun."
Source: Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.