FLYING WITH WINGS
Equestrian champion Karen Polle weighs in on her riding career and her partnership with Mikimoto
What are some of your favourite memories from your riding career?
One of my favourites is winning the five-star Douglas Elliman Grand Prix in Wellington, Florida last year with my horse With Wings. We had also won the Grand Prix Qualifier two days earlier, which very rarely happens in this sport. Another of my favourite memory is placing third in the Rolex Grand Prix at Versailles last May with Wings. It was our first big five-star show in Europe, and I was very intimidated. It was a spectacular feeling to do so well there at such an incredible venue and in front of such an energetic crowd.
You now manage your own horses. Why do you do it?
I believe that the programme I’ve created with my team is best for the health and fitness of my horses, and it also provides me with the flexibility to travel around the world for competitions. I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to train and maintain my horses as world-class athletes. I believe it’s definitely made me a better rider because I’m much more in tune with my horses and what it is that helps them perform their best.
How did the partnership with Mikimoto come about?
Mikimoto approached me about a partnership because it was interested in supporting a Japanese athlete who was competing internationally. I’ve loved their jewellery ever since I got my ears pierced as a teenager, and I’ve only ever worn Mikimoto’s pearls, so it was a dream come true for me to work with the brand!
Mikimoto created a custom set of pearl-studded riding gear for you and With Wings. Did you have a hand in their creation?
With Wings is a really special horse. I call him my “once in a lifetime” horse because most riders will only ever find one horse like this in their lifetimes, if ever. So I wanted to create a piece for him that’s as special and unique as he is. I thought it would be beautiful to make him an ear bonnet lined with pearls. It started as this fantastic dream of mine and I still can’t believe that Mikimoto was able to make it into a reality. I’m very grateful to them for that. I love seeing Wings in his Mikimoto gear; I can’t express how proud it makes me feel!