Rider Profile: Candice King

Candice aboard Kismet
Candice aboard Kismet

World Class Grand Prix Show Jumper and FEI Award Winner

Candice King is a world class Grand Prix show jumper who has garnered multiple FEI titles and awards over the past 2 decades. She has represented the USA on multiple Nations Cup teams and was also the top ranked US rider at the 2001 World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden. Since winning the coveted 2001 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at the CSIO5* Hickstead in England, Candice has continued to rack up top placing Grand Prix finishes nationally and internationally. She was short­listed for the 2006 World Equestrian Games, was a member of the 2nd place U.S. team at the 2013 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup at the CSIO5* Spruce Meadows and was a member of two winning FEI Nations Cup teams in 2015.

In addition to her remarkable accomplishments in the tack, she’s a devoted mother and well grounded human being. To read more about Candice’s remarkable accomplishments please read her USEF Bio here.

Equestrian Beginnings

Candice King’s family is from the San Fernando Valley in California, where her parents Al and Marlo Schlom shared their love for quarter horses with Candice at a very young age. When Candice was just 6 months old, her parents would put her on the front of their western saddles and take her for trail rides……This is how her passion for horses began.

Her Father, trained and competed in the roping & cutting disciplines and Candice loved to go to the cutting arena with him. Practicing her turns on her father’s cutting horses clearly foreshadowed what would lead to her future in the show jumping world.

At the western shows, they didn’t offer cutting classes for children her age, so as a 6 year old, she took part in the in­hand and horsemanship classes. “I was too bored because they wouldn’t allow me to do the cutting. Dad took me to a local show hunter barn with his best cutting and halter horse. We learned to jump and won in hunters & equitation classes on a little black Quarter Horse named Penny Lane. My parent’s were so supportive.”

Candice’s parents didn’t have a large ranch nor deep pockets, so they did everything they could to nurture her love for horses. Her father worked in the insurance business, which eventually morphed into a focus on the equine and farm industry. This was all in an effort to help support their daughter and her obvious talent in the show ring.

Candice credits many people who helped her in those early years on the west coast: Pee Wee Moreno, Mousie Williams, Shari Rose, Jolene Labour and Hap Hanson.

My last 3 junior years I was a working student on the east coast and I had to work off my lessons and showing at Beacon Hill for Frank Madden & Bill Cooney.

Susie Hutchinson, Jimmy Williams were also very instrumental in her early riding career.

What’s In A Name

Candice’s business name is Esperanza Incorporated LLC. The name touches hispanic roots from California as Esperanza means good luck or good wishes! Candice operates her business out of the Bellissimo’s farms in Tryon, NC & Wellington, Fl. Their farm name is Far Niente and has italian roots that implies a place of rest and relaxation.

Number of Horses in Training:

Approximately 30

Key Staff:

Assistant trainer Nathaniel Estes has been with Candice for 3 years riding and training. He also shows a few of the young horses and is instrumental to her operation.

Favorite Show Venues or Events:

Internationally ­ Dublin, Aachen, Spruce Meadows

Nationally ­ – Sat nights at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Wellington Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF)

The crowd and the excitement is reaching a new level here in the US. “Walking into Tryon when there were 12 thousand people in the stands for the unveiling of the Rolex clocks for the 4* Grand Prix was amazing!”

Greatest Accomplishments

When asking Candice about her greatest accomplishment, she’s quick to note it isn’t always about winning or about a particular result in her show career. She finds most of her satisfaction in being a good horseman.

“At this stage in my career I’ve become a good horseman and everything else has fallen into place. I honestly truly love being around the horses, developing the young ones and I’ve always taken pride in bringing out the best in a project horse. I also enjoy helping my students develop to where they can make independent decisions. I’ve allowed them to make their own choices, so when they step in the ring they’re prepared.

I love to win, but I didn’t come from money and I watched my parents struggle to make it happen for me. It means more to me to be a horseman rather than a competitor. I still want to make another run at it for Olympics, but I want to do everything the right way in my business.”

Most Influential Horses

Penny Lane -­ The little black quarter horse who taught her to jump.

  • Chocolate Mousse – At 14, Candice was featured on Horses Magazine jumping a 6’ puissance wall! They were also champions at Devon & Washington.
  • Wula -­ First World Cup Grand Prix win, first Nation’s Cup double clear & topped the FEI list on this mare.
  • Kodiac -­ A 17 hands this big Thoroughbred had many physical issues but always persevered and was the North American champion at Spruce Meadows in 1991.
  • Mister Spoon – ­ Put Candice back on the map and the top 10 on FEI list. “He had a big water issues but we spent a lot of tough hours together but it all paid off. In southern pines we would go out for hours hacking and he would try to run me under trees to avoid the water.”
  • John E.M. -­ 4th in 2001 World Cup Finals. “I rode my last GP at 6 months pregnant on him. He had more heart than scope but gave me everything.”
  • Skara Glen’s Davos -­ Represented the US in 2010 at CSIO Rotterdam and CHIO Aachen, Long List 2010 WEG. Sold to Saudia Arabian Equestrian Team.
  • Skara Glen’s Rebozo – Produced this top international stallion who went on to be 4th at WEG in Kentucky and top 25 individually in London under Rodrigo Pessoa.
  • Kismet -­ Her current top Grand Prix horse who she rode recently to a 4rd place finish (and the top placed American) in the 2015 Central Park Grand Prix. “She is me in horse form and my best partner. Took me around the million dollar Grand Prix in Florida when I had 3 fractures in my neck. More success and consistency in her in last 3 years.”

Greatest Mentors

My parents, Al & Marlo Schlom, who both still live on the same property in the San Fernando Valley. “Dad just turned 90 and he won the Welles Family Trophy in Kentucky at the national horse show at McClay Finals. It was such an honor!”

An excerpt from the Phelps Media press release sheds more light on the equestrian history of this family and this honor:

LEXINGTON, Ky.­ Oct. 29, 2015 ­ Few people have given as much of their time to the industry than Al Schlom, who will be awarded the 2015 Welles Family Trophy at the CP National Horse Show.

The CP National Horse Show is honored each year to award the trophy to a special individual who has made an exceptional commitment and contribution to the sport and to the equestrian industry.

Schlom, always a popular and recognizable figure at horse shows throughout the nation for decades, spent much of his time training and helping his young daughter, Candice King, become one of the great riders in the United States. She has since represented the United States on a number of Nations Cups teams, competed in the FEI World Cup Finals and scored numerous victories in grand prix events across the nation and around the world.

Read the full release here.

On the Bellissimo’s

Candice has been training out of the Bellissimo’s facilities for several years and their business partnership emulates a mutual dedication to the equestrian industry, a high level of respect for personal goals and a prioritization of family values.

“They’re unbelievable and have been so supportive of me. Our priorities are the same in regards to family, business, and being grounded! They’ve been instrumental in my career but they’ve allowed me to live by my standards in this sport to maintain a healthy quality of life.

“That’s a big thing for the Bellissimo’s. Their family is so supportive of this industry…they want to study and learn the industry and have taken it to the next level. They want this sport to emulate Nascar or the PGA tour and with their leadership, it can get there.”

Non­-Equine Interests

Waterskiing, tennis and going to the beach with her daughter, Alex King. “She rides in the low Jr. Jumpers but she’s very active in soccer and it was important for her father & I to have her in a team sport. The horses will always be here.”

2016 Targeted Event Goals

2016 is mapping out to be another busy year for Candice and Esperanza Incorporated!

The following shows are on her target list for this year:

  • Trump Invitational
  • FEI 5* WEF
  • Nations Cup WEF
  • HITS Ocala & Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix
  • Xalapa Furusiyya Nations Cup
  • FEI Tryon
  • Central Park Horse Show
  • HITS Saugerties Million Grand Prix


Candice also knows that her sponsors are a big reason why she’s successful in this industry, so she wanted to make sure they were appropriately acknowledged for being part of her team!

  • Devoucoux
  • Cavalleria Toscana
  • Tucci Boots
  • Samshield
  • EquiFUSE
  • Kentucky Horsewear
  • Newmarket Joint Supplements
  • Theraplate
  • Meadowbrook Horse Transport
  • Purina Horse Feeds