NZ puissance record to be challenged

Tim Gredley and Unex Valente.
Tim Gredley and Unex Valente clear 7′ in the Puissance at the Alltech National Horse Show in the US last month. © Rebecca Walton

A $70,000 bonus is in the offing for the showjumper who can top New Zealand’s height record by 8cm in a puissance competition in Dunedin next year.

Allan Goodall’s long-standing record will be fair game at the Forsyth Barr Stadium as part of Ride The Rhythm in February.

The bonus is in addition to the $5000 prize money.

Goodall’s the record was set back in 1984 at the Highland Games in Hasting when he cleared 2.13m riding Skud, breaking Stuart Mitchell’s 14-year record of 2.12 metres set at the Tomoana Showgrounds aboard Jatent in 1970.

Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the Ride The Rhythm equestrian programme, the puissance will see a star-studded line up of Australasia’s top jumpers put aside their fears as they jump into the unknown.

Puissance competitions were commonplace during the 1970s and 80s, but now they are rarely seen in New Zealand. Translated from French, “puissance” means power, and that’s exactly what’s going to be needed if Goodall’s record is to tumble, he adds.

Horse and rider combinations will begin by attempting a course of four to six fences ranging in height upwards from 1.4metres which will include the GJ Gardner wall. As the rounds of the competition progress, the jumps will be raised higher until just two obstacles, including the wall, remain. Only the horse or horses that clear the final round will be eligible to try for the $70,000 and ultimately write their way into the history books, Hansen explains.

Although 2.21m (7ft 3½in) is seemingly unobtainable it is well short of the current world indoor puissance record, which is held by German rider Frankie Sloothaak, who jumped 2.4m (7 ft 10 in) aboard Optiebeurs Golo in Belgium in 1991, breaking his previous record set on Leonardo.

At last year’s British Horse of the Year Show two riders – Nottinghamshire’s Joe Clayton, with Nick Ward’s riding Leonardo, and Scotland’s Douglas Duffin on Volcano – shared the honours after clearing a whopping 2.20m (7ft 3in) in the fifth and final round. Last month British rider Tim Gredley proved to be one of the world’s bravest riders when he clear 2.13m (7ft) wall aboard his talented mount Unex Valente in the $50,000 Puissance at the Alltech National Horse Show in the United States.

The puissance will be just one of the climaxes of Ride The Rhythm’s high-octane equestrian programme which includes the $50,000 McMillian Equine Feeds Super Grand Prix in the lead-up to British supergroup, The Hollies’, 50th anniversary tour performance.



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