US showjumper Todd Minikus reckons his horse VDL Excel could have gone higher than the 6 foot 9 inch wall of the puissance at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show in New York’s Central Park last week.
The park is a common meeting place in New York City for tennis, baseball, basketball, and ice skating, but this time citydwellers to a nail-biting equestrian show jumping competition.
There were three winners of the US Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance in the Wollman Rink, with Minikus, Kama Godek, and Emanuel Andrade each soaring over the 6’9″ wall – an inch taller than basketball player LeBron James.
Competition in the Puissance began with a brick wall obstacle set at 4 feet, 6 inches high. Horse and rider pairs took turns jumping the wall, which was raised after each round. The event was called to an end after the three longest-lasting pairs each cleared the 6 foot, 9 inch wall with apparent ease. Todd Minikus on VDL Excel, Kama Godek on De Grande, and Emanuel Andrade on Clouwni were all named victors.
Minikus, an internationally successful show jumper with a US Pan American Games Team Bronze Medal and over 150 Grand Prix wins to his name, was left wishing they’d had a chance to jump even higher. “VDL Excel jumped the 6 foot, 9 inches very easily,” he said. “Six feet and 9 inches is a big enough jump, but I think if they had raised it again, he would have been able to do that easily enough. He seemed really brave and comfortable.”
Minikus and the eight-year-old, owned by Autumn View Farm, have had an impressive summer even before the Puissance. Last month, the pair claimed the reserve title in the $20,000 Jumper Derby at Equifest II in Wayne, Illinois. “He’s is a very scopey jumper. I just knew he would do well in the Puissance,” Minikus said. “He’s young, and just breaking into the upper level classes. He’s got a lot of talent.”
Minikus’s own highest jump cleared to date is 7 feet and 4 inches.