Category Archives: Olympia Horse Show

8 puissance

A History of the Puissance

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

AGAINST THE WALL

A History of the Puissance

By Ellie Kelly, Horse Scout Team Press.

It is a leap of faith that requires the most extraordinary levels of trust between horse and human. If you have ever ridden down to a big fence you know that feeling- a mixture of excitement and adrenalin coupled with fear and trepidation. So jumping a 2.13m (7ft) wall whilst a crowd of thousands sit motionless, takes a certain kind of mind set, that of Horse Scout professionals!

The Puissance is one of the most famous and perhaps for spectators, the most exhilarating show jumping competitions in the world. It is always one of the first performances to sell out at the London International Horse Show where it traditionally takes place on Thursday evening. Olympia’s Puissance is one of the most famous and respected competitions worldwide and for this reason has attracted sponsorship from Porsche so it is now known at the Cayenne Puissance.

Essentially a high jump competition, the word “Puissance” was derived from the Anglo-French word meaning “power” which also reflects the requirements of a good Puissance horse, together with a large dose of pluck and trust in their rider.

Today’s Puissance competition is essentially the development of a horse high jump competition which began over one hundred years ago. Historical sources suggest that the event was contested once at the Olympic Games in 1900. Whilst the original version involved jumping a single, slightly sloping fence made from a hedge topped with timber rails, today the formula consists of “the wall” built of hollow red bricks made from wood. This is for safety reasons so that they tumble easily when the jump is knocked.

The World Record was set in 1991 when German Rider, Frank Sloothaak aboard Optiebeurs Golo, jumped 2.38m (7ft10 ins). Until that it was Nick Skelton who held the record which he achieved in 1978 when he and “Lastic” jumped 2.31m (7ft 7 ins) at Olympia. Nick still holds the Olympia Puissance record to this day. However records suggest that the record for the equestrian high jump stands at 2.46m (8ft 1ins) was achieved by Captain Alberto Larraguibel Morales in Chili, in 1949.

At The London International Horse Show,  the class involves a maximum of five rounds- the first round followed by four jump-offs. Accuracy, power and nerves of steel are key and there is certainly no room for even minute error for horse or rider, when jumping such colossal fences. There is always at least one other fence placed in the arena so riders jump a “warm-up” fence before coming to the great wall. The starting heights can vary and for the subsequent jump-offs, the jumps are raised for each round. The winner is of course the horse and rider who jumps that famous brick wall at the greatest height. In the event of equality after the fifth round, riders share first prize and sometimes riders choose to bow out gracefully whilst they are equal first and share top spot with their rivals. First prize is worth £20,000 so it is taken very seriously.

Show jumping’s most famous family- The Whitaker’s, have been particularly successful in this competition. John Whitaker holds the record for winning the most amount of Puissance’s at Olympia whilst his son Robert is a Puissance genius and holds the record for jumping the class bareback (without a saddle). Robert’s cousin Ellen Whitaker has been one of the most successful female Puissance competitors and her brother William holds the record for being the youngest winner of the Olympia Puissance.

Robert Whitaker has won over 20 Puissance competitions and 13 consecutively on the impressive chestnut Finbarr jumping over 2.26m (7ft 5)ins  on one occasion in Dublin. “To win any class at Olympia is fantastic but I think the Puissance is even more special.” Says Robert. “It’s a class the crowds love, Finbarr was particularly popular because he’s this big horse with an even bigger jump. Although he certainly had his own style and technique jumping that wall.”

Robert and his horse Waterstone hold the record for bare back puissance clearing just under 2.1m (7ft). “It was one of those occasions where everything just went to plan on the night as Waterstone had never jumped a puissance before or even practised at home” says Robert.

Image rights Horse and Hound

 

 


Olympia Horse Show

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Written by Ellie Kelly Horse Scout press

The greatest exhibition of horsemanship: Olympia Horse Show

Horses, champagne and shopping are three of my favourite things. It’s always a heady cocktail of all that with an extra helping of festive fever at The London International Horse Show. Did you know it remains the UK’s largest indoor horse show and around 3000 bottles of champagne are drunk each year?

Olympia always attracts leading riders but this year, the line-up is nothing short of orgasmic. SEVEN of the world’s top ten showjumpers, some of the GREATEST dressage riders of all time plus the current Driving WORLD CHAMPION. Then throw in some damn fine looking Chilean men doing crazy things on horseback and throng of flat and jump jockeys, most of whom are the most FAMOUS on the planet.

Christmas Jumpers

With more talent than your Aunt Roberta’s knitting skills, this year’s jumping entries will raise the roof. The British line-up includes Scott Brash, Ben Maher, leading British lady, Laura Renwick as well as John and Michael Whitaker who have almost a century’s worth of experience between them (ouch).

European challengers include former World No 1 Simon Delestre, current World No 3 and recent winner of the  Rolex IJRC Final, Kevin Staut, FEI World Cup winner Steve Guerdat, Olympic silver medallist Peder Fredricson and the effervescent Lorenzo de Luca who is always a favourite with the crowds.

Perfect piaffes and how to produce the next Valegro

Olympia would not be the same without indulging in the nations love affair with Carl and Charlotte. The pair have practically owned the place with their performances for years now. Whilst neither are competing in the FEI World Cup classes, they will be inspiring and motivating us with a Masterclass on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Wednesday Carl will be entertaining and educating on the process of making a Grand Prix horse with Charlotte as his guinea pig and at times the brunt of his wicked humour. It’s hot gossip that Charlotte will be bringing her FEI World Equestrian Games hopeful, Mount St John Freestyle for her Masterclass on Tuesday.

The FEI World Cup London leg is as hotly contested as ever. There is Patrick Kittel, Swedish Olympian and leader of the Western League, Dutch maestro, Edward Gal and the home team includes Hayley Watson-Greaves, Emile Faurie, Richard Davison, Gareth Hughes and Lara Butler.

Doing it for charity

The Markel Champions Challenge is all in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF). A cause close to most jockey’s hearts and some incredible jockeys go tête-à-tête in a relay show-jumping competition.

20-time Champion Jockey, Sir A P McCoy is coming out of retirement to lead the jump jockeys, in battle against the Flat jockeys led by none other than Frankie Dettori.  AP is not a man to rest on his laurels. “Last year, I watched from the side lines as my fellow jump jockeys got thrashed by Dettori’s boys. So this year I shall be picking my own team and shall be looking to the greats of the past to help me do this. Whilst we’ll be ultra-competitive, it’s all for such a great cause in the Injured Jockeys Fund.”

We all scream for Ex-treme

Hold your horses because once again, Olympia hosts three Driving competitions which has attracted some of the world’s best four-in-hand drivers. Thursday’s “Extreme Driving Top score” will warm up both the drivers and the spectators for the following two legs of the FEI World Cup.

As well as popular Ozzie and World champ Boyd Exell, British driver Dan Naprous will be staking a claim as will the most experienced and multi-medalled of any driver, Ijsbrand Chardon who has been at the top of the sport since the 80s.

 

All I want for Christmas…

Is an Animo show jacket, a Butet saddle and a Liberty Kelly poncho. With 225 shops embracing cutting edge fashion, bargain rugs and unique gifts, this place comes with a warning. Especially if you are anything like us and have hit the champagne bar beforehand. #shopresponsibly #tattinger

 

The Horse Scout Team will be at Olympia bringing news, views and inspiration.

 

Tickets to the London International Horse Show are still available for some performances and you can watch the best of dressage and show jumping action on the BBC.

https://www.olympiahorseshow.com/