What a competition in the final few rounds of this years puissance. It is limited to a 5 round contest on welfare grounds, where as at one time, the wall would keep increasing in height until there was a winner. The final few contenders being Michael Whittaker, Guy Williams, Ben Maher, Ellen Whittaker and Tina Fletcher fought hard to win. Round 4 saw the end for Guy Williams on the big grey Richi Rich as he fought with his head, down to the wall and took bricks out. The same applied to Ellen Whittaker on the fantastically talented grey mare, Ladina B, who wouldn’t settle and gave Ellen a hard time.
Through to round 5 and the wall at 7ft3, first to go was Ben Maher on Noctambule Courcelle, who had been bought especially for this class. He did an excellent consistent clear jump and the horse looked like it could jump another foot with ease. A good effort from Michael Whittaker next, but Cyber Space just didn’t get the height, leaving Tina Fletcher last to go on the amazingly scopey dark thoroughbred, Promised Land, which didn’t go clear as the horse was extremely unsettled, which certainly hindered. Ben Maher was a deserved winner. All horses and riders showed amazing courage and power as they came down to a fence that only the brave would tackle. The current British high jump record, not a puissance wall, is still held by Nick Skelton, who in 1978 with Lastic, jumped 7ft7 and 5/16.
If you are having withdrawal symptoms from the end of the summer shows, why not do some indoor jumping this winter. There are various classes for anyone wanting to start be it either affiliated or unaffiliated showjumping. There is unaffiliated jumping on at Barton, Myerscough, Osbaldeson (Ross’), Aintree and clear round evenings at Valiants. Affiliated showjumping (BSJA) is held also at the above venues. There is a British Novice class (fences up to 90cm) and Discovery (up to 1m) to introduce you nicely into affiliated showjumping. For more information, go to www.britishshowjumping.co.uk. There is also trailblazers, which is the next level up from unafilliated showjumping. This also covers dressage and showing and is a qualifier for Stoneleigh in the summer. Barton Equestrian and Osbaldeston (Ross’) both hold qualifiers, for more information visit www.trailblazerschampinships.com.