New York City—Sept. 21
The giant puissance wall at the center of the Wollman Ring in Central Park was no match for three top riders at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show tonight, as Kama Godek (De Grande), Todd Minikus (VDL Excel) and Emanuel Andrade (Clouwni) all tied for the top spot in the U.S. Open $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance after clearing a 6’9” fence.
All five competitors—including Paul O’Shea (Lotus) and reigning co-champion Andy Kocher (Eristob) made it through the second-to-last round of competition. Modern puissance rules demand that, for horses’ sake, competition ends after five rounds, but the three horses who did clear the Larry Bird-height fence made it look easy.
Godek, Leesburg, Va., had complete faith in her 17.3-hand mount, telling announcer John Kyle that her horse, De Grande, trotted over her four-board fence the day she brought him home. She practiced jumping a wall a bit before making the trip to the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, but most of the other riders didn’t bother.
“A puissance class is really a power contest,” said Minikus, Loxahatchee, Fla. “Any horse who can rock back on his haunches and give a big push is a good contender, unless you’re Clouwni and Emanuel gives you wings.”
Andrade, Aiken, S.C., was uber confident in his mount, who went double clear with previous rider, Brazil’s Marlon Modolo Zanotelli, at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (France), saying “Clouwni would clear something even higher.”
Co-CEO and co-chair of the Rolex Central Park Horse Show Mark Bellissimo mused about changing the look of the iconic wall for next year’s edition, considering a Brooklyn Bridge theme or perhaps reviving a version of the notorious Kong Wall in Virginia.
He also hinted that the puissance class, long a crowd favorite may come back as a demonstration competition at the upcoming 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, N.C.
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