Monday, March 24, 2008

Puissance: Wow! and [cringe]

Puissance competitions. On one hand, how exciting to see horses and riders test themselves in one huge singular effort. And what an awe-inspiring effort! On the other hand, I can barely stand to watch. The world record has stood for over 50 years (see the second video). A jump of 8 feet, 1 1/4" is held by an ex-racehorse named Huaso. Jumping something like that must be an act of tremendous courage and faith in the rider.

One heckuva jump

World record jump, 8 feet 1 1/4", held by Huaso
Starts about 1 minute and 10 seconds into the video...

As if that jump wasn't incredible enough, read the Wikipedia article on Huaso. After his racing career Huaso was purchased as a dressage prospect--but then he had a serious accident and impaled himself on something. According to the article, he "eventually recovered, but accquired a slight limp in the left hind." In South America in the 1930's, being too lame for dressage apparently didn't preclude a career in showjumping.

Well, who's to say? That hind-limb-lame horse jumped a fence over 8 feet high. To quote an old cowboy friend, there's a horse you don't mind feeding every day. Interesting that the post-jump footage is the triumphant rider hoisted on the shoulders of his countrymen. Hopefully off-camera someone is patting Huaso and saying "GOOD BOY!" Shall I just mention, in case someone missed this -- he's a thoroughbred!


  1. That is absolutely amazing! It is impressive to watch, but I agree, I'm not sure if it's good for the horse. I would also be worried about having to build taller fences... :-)

  2. Incredible! And you really appreciate the height in the 2nd video when he comes down on the other side of the fence.

  3. Coming down and going up -- as he takes off he is jumping close to straight up. Racing takes a lot of heart, but running at least comes naturally. What would possess a horse to want to jump a monster fence like that.

  4. Brave brave pony. I like watching puissances. Generally the people that enter are pretty sure of how brave their horses are and the walls come down pretty easy. They don't get to heights like 8 feet anymore either.


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