Karel Cox and Victoria Gulliksen are the joint winners of the TAGG Puissance, despite Victoria taking a tumble after clearing the wall at 2.15 (7ft).
The puissance always gets the crowd going and last night’s competition at Horse of the Year Show saw a full-house, at full volume, cheering on the eleven riders.
By round four, they were down to six, with Victoria, Karel, Tim Stockdale, Kimberley White, Ireland’s Anthony Condon and David Murdoch having all cleared the wall at 2.05m (6ft 9in).
It was when course builder Bob Ellis put it up to a massive 2.15m that the riders ran into trouble.
Tim, Kimberley, Anthony and David all put in a sterling effort, but took out a brick or two. Kimberley was particularly pleased with the appropriately named Catapult, as it was the biggest she’d ever jumped the horse – and only her second ever puissance.
“I’m over the moon with him,” she said. “He tried his best, but just had a slight rub so we were unlucky.
“The crowd was unbelievable – having them behind me was amazing. The adrenalin buzz was unreal.”
Victoria, who is the daughter of top Norwegian showjumper Geir Gulliksen, nearly brought the whole wall down when her leg caught the wing. It wavered, but incredibly stayed put, which was more than could be said for the 23-year-old, who took a tumble from Grand Balou 4 after clearing the finish line.
Despite her fall she was still in the competition, along with Belgium’s Karel Cox who cleared the wall in style with Passion D Ive Z.
‘Brave and scopey’
Both riders decided against going head-to-head in a fifth round, as Karel’s hosre is only eight years old and it was the first time Victoria had jumped her father’s horse.
“It was an amazing kick to jump that big wall,” Victoria said. “He jumped a bit too much to the left so nearly had the wing, but he managed to clear the wall.”
Cox has only had Passion D Ive Z for two months and decided to bring him to HOYS as an addition to the three horses he had entered.
“He did super, the horse jumped very good,” said Karel. “My horse is very brave, scopey horse. When it was bigger he jumped better.”
Saturday night at the Birmingham’s NEC kicked off with the Accumulator, where points are gained for each fence cleared and deducted for every rail down. The most valuable – or costly – fence is the joker fence, worth 20 points.
The top seven riders all accrued 65 points, but Billy Twomey and Tin Tin produced the fasted time of 44.61sec to win the class.
In second place was Francois Mathy Junior riding Falco Van Der Clehoeve (45.73sec), while Jessica Mendoza and Ashkari were third (46.19sec).
“I am lucky that I have a horse that’s very quick and has a very big stride so that combination gives you a good chance of winning a class like this” said Billy.
In the afternoon performance HOYS saw a Whitaker one-two. It was Michael (Elie Van De Kolmen) who took the title in the Irish Horse Gateway International in a time of 35.04sec, just head of his older brother John (Echo of Light) on 35.72sec.
“The mare’s been off for nearly 12 moths so I’m really happy with the way she came back,” said Michael, adding “If John had won I’d have been nearly as happy.”