Friday was Military Night at the Washington International Horse Show.  The evening began with the Speed Final jumping competition, and a field of 25 competitors.  As you can see, the course was complex and challenging. Only a handful of riders took the option for tight rollbacks to save time.  It didn’t pay off, as the next jump was rushed, resulting in a rail down.  And in a speed round, that can throw you out of the ribbons pretty quickly.

The 1.50m Speed Final course

The 1.50m Speed Final course

Todd Minikus on Quality Girl in the speed round

Todd Minikus on Quality Girl in the speed round

There were only two clear rounds in the competition, and one of them was the eventual champion, McLain Ward, on Wings.

Speed Final Champion McLain Ward and Wings

Speed Final Champion McLain Ward and Wings

Once we caught our breath, we were treated to demonstrations by the US Army Caisson Platoon, and the US Marine Corps Silent Drill Team.

US Army Caisson Platoon demonstration

US Army Caisson Platoon demonstration

Maneuvering a caisson is a difficult task

Maneuvering a caisson is a difficult task

US Marine Corps  Silent Drill Team

US Marine Corps Silent Drill Team

US Marine Corps  Silent Drill Team

US Marine Corps Silent Drill Team

Then the crew took the arena to build a most intimidating Puissance jump course.

Building the Puissance jump

Building the Puissance jump

John Franzreb III, Ringmaster from Staten Island NY

John Franzreb III,
Ringmaster from Staten Island NY

The Puissance started at 1.50m.  But it didn’t stay there for long.  McLain Ward’s new horse Kronner Z was eliminated after the first round for a refusal.  Then Darragh Kenny and Aragon Rouet were eliminated in the 4th round at a height of 2.0m.  During the fifth round, at a height of 2.1m, it looked as if no one would clear the height.  But Tim Gredley and Unex Valente, the last horse and rider of the evening, took the blue ribbon by clearing the daunting 6’11” height.

Aaron Vale and Smartie can't quite get over the 6 feet 11 puissance wall

Aaron Vale and Smartie can’t quite get over it

Tim Gredley on Unex Valvente clearing the 6 feet 11 Puissance jump with ease

Tim Gredley on Unex Valente clearing the 6 feet 11 Puissance jump with ease

Watch the video!!

Tim Gredley and Unex Valvente celebrating their Puissance win

Tim Gredley and Unex Valente
celebrating their Puissance win

If you’re able to come down, the Washington International Horse Show a marvelous show. If you aren’t, go to www.wihs.org and watch the streaming coverage of all the show events. Horse Junkies will be doing live chat again tonight for the President’s Cup Grand Prix.

Sue van der Linden
Read all my blog posts here

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