The future of puissance, a 30-year-old pony champion and other things the horse world is talking about

Horse & Hound’s daily debrief, brought to you every weekday

  • What next for puissance?

    Discussions around puissance classes have arisen after a top US show announced it would no longer run them. The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) last held a puissance in 2022, and a spokesman confirmed to H&H that the annual event will not hold the class again. But riders and organisers this side of the pond believe the puissance is still as strong as ever. “The crowd here absolutely loves it, as they do in Dublin, and the riders enjoy it,” said two-time Horse of the Year Show puissance winner Commandant Geoff Curran.

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    Celebrating a special champion

    The 30-year-old show pony mare Mountain Gale topped a 66-strong veteran in-hand final at the recent Show Teams And Rising Stars Champion of Champions show at Aintree Equestrian Centre (23 — 26 November). Mountain Gale, a pure-bred Welsh section B who is known at home as Gale, was handled to perfection by four-year-old Grace Speak, who had ridden the ever-green pony to also finish fourth in the show pony lead-rein final and second in the ridden veteran championship earlier in the week.

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    A good life for horses

    A blueprint for the way forward to ensure the future of equestrian sport was set out at the FEI general assembly, following 18 months of work and research by leading figures. Professor Natalie Waran presented the FEI-appointed Equine Ethics and Wellbeing Commission’s final report at the general assembly in Mexico on 21 November, which covered public perception of horse sport and ensuring equines have a good life. The report, A good life for horses: a vision for ensuring the future involvement of horses in sport, comprises 30 recommendations, asks the FEI to define what a good life for competition horses looks like and calls on everyone in the horse world to take accountability.

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