‘When you come round the corner, it looks ridiculous!’ But top eventer can’t wait to do another puissance

  • Gemma Stevens had been “dreaming of nothing but puissance walls” for the last fortnight – but now she’s cleared one, “I can’t wait to have another go”.

    The world team gold medal-winning eventer jumped in the LeMieux puissance at the London International Horse Show last night (15 December), on Envoy Merelsnest Z, who she jumped in the Hickstead Derby this year.

    Gemma told H&H a fortnight ago that she was “terrified” at the thought of tackling her first puissance, but she and 10-year-old stallion “Dime Bar” sailed over the wall at 1.80m in the first round, then just clipped out a brick in round two.

    “It was certainly an experience!” Gemma told H&H. “I’ve been dreaming about puissance walls for the last two weeks. Then going into that arena – it was packed and the atmosphere is unbelievable. And I was so relieved; all I really wanted was to get through that first round.”

    Gemma said she had no expectations; the horse is still green, especially in such an atmosphere, and it was her first attempt.

    “Just to have done it,” she said. “And now I can’t wait to have another go!

    “I’m really honoured to be here, and to ride this fantastic horse; I’m so lucky to have secured the ride on him, with the new Dime Bar Syndicate; the owners all came to watch and were so happy to be here.”

    Gemma said it is hard to prepare for a puissance as “jumping big jumps in cold blood isn’t easy”, but Shirley Light of Brendon Stud, who owned the horse, and still has a share in him, built a wall at Brendon Stud, then Gemma and Dime Bar jumped Paul Gaff’s wall.

    “It’s hard to practise,” she said. “I do a lot of visualisation but it’s really hard to visualise it; when you come round the corner, it just looks ridiculous! It’s another thing to have done, and why not?”

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