A sell-out crowd witnessed a thrilling finish to Saturday night’s puissance at the Horse of the Year Show (10 October). Norway’s young talent Victoria Gulliksen and Belgian rider Karel Cox opted to share the honours after they were the only two to clear the towering 2m15 wall in the fourth round.
Victoria, 23, who won the Bolesworth puissance riding Grafit earlier this summer, provided some thrills and spills. She took a tumble after the finish line when Grand Balou 4 took a stride out in front of the wall, but the bricks remained in place and they finished with a clean sheet.
“It was an amazing kick to jump that big wall. He jumped a lot to the left and I hit the wing – the wing then hit me out of the saddle. I knocked my head but I am fine,” said Victoria afterwards.
Belgian showjumper Karel has only been riding the stallion For Passion D Ive Z for two months.
“There was a good atmosphere in there. My horse is only eight but he is very scopey, I just had to make sure he was on his back legs coming into the wall. He’s a very brave horse, whereas Victoria’s is very careful,” said Karol. “I did a puissance with him in the first week I got him, but I don’t practice them at home so it was only the second wall he’d jumped.”
Out of the 11 riders who lined up, three Brits made it into the final fourth round. Young rider Kimberly White impressed with her 10-year-old gelding Catapult, while Tim Stockdale, who was first to go with Erasmus VD Heffinck, also knocked the bricks to finish on four faults. Sussex-based David Murdoch and the enormous chestnut gelding Senor D picked up four faults as well to finish alongside his fellow Brits.