What a night it was in Central Park! Five brave horses and riders stormed the puissance castle last night in Manhattan, and three emerged unscathed by the ever-rising wall. We suspect at least one or two of the beasts could have gone a brick higher, but a three-way tie was called after four rounds between Kama Godek (USA) and La Grande, Todd Minikus (USA) and VDL Excel, and Emanuel Andrade (VEN) and Clouwni.
All five entrants lasted until the final round of the event sponsored by Spy Coast Farms, when Andrew Kocher (USA) and Paul O’Shea (IRL) both had the top block down to finish tied for fourth, giving the New York City audience quite a performance throughout the event.
Emanuel Andrade survived the wall, despite having never been in a puissance competition before in his life. Venezuelan was the indisputable crowd favorite with his foxhunt style antics of a tap with the crop and a “hail of the cab” over the puissance wall. Unorthodox though it may be, the flair worked!
6'9" with one hand! Emanuel Andrade in the final round of the $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Puissance! #WOW #CPHorseShow
Posted by Central Park Horse Show on Thursday, September 21, 2017
“This was my first Puissance and it was very exciting. It was impressive the first time I jumped that wall, but after that I started getting confident and it got much better. It was huge! I’m very happy about it,” he said. “I’m very happy about the group of horses that went this year. They were all so good.”
“I started to train last year and I had an equitation horse,” said Kama with a laugh. “I got an email asking if anyone wanted to do the Puissance at Central Park and I mean say no more! I had another client riding this horse in the 3’6″ Equitation and I knew he jumped big. I practiced a couple of times last year and we came back to win this year!”
Todd Minikus was not only throwing perfect flair over the wall, but also throwing some shade at his competition, ribbing “the kids half his age” and “showing them how it’s done.” The crowd loved the good-natured rivalry in the group, and even moreso when the Pan Am Games gold medalist kept his word and put in a flawless flight over the wall at 6’9″ on VDL Excel.
“I’d like to thank Spy Coast Farm for sponsoring this. We all really appreciate it and the crowd seems to really appreciate it,” said Minikus. “I rode a young horse tonight. We just started doing some smaller grand prix and this is great for giving the horses experience under the lights.”
Spy Coast Farm’s Lisa Lourie was thrilled with their first title sponsorship of the event, and admits was a real full circle moment for her, having fallen in love with the class after seeing it in Dublin.
“I was so happy that we got this group of riders this year and we were so thrilled that they all came out. That’s what the Puissance is all about. If you don’t have good riders and good horses, then the class falls flat. We had the right group tonight, and that’s what it comes down too,” she said. “I called Mark after watching the Puissance at the Dublin Horse Show and told him that I was in for Central Park because it’s such a fantastic class.”
EMANUEL ANDRADE (VEN), Emanuel Andrade
DE GRANDE: 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Verdi x Concorde
KAMA GODEK (USA), Kama Godek