Would You Have the Guts to Jump This Puissance Wall?

Posted by Paige Cerulli

If you've ever faced a puissance wall before, then you'll already know that this type of competition requires serious nerve.

Show jumping is a fast-paced competition over high fences. But when you're entering a puissance class, the fences get fewer in number but become even higher and more intimidating.

Puissance is designed to be the ultimate test of a horse's ability to jump high - and the rider's ability to stay with the horse and not restrict his jumping capability. It's exciting to watch, and is even more exciting to ride in.

What makes the jump in this video even more intimidating is the fact that it's a brick wall. First, horse and rider must navigate a few other jumps successfully. Then, when the horse is starting to tire, they turn to the wall, the highest jump in the ring.

Walls can be deceiving - they are painted to look like real brick, and can intimidate both horse and rider. The video below is of the puissance at the 2009 Washington International Horse Show. Won by McClain Ward and Vancouver, the class is full of top-notch riders and horses.

Think that your fear might keep you out of a class like this? Not necessarily. There are a number of ways that you can control and even overcome a fear of jumping, or of jumping high fences.

First of all, make sure that you're taking lessons from a talented trainer, and that you're riding a skilled and honest horse that you can trust. Spend plenty of time working on lower fences until you can confidently jump them without worrying. Then, and only then, should you begin to move up in fence height.

Give yourself time to become comfortable jumping higher fences before you raise them again. It may take a month, six months, or even a year. But if you've established a strong foundation in your flat work and your jumping technique, you can learn to comfortably jump higher fences.

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Would You Have the Guts to Jump This Puissance Wall?