Christmas show-jumping

It’s Christmas time and there’s no need to be afraid, unless, that is, you are sitting on a horse attempting to jump a seven foot fence.

I’d never heard of ‘Puissance’ until a visit this month to the London International Horse Show. Actually, I’d never heard of the Horse Show either, but, for much of middle-England, it appears to be as integral to Christmas as Midnight Mass and the Daily Telegraph review of the year.

Puissance is the equestrian equivalent of the high-jump. This year the event was won jointly by a couple of Whitaker’s, which will not surprise anyone with a passing knowledge of show-jumping. Cousins William and Ellen both managed seven foot two on their mounts, a feat which illustrates they both have balls.Show-jumping at Olympia

I was at Olympia for the Waverley TBS Christmas Stakes. Eighteen of the thirty-seven horses made it through to the jump-off with no penalties, which made me think that the course was a little easy. But the highest thing I’ve ever jumped on a horse is a blade of grass, and that left me struggling to walk for several days.

A French rider called Penelope won the event with the last ride of the night, and the crowd of mainly teenage girls went as wild as if Take That had ridden in, Robbie amongst them. Many of the people I was with had drifted back to the bar as the jump-off headed towards its’ denouement – but this was sport, and I was gripped.

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