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NZ Record Breaking Attempt Set to Challenge the Courageous

Ride The Rhythm Media Release

NZ Record Breaking Attempt Set to Challenge the Courageous

The New Zealand show jumping height record is about to be challenged and with $70,000 at stake, it’s proving to be a lucrative carrot for top NZ and Australian show jumpers. The record breaking attempt, at Ride the Rhythm on Friday February 1 at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, will feature a 2.21cm formidable solid mock wall and any horse and rider combination who can clear it will break the New Zealand record by 8cms and take away the prize money.

The GJ Gardner Homes $70,000 ‘Wall Challenge’ has attracted a star-studded line up of Australasia’s top jumpers and also includes includes NZ Olympians Maurice Beatson and Katie McVean, who will put aside their fears as they jump into the unknown.

In equestrian sport this event is known as a puissance and recognised worldwide as the most famous show jumping competition. Ride the Rhythm organiser and Horse of the Year Show Director, Kevin Hansen says the puissance is often the forgotten hero of the New Zealand equestrian scene.

“Puissance competitions were commonplace during the 1970s and 80s, but now they are rarely seen in New Zealand. Translated from French, “puissance” means power, and that’s exactly what’s going to be needed if the record is to tumble.

“No matter where you go in the world, the puissance has massive crowd appeal. It’s an exhilarating display of power and performance in jumping, and a true test of courage and bravery. When the height starts getting up over 2m you’ll be able to hear a pin drop. The atmosphere in the stadium will be electric.”

Horse and rider combinations will begin by attempting a course of four to six fences ranging in height upwards from 1.4metres which will include the GJ Gardener wall. As the rounds of the competition progress, the jumps will be raised higher until just two obstacles, including the wall, remain. Only the horse or horses that clear the final round will be eligible to try for the $70,000 and ultimately write their way into the history books.

The NZ record is currently held by Allan Goodall, and was set back in 1984 at the Highland Games in Hastings when he cleared 2.13m riding Skud, in doing so breaking Stuart Mitchell’s 14-year record of 2.12 metres set at the Tomoana Show Grounds aboard Jatent in 1970.

Although 2.21m (7ft 31/2 in) is seemingly unobtainable it is well short of the current world indoor puissance record, which is held by German rider Frankie Sloothaak, who jumped 2.4m (7 ft 10 in) aboard Optiebeurs Golo in Belgium in 1991, breaking his previous record set on Leonardo.

The 2.21cm wall will is on display in Dunedin in the Octagon from now until Ride the Rhythm.


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