The 54th annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) continued on Friday, October 26, with a full day of hunter, jumper and equitation competition at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The $25,000 Open Jumper Puissance was the highlight class of the evening with a win for 19-year-old Belgian rider Olivier Philippaerts and Chicago VH Moleneind.
Six entries began the class, all clearing the wall at 5’9” (1.75m) and continuing on to attempt 6’3” (1.90m) in height. Benjamin Meredith (AUS) brought the blocks down in round two riding Kaskade, owned by Haley Schaufeld, to finish in sixth place. The remaining five riders all continued on to a third round where the wall was built up to 6’9” (2.01m). In round three, Charlie Jayne (USA) and Pony Lane Farm’s Balougris SL Z, Laura Kraut (USA) and Beverly Widdowson’s Belmont, and Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Stone Hill Farm’s Temmie were all unable to clear the height and finished in a tie for third place. Philippaerts and Chicago, and Aaron Vale (USA) aboard Wodka L, owned by Thinks like a Horse, continued on to the fourth round to jump the wall at seven feet (2.13m). Chicago was the only horse to clear the imposing obstacle.
Chicago VH Moleneind is a ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Kashmir Van Schutterhof x Darco. After his win, Philippaerts explained that this was the first time that either horse or rider has jumped in a Puissance class, and 2.13m was their biggest height. “This is the first time we’ve jumped the wall. I’ve never done it and the horse has never done it,” Philippaerts noted. “I had a feeling he could be a good horse for that. He has a lot of scope to jump it, so I thought I would give it a try and it worked out very well. All classes have their own difficulty. With the puissance you need a little bit of luck, but you also have to have the horse for it and I think this horse actually really likes it. “It looks like he loves to jump the wall because he is not afraid of it,” Philippaerts detailed. “He really wants to go to the wall, so I think that’s a great thing for a puissance horse.”
Philippaerts is from Belgium, but he and his twin brother Nicola came to North America to compete in more FEI World Cup Qualifiers and have been taking part in the indoor horse show circuit. They showed in Harrisburg, PA, last week and have plans to continue on to Kentucky and Toronto.
“We decided it would be nice to jump the World Cups over here because in Europe it is very hard to get in,” Philippaerts explained. “We also wanted the whole experience to make new culture and meet new people.”
After winning the CN International $1 Million Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows in September, Philippaerts has a whole new following of fans and enjoyed playing up to the crowd during tonight’s class. “The win in Calgary was something special and for sure after that more people know me, so I hope that we can keep up like that,” he smiled.
For full results go here.
Source: WIHS press release by Jennifer Wood Media Inc.
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