Tim Gredley proved to be Kentucky’s bravest rider last night when he attempted the 7’6” wall aboard his talented mount Unex Valente. The gelding made his Puissance debut in Lexington last night and proved to bi victorious.
The pair won the $50,000 Puissance at Alltech National Horse Show, after being the only horse and rider combination to clear the 7 foot wall. Although they were unsuccessful during their final attempt at 7’6, the crowd were on their feet to cheer on the brave Brit.
Eight entries gathered for last night’s class to jump the wall built by Richard Jeffery of Bournemouth, England, the first time this show had hosted the event in 11 years. For the first round the jump was set at 5’9”, but as the height rose the number of riders left continued to dwindle. First it went up to 6’3”, then 6’6” and finally a brave final three, for 7’.
Having successfully completed all three of the first heights, Gredley was the first to gallop towards the in-gate with Unex Valente, owned by his very own Unex Stables, which is named after the family business. The pair cleared the wall with all the pieces intact.
Jessica Springsteen was next with Temmie, owned by Stone Hill Farm. They had been perfect up until the wall reached 7 feet. The experienced Aaron Vale followed Springsteen aboard Wodka L, owned by Thinks Like A Horse. Unfortunately, not a great distance in meant they too could not clear the new height.
By being the only rider to clear the wall at 7’, Gredley already had the victory in hand, but Gredley did not want to stop there. They reset the wall to a daunting height of 7’6”. Gredley made a good approach and Unex Valente cleared it with his front legs, but didn’t have quiet enough jump to finish the effort and brought down a block. They were still the winners however and the crowd were on their feet.
“I have had the horse since he was four, so I know him inside and out,” explained Gredley. “I didn’t do it in Washington, and was annoyed that I didn’t do it. This was his first Puissance. He’s a bit of an all-purpose horse, he’s been doing speed classes, and I did the six bar on him. When you know a horse that long, you know what he is capable of.”
This was only Springsteen’s second attempt at Puissance, but she was thrilled with her horse’s performance. “It was fun, but I definitely get a little nervous,” she laughed. “You are supposed to go slow and collected, but I want to gallop up to it, and I think that’s where I get it down. Temmie is so brave. I am definitely learning how to ride it better. It is not my favorite class but I will probably keep doing it.”
Vale has shown in a number of Puissance classes over the years, and developed his own style, which often results in landing with one hand in the air. “My style where I drop the rein is not planned, just naturally happens. It is a long ways down and the last thing you want to do is be ahead of them. When they get to the top of the wall, have to have balance on the way down.”
$50,000 Alltech National PUISSANCE- Lexington, Kentucky
1 st UNEX VALENTE -TIM GREDLEY
2nd TEMMIE – JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN
2nd WODKA L. – AARON VALE
4th BALOUGRIS SL Z – CHARLIE JAYNE
5th CLYDE – DANIEL BLUMAN
6th CHICAGO VH MOLENEIND – OLIVIER PHILIPPAERTS
6th CANTUS D – HILLARY SIMPSON