LEXINGTON, Ky. — Translated from French, the word "puissance" means power — which is exactly what horse and rider pairs will need to reach record-breaking heights during Friday’s Alltech National Horse Show Puissance.
Known as the equestrian high jump competition, the Puissance will top off evening events Nov. 2 at the Alltech National Horse Show inside the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Horse and rider pairs will begin by attempting a course of six high jumps. As the rounds of competition progress, the jumps will be raised higher and the course will be gradually reduced to one imposing jump, the Puissance Wall.
Olympic-level equestrians competing Friday will have the option to clear heights as tall as 8 feet, with the possibility of breaking the 8-foot quarter-inch world record.
"When a horse runs down to the Puissance Wall at 6 feet in height, you can hear a pin drop in the arena," said Mason Phelps, president of the Alltech National Horse Show. "It's a very thrilling class because the horses and riders will compete until there's one winner left. And, if the conditions are right and they want to try for the world record, we will raise the jump."
Olympians Laura Kraut and McLain Ward are among eight top-level riders confirmed to compete in Friday's Puissance. The competition is one of only two Puissance classes hosted in the United States this year. The top six riders will receive a portion of $50,000 in prize money.
From Olympic show jumpers to elegant American Saddlebreds, an array of equestrians are competing at the 2012 Alltech National Horse Show this week to Nov. 4. For more information, visit alltechnationalhorseshow.com.