Did you know that “puissance” is French for “power,” and the power referred to is a horse’s ability to jump very wide and very high?
The Puissance starts with a first round of four to six jumps, the last being a “brick” wall set at a 5’6” (1.70m) minimum. The wall is actually made of wood blocks, and the top blocks are rounded and covered with carpet so horses can brush over them. Jump-offs are focused on just a spread jump (usually a triple bar) and the wall, which is raised in each successive jump-off. Jump-offs are limited to a maximum of four.
The Puissance was once a regular feature on the fall indoor circuit—the Pennsylvania National, the Washington International, the National, and the Royal Winter Fair—and played an important role in deciding both national and international Open Jumper championships.
Photo by Budd. In 1973, Show Jumping Hall of Famer Sympatico and Anthony D’Ambrosio set a record jumping 7’4” at the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden.