The word puissance is an Anglo-French word for ‘power’ and rightfully so: it takes a special type of rider and an equally exceptional and powerful horse to conquer and clear a massive 2.20m Puissance wall.
The Puissance class is a notable event in show jumping, designed to push both horse and rider to their ultimate limits. One of the most famous and respected Puissance competitions is the legendary one at the annual Dublin Horse Show. The crown jewel of the Irish competition schedule first began in 1864, and shortly after, the show’s history reveals an early type of Puissance class launched in 1869—although at that time, the wall height could not exceed 6 feet.
The Puissance that we’ve come to know today appears to have begun in1956, with Brazil’s Pedro Corvello riding Travessura as the first recorded winner. Since then, Dublin Horse Show’s Puissance has regularly seen multiple winners take to the podium, with even a four-way tie between a quartet of Irish riders—Shane Carey, Cameron Hanley, Dermott Lennon, and Alex Duffy—in 2009.
This year’s competition was no exception to the battle and excitement that accompany the annual event, treating a capacity crowd to a thrilling duel that ultimately saw both Irish show jumpers Jack O’Donohue and Shane Breen, to claim victory in the RDS Main Arena.
Click through the gallery above to see the winning (and not so winning) moments from this year’s class.