Tim Gredley and Unex Valente Jump Great Heights in $10,000 Puissance

RELEASE: March 16, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Tim Gredley and Unex Valente jump 7'6" (Sportfot)
Tim Gredley and Unex Valente jump 7'6" (Sportfot)
Wellington, FL
- The $10,000 Puissance high jump competition was held on Friday evening at The Stadium at PBIEC prior to the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle presented by Horseware Ireland for the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Great Britain's Tim Gredley and Unex Valente and Germany's Johannes Ehning and Salvador V went head to head over the wall in four rounds of competition with Gredley winning at a final height of 6'11" (2.10m).

The competition was held as a fun exhibition with slightly modified rules. The two competitors were allotted up to five rounds (first round and four jump-offs) with two attempts at the wall in each round if necessary. The wall began at 5'4" (1.65m) in round one with both horses and riders jumping clear in one attempt. It then went up to 5'11" (1.85m) with two more clear rounds. In round three, Gredley and Valente cleared the 6'5" (1.95m) wall on the first try and Ehning and Salvador took two attempts to jump the obstacle. Once the wall went up to 6'11" (2.10m) in round four, Gredley jumped clear, and Ehning opted to withdraw. Gredley earned the winning $7,000 for his effort and then, in an exciting twist, decided to jump higher.

Equestrian Sport Productions' CEO Mark Bellissimo offered up $10,000 more if Gredley could clear the wall at 7'6" (2.31m) or $5,000 just for attempting it. Gredley and Valente made two valiant efforts but rubbed the blocks off the top in both tries. They still came out of the day with $12,000 and a great experience.

Unex Valente, owned by Unex Competition Yard, is an eleven-year-old KWPN gelding by Gentleman x Sit This One Out that Gredley has had since the horse was four. The pair has a lot of grand prix experience together, but has only shown in one other Puissance, winning over 7' and also attempting 7'6" in Kentucky this past fall.

"I did the indoors in Washington and Harrisburg and Kentucky and I just thought I would try it once in Kentucky and straight away, the first round, he felt like he was going to be a good one," Gredley stated. "This is only the second one that he has done, but both times he has just been unlucky at 7'6". I know the horse; I have had him a long time and it makes a big difference when you can trust them a little bit."

"He is really easy actually," Gredley added. "Other horses that I have done in Puissance classes before, they normally start backing off, but he just keeps the same stride all the way down and he actually starts to take you, which makes it a lot easier. In hindsight, maybe I was a little bit off the first time. I was a little bit unlucky the second time, but he is just a really nice horse."

Johannes Ehining's mount Salvador V is a fourteen-year-old KWPN stallion by Calvados x Voltaire, owned by Nybor Pferde GmbH & Co. KG. The pair has had great grand prix success and this was their first time attempting the Puissance wall.

"For my horse, I rode him also once in a derby qualification in Hamburg and he is super brave, so I thought that maybe he could do it," Ehning stated. "This was the first time, but I wanted to try it once with him. He is fourteen years old now; he has enough experience for that, so there was reason to try it once."

"This is my best horse," Ehning said. "In the last few years he has had a lot of good results in the grand prix. He has won four and five-star grand prix. I rode a few six-bars with him and he won a lot of those, so it was a good thing to try it here. That is also the reason that I didn't go more rounds though, because he is my best horse and I didn't want to over ride him. Tim's horse looked really comfortable with the wall and mine was really getting a little bit hot. I didn't want to do too much with him."

Both riders enjoyed coming to the dressage facility at The Stadium at PBIEC for a change of scenery for their horses and a new experience.

"It was really well organized, it was no problem at all," Ehning noted. "We talked about getting to ride in the really nice indoor and this ring is also nice, so it is something different."