Puissance, or horse high-jump, highlights Friday night’s performance



Kenneth Kraus for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International 


MEDIA CONTACT:  Phelps Media Group, Inc. at (561) 753-3389 or at info@phelpsmediagroup.com


WEB SITE: Phelps Media Group, Inc. International Press Releases and Photos are available for download at https://www.phelpsmediagroup.com/


Photo Credit: Harry Smolders over the Puissance Wall on Friday night at the 2005 Washington International Horse Show. Photo by: Diana DeRosa. This photo may only be used in relation to this PMG press release.


Washington International Horse Show Puissance Highlights Friday Night Schedule  


Washington, D.C. – October 11, 2006 – The 2006 Washington International Horse Show, celebrating 48 years of excellence, once again brings six full nights of exciting equestrian action to the Verizon Center in the heart of our nation’s capital. Over 600 horses will be on hand, and riders from around the world will converge on Washington, D.C., competing for over $400,000 in prize money.


No performance creates more excitement during the six day event than Puissance night. This year’s class will be held during the Friday evening session on October 27, 2006.  Annually, the International Open Jumper Puissance competition fills the Verizon Center stands, and serves as one of the nation’s most notable and exciting equestrian traditions.


The evening session begins at 7:00 p.m. and includes the fast-paced Open Jumper Accumulator Class, the popular terrier races, the twisting and turning excitement of barrel racing, the beautiful WIHS Invitational Dressage Freestyle event, and all new for this year, Polo. The capper to the night’s festivities is the International Open Jumper Puissance.


The Puissance, or horse “high-jump,” starts with fences at a minimum of 4’6’’ in height. Fences are then raised before each round. Jumps are removed as the rounds continue, leaving a minimum of two fences on the course. Riders continue to compete over escalating heights. The winner is the horse and rider combination that clears the massive brick wall at the greatest height.


The all-time record for the Puissance class at the Washington International Horse Show is 7’ 7 ½” set by Anthony D’Ambrosio on Sweet N’ Low in 1983. 


In 2005, there were close to 10,000 enthusiastic fans on hand to watch Harrie Smolders of the Netherlands top the huge wall at 7’4” to win the $25,000 Puissance on Friday night. Smolders hit the big time twice on his first trip to the Washington International Horse Show last year, winning the $25,000 Accumulator class earlier on Friday afternoon.


Last year, Smolders, along with Secret Love and Aaron Vale, and Nick Skelton on Russel, all cleared the wall at 6’11 ½” with ease, setting up a fourth and final jump-off.


With the wall set at a staggering 7’4” (2.22m) and the crowd in a frenzy, Harrie Smolders and Verelst Quebec returned to the ring first. With ease the duo sailed over the giant wall, and the crowd erupted in an explosion of noise, the likes of which the Verizon Center had not seen in years. Following Smolders, Vale and Skelton both just rubbed the blocks off at the maximum height, sealing the win for the young Dutchman.


“It was amazing,” said Smolders jubilantly. “I went in the class with the idea of only going two rounds, but he kept going better and better. And then, what a great finish. He jumped the wall really well, He was confident and he gave me a good feeling. Then the crowd got into it and they were super,” he said. “It was great sport for everybody, especially the big crowd.”


“I didn’t know what to expect, so I expected nothing, and I got everything,” said a beaming Smolders.


Fans of show jumping and equestrian sports can expect a Friday night filled with action, suspense and excitement at this year’s Washington International Horse Show.


WashingtonInternational Horse Show Fast Facts


What: Now in its 48th year, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the world’s leading equestrian events.  It features top horses and riders from the U.S. and abroad competing for more than $400,000 in prize money and championship titles. Approximately 600 horses will be on hand for the six-day event. Riders from Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Brazil and Ireland are expected to participate at the show in the Olympic sport of show jumping.


When: October 24 – 29, 2006  


Where: Verizon Center at 601 F Street NW (7th and F Streets NW), Washington, D.C., home of the Washington International Horse Show since 2000, as well as professional and college sports teams including the NBA Wizards, the NHL Capitals, the WNBA Mystics and the Georgetown Hoyas, concerts, family shows and sporting events. ***Take Metrorail or Metrobus to Gallery Place-Chinatown for an easy trip to the show.



— $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix (Sat., Oct. 28-evening)

— $25,000 Puissance (Fri., Oct. 27-evening)

— Invitational Dressage Championship Grand Prix (Thurs., Oct. 26-evening) and Musical Freestyle (Fri., Oct. 27-evening)

— Washington International Equitation Classic Finals (Sat., Oct. 28-evening)

— $15,000 AHJF Nations Cup Hunter Challenge (Sat., Oct. 28-day)


Website: www.WIHS.org


General Information:

The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), one of the nation’s leading championship horse shows since 1958, hosts some of the finest horses and riders from the U.S. and abroad, including Olympic and World Cup medalists. Unique among horse shows, the WIHS takes place in the middle of a city, and not just any city–the nation’s capital!  For six days, the WIHS transforms local city streets around the Verizon Center into stabling and exercise areas for hundreds of horses. Show jumping, hunter, equitation and dressage competition is the mainstay of the show, with entertaining exhibitions of racing terriers, a celebrity sports challenge and barrel racing rounding out a very full program. Riders of all ages – from children as young as seven riding ponies to experienced riders well into their 50’s on powerful jumpers and dressage horses – compete throughout the year and throughout the country to qualify to ride at Washington. 


New this year is side saddle, with riders evoking the elegance and style of past eras, the AHJF Nations Cup Hunter Challenge, an innovative hunter competition pairing WIHS equitation (junior) riders with international show jumping riders, and a polo exhibition.

Barn/Group Night, Thurs, Oct. 26, is a favorite with local young riders who attend in groups and vie for prizes based on best group spirit, best essay, largest group, etc. All participants get a free tee-shirt and have the unique opportunity to walk the show jumping course with grand prix riders (and get autographs) following the $20,000 Gamblers Choice class. On Saturday afternoon, younger children will enjoy pony rides, face painting and horse-based learning activities at the Pony Pavilion located just outside the Verizon Center.  

More than 60 vendors offering equestrian gear, apparel, jewelry and other unique items are conveniently located on the concourse around the competition arena.  Spectators also may bid on more than 60 unique and one-of-a-kind items in the Silent Auction.

WIHS Local Weekend offers local amateur riders, who otherwise may not qualify, a chance to ride at the Washington International. Local children and adult amateur hunter riders based within 100 miles of Washington, D.C. may compete in a qualifying event Oct. 20-22 at Prince George‘s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Md., with the top finishers eligible to ride in the WIHS Local Hunter Finals at the Verizon Center on Sunday, October 29th.   

The WIHS is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization benefiting local and national charities. Current and past donation recipients include the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, NBC4’s Camp 4 Kids, ASPCA, Childrens’ Inn at the National Institutes of Health, Community Services for Autistic Adults & Children, National Center for Therapeutic Riding, Newspapers in Education, Starlight Starbright Foundation-Midatlantic, and many more. 

Horse Show Office: 16063 Comprint Circle, Gaithersburg, MD 20877, (301) 987-9400, Fax: (301) 987-9461, website: www.wihs.org, Executive Director: Susie Webb, Susie@wihs.org


Management: Austin Kiplinger, Honorary Chairman of the Board; Jorge J. Carnicero, Chairman; Dr. Sheila C. Johnson, President; Susie Webb, Executive Director; Hugh Kincannon, Show Manager

Public Relations: Diana De Rosa, Press Link: (631) 773-6155, Cell: (516) 848-4867, dderosa1@optonline.net, website: www.presslinkpr.com


Media: Phelps Media Group/Mason Phelps, Jr. (561) 753-3389, mpjr@phelpsmediagroup.com.  Press releases and photos are available at https://www.phelpsmediagroup.com.  For accreditation, visit https://www.wihs.org/news/media.cfm and complete a media accreditation form.


2006 Washington International Horse Show

Tickets and Schedule ***Program subject to change***

Tickets go on sale September 5, 2006


Hours: Two performances daily except Sunday: Day (Tues-Sun): 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Evening: (Tues-Sat): 7:00-10:30 p.m (ending times approx.) 

Tickets – www.ticketmaster.com or call 202-397-SEAT


Performance                 Day                  Evening            Evening VIP**

Tuesday                       $15                  $20                  $40

Wednesday                  $15                  $20                  $40

Thursday                      $15                  $30*                $45*

Friday                          $15                  $35                  $60

Saturday                       $20                  $35                  $60

Sunday             $15                                    


Anytime Package: $85 (a $235 value); good for all 11 performances.

Pony Pavilion: Tickets for the Pony Pavilion available only at the Pony Pavilion on Sat., Oct. 28, 1:00-4:00 p.m. Entry by donation. Donations of $5 or $10 are readily accepted at the Pony Pavilion with net proceeds going to the Meadowbrook Foundation.


*Barn Night/Groups (10 or more) receive $5 off each ticket on Thursday night only.

**VIP seats include premium arena-level seating and a complimentary WIHS program book ($10 value).


Students, Seniors, and Military save $5 off tickets for Sat., Oct. 28 daytime performance, with proper ID. (Excludes VIP tickets.)

Metro Special: Save $5 off tickets for any performance with presentation of bus or rail Metro card.  (Excludes VIP tickets.)

***Discount offers cannot be combined.      


Tentative Schedule:

Tuesday, Oct. 24: Daytime performance: Regular and Green Conformation Hunters; First/Second Year Green Hunters; Regular Working Hunters; Amateur/Owner Hunters (Riders 35 & Under and Over 35); Evening performance: WIHS Children’s Hunter and Adult Hunter Championships


Wednesday, Oct. 25: Daytime performance: Regular Working and Regular Conformation Hunters; Second Year Green and Green Conformation Hunters; A/O Hunter (35 & Under and Over 35); Amateur/Owner Jumpers; Evening performance: WIHS Children’s Jumper Championships and Adult Jumper Championships


Thursday, Oct. 26 (BARN/GROUP NIGHT): Daytime performance: Small Junior Hunters (15 & Under); Large Junior Hunters (15 & Under); Small Junior Hunters (16-17), Large Junior Hunters (16-17); Side Saddle; $25,000 President’s Cup Qualifier; Amateur/Owner Jumpers, Junior Jumpers; Evening performance: WIHS Invitational Dressage Championship Grand Prix; $20,000 Gambler’s Choice, Side Saddle, Barrel Racing, Terrier Races


Friday, Oct. 27: Daytime performance: Small Junior Hunters (15 & Under); Large Junior Hunters (15 & Under); Small Junior Hunters (16-17), Large Junior Hunters (16-17); WIHS Equitation; Amateur/Owner Jumpers; Junior. Jumpers TFR (time first round); $25,000 Open Jumpers; Evening performance: Polo, WIHS Invitational Dressage Championship Freestyle; $20,000 Accumulator Class, $25,000 Puissance, Barrel Racing, Terrier Races


Saturday, Oct. 28: Daytime performance: Small, Medium and Large Pony Hunters;  $20,000 Hit & Hurry Class;Media Sports Celebrity Challenge; $15,000 AHJF Nations Cup Hunter Challenge;  Junior Jumpers; Pony Pavilion; Evening performance: WIHS Equitation Classic (Jumper Phase & Final work-off); $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, Terrier Races


Sunday, Oct. 29: Small, Medium and Large Pony Hunters; WIHS Pony Equitation Classic; Local Hunter Finals (Horses); Local Hunter Finals (Ponies)


Photo Credit: Harry Smolders over the Puissance Wall on Friday night at the 2005 Washington International Horse Show. Photo by: Diana DeRosa. This photo may only be used in relation to this PMG press release.









Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To The WIHS Newsletter

For news, show updates, photos, videos and more!


WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition, and holds the highest rating,  CSI5*-W, awarded by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, as well as a US Equestrian 6* Jumpers and  Premier Hunters. It is recognized by the US Hunter Jumper Association, Maryland Horse Show Association, and Virginia Horse Show Association. WIHS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization.