Lainey Ashker Trumps All at Great Meadow Bareback Puissance

Lainey Ashker & Jolly Good Sport. Photo by Alec Thayer.

Lainey Ashker & Jolly Good Sport over 5’1. Photo by Alec Thayer.

While there was much excitement over the WEG prep trials this weekend at Great Meadow, Saturday night was host to a whole ‘nother type of crazy fun: the bareback puissance! With a $1,000 grand prize, there was a great turnout of ten horses and riders, all hoping for a shot at bareback glory.

A few of these pairs had been practicing at home, with serious intent to bring home the gold, while still others had never even ridden over show jumps prior to the competition! Thank goodness for Alec Thayer of AB3 Photography, because my camera was barely able to take anything decent in the low lighting of the night-time stadium.

The vertical jump started at 3’3″, and went up three inches per round, quickly increasing to over Advanced height. The riders were given a warmup fence, but some opted just to go right for the puissance fence and take their chances there.

Before anybody asks why some of the riders are shirtless in the photos below, here is the general rule for bareback puissance: if you have a rail or a refusal, you have the option to take your shirt off for a second chance, because otherwise you are eliminated! Most riders happily stripped, to the great cheers of the crowd, and some of the girls clearly planned for that with some colorful sports bras.

The jump went up and up and up, with an impressive number of riders surviving past four feet and beyond. All I can do is assume that all of them were wearing very sticky full seat breeches, as well as riding horses with little to no withers. My horse would have dumped me after the first jump!

Eventually, Lainey Ashker, riding Sheila Wolff’s Preliminary horse Jolly Good Sport, was victorious as she cleared an incredible 5’1″. Thanks to Alec for lending us his photos, to Kristin Carpenter for organizing and announcing, and to Great Meadow for hosting such a fun night!

If you’re bummed that you missed the opportunity to participate in or spectate at this ridiculous strip bareback puissance event, don’t worry! There is a $2,000 bareback puissance as well as a $500 2’9″ class at Morningside in just a few weeks on Aug. 23.

There will be music, dancing, BYOB and absurd strip bareback jumping, so stick that on your calendar. Will Lainey Ashker defend her title? Will runner up Amy Savell and Mower take the cash? Or will an underdog surprise us all?!

 

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