PUISSANCE literally means power in French and Stef Tiplady and her 18hh thoroughbred cross Shire gelding Henry highlighted this definition en route to their victory in the high octane Spurs Puissance at Barguse Riding Centre.
Spurred on by the packed grandstand and belying his years, this charismatic 20 year-old gelding rose to the big occasion giving Stef the ride of her life and clearing the 1.30m wall in the fourth round to clinch the £300 winner's purse.
"I felt Henry power over the wall," said Stef who lives at Chapel Amble and works full-time for Cornwall Council at their Bodmin-based offices.
"Each round seemed to rejuvenate Henry. He put in a real pop over both the wall and triple bar in the third round and I felt the crowd really getting behind us.
"As we entered the ring for the fourth round I heard Raymond James leading the crowd in their support for Henry and then somebody shouted out "It's for £300 you've got to do it!
"For once I felt relaxed. We jumped the triple bar standing at 1.30m with a 1.40m spread and the crowd roared their encouragement.
"I brought Henry to a halt at the end of the arena before making our approach to the wall. We went straight into canter and keeping my leg on we hit the perfect stride giving Henry every chance.
"I heard the grandstand erupting and it took a few minutes to realise we'd won the class and the £300."
Stef and her husband Graham, bought Henry 14 years-ago from Sally Jobson-Scott and the gelding has become a beloved part of the Tiplady family.
Stef said: "My daughters Lucy and Lowenna gave up their day on ponies to come and groom for me with enormous help from Brooke Whetter.
"Graham has been a tremendous support to me over the years and he arrived in time to watch the class. It was a real family occasion and a day I will never forget.
"Graham told the girls to save their cheers until we'd jumped the wall and then they all let rip. For me it was like winning a class at the Horse of the Year Show."
Stef's delight was clear to see as she wrapped her arms around Henry on realising they'd won.
She said: "Everyone was so happy for us. Ray James gave me a kiss and a cuddle and it meant so much to me. I'd like to take this opportunity to say a special thank you to Mr Douie and his team at Derriford who helped me return to the saddle two years ago after battling and beating Crohns.
"I'd also like to thank Lisa and Alistair of Barguse for sponsoring such a wonderful array of prizes and trophies and the Spurs team for running these popular local shows. It's been a wonderful season at Spurs and as a family we'd like to thank all the sponsors and helpers who have made it possible."
Course-builder and co-organiser, Mike Johns said: "It was a fantastic fixture to bring our season to a fitting conclusion."
For the fifth consecutive year, Lisa and Alistair Todd of Barguse Riding Centre sponsored the generous prize fund and were thrilled to present Stef and Henry with the £300 winner's purse, puissance sash, silverware, bottle of bubbly and a bumper bag of carrots.
The couple also awarded presentation medals to all riders reaching the third round of the competition.
Lisa said: "Stef did brilliantly and we're really chuffed for her."
Mike Johns, Morley Penter and Adrian Brokenshire of Spurs were unanimous. "Once again this marvellous class has brought our season to a brilliant conclusion," they agreed.
"We'd like to thank Lisa and Alistair of Barguse and all our sponsors for their continued support. Spurs have raised thousands of pounds for local charities over the years and this year we've presented a cheque of £1,000 to Mikey Wells from Par."
For further details contact Mike Johns: 07879618421/01208 831008; Morley Penter 07859832842 or Adrian Brokenshire 07768981358.
A report on the Spurs cheque presentation and end of season point winners will feature in a forthcoming column.
Show results. 2ft open: 1 Chloe Hawken (Ronan); 2 Megan Pollard (Friars True Briton); 3 Lia Revill (Harlequin); 4 Shannon Joosse (Gemma).
2ft 3ins open: 1 & 2. Tina Burden (Ronan & Storm); 3. Roxy Newstead (She's A Mystery); 4. Sally Sanders (Sky).
2ft 6ins juniors: 1 Roxy Newstead (She's A Mystery); 2 Ellie Sainsbury (Storm); 3 Donna Long (Star); 4 Hannah Hawken (Dynamo Dave).
2ft 6ins seniors: 1 Hannah Joliffe (Pentillie); 2 Celena Wolfe (Tober Dubalay); 3 Penny Goddard (High Offley Lara); 4 Tina Burden (Storm).
2ft 9" – 3ft 3" open: 1 Amy Perks (Bertie); 2 Sally Sanders (Sky); 3 Hannah Joliffe (Pentillie); 4 Billy Liddicoat (Quarrystone Sky Dancer).
Puissance winner: Stephanie Tiplady (Henry).
Diary dates, see Page 92.