“I didn’t see that future when I started with her,” said Daniel Coyle of the Holstein mare, Cita.
“But I see it now.”
The 22-year-old Irish rider took over the ride from teammate Conor Swail in December last year and captured a win out of the gate in Wellington, Florida with the $75,000 Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC Grand Prix. The following week, they claimed the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 2, as well.
Then there was a brief period of growing pains.
“I changed a lot of things in Florida. I worked the change to figure her out a little bit—where I could take her, where she could take me and, thankfully, I’ve found a really good system that she really likes,” says Coyle.
“She likes to go her own way. She doesn’t like to be bullied so much and that’s hard in show jumping because the course builder doesn’t make it so easy that you just sit there and the horse goes around itself. But that’s the way she likes it. If everything was set up to just sit there, it would make it so much easier for her. So I have to find a way to fit in the pieces that I need.”
The puzzle appears to be coming together. Cita and Coyle haven’t had a rail in nearly three months.
“She’s jumped maybe 10 International classes from 1.45m up and hasn’t knocked a fence,” he said. “So I know if she knocks one it isn’t intentional. If I can ride her correctly—she usually won’t make a mistake.”
Among their recent results are a double clear in CSI4* Grand Prix in Wellington in March. (It was good for second place). The pair posted two fault-free performances at the Caledon CSI2* in May. (They took second and third, respectively.) In June, they were the only double clear in the Langley Nations Cup and went on to post duck eggs in the ATCO Nations Finale Grand Prix. (Third again.)
This week, they continued their clear jumping ways in Wednesday’s Bantrel Cup 1.55m at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, AB. Coyle and the 11 year-old mare beat 42 horse rider combinations, including world number one Kent Farrington, to capture the CSI5* 1.55m class.
“Cita is incredible, I have to say. I think the future is very bright for her,” smiled Coyle.
On Friday, the rising talent—Coyle is currently ranked 47th in the world— picked up his second win of the week at Spruce Meadows with the WIPRO U25 Winning Round, riding the Irish Sport Horse gelding, Ridley.
“It’s a great series to help find your way, especially for the younger riders,” he said. “I know there are a few at the age of 17 and 18 who get the chance to get a feel for the best level when you don’t necessarily have to jump against best riders in the world like Eric Lamaze and McLain Ward, so I think it’s really a great competition.”
Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado (MEX) and his grey gelding Tino La Chapelle finished 0.14 seconds behind Coyle to take second place. Nicole Walker (CAN) placed third with Falco Van Spieveld, a 12 year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding.