Show Jumping

Winning Is Nice, But Beating Your Friend Is Even Better

“I’m not going to lie, the reason I really tried was because Daniel [Bluman] was winning, and he’s won enough the past couple of weeks.”

That was Hardin Towell, ambassador of cutthroat competitiveness, after beating his close friend, Daniel Bluman of Israel, in the $40,000 U.S. Open CSX FEI Speed Class at Central Park Horse Show in New York on Thursday night.

Towell was aboard his veteran partner Lucifer V.

“He’s a very diverse horse,” said the 29-year-old show jumper. “In big fields like Spruce Meadows, he’s also great. He doesn’t have the biggest stride, so in an arena like [the Wollman Rink] it’s even better because he’s quicker in the turns.”

More than two seconds “quicker,” in fact. Towell and Lucifer V stopped the clock at 53.53 seconds to Bluman’s Bacara D’Archonfosse’s 55.75 seconds.

Towell’s competitive advantage: Trusting his horse.

“Last week at Gold Cup I only got third, but I didn’t trust my horse or myself through the first line and in the second line I had the third jump down. I would’ve ended up third even if I’d gone clean, so today I decided to believe in my horse. I felt fast today and I knew it was quite good,” said Towell.

As for crushing Bluman, it was icing on the cake.

“We’re very competitive,” laughed Towell. “So it’s always fun to win, but to beat one of your friends is even better.”

Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili took third.