In news that will surprise exactly no one who follows show jumping, Cita, ridden by Ireland’s Daniel Coyle, logged a win opening day of the 2019 Summer Fort Festival CSI4*-W at Thunderbird Show Park.
Just like she has every year since 2016.
The Holsteiner mare made her debut at tbird three years ago with fellow Irishman Conor Swail and took first and second in her only two international appearances.
This year she’s building on that record. With Coyle in the tack, the now 13-year-old mare logged first and third place international finishes at the 2019 Odlum Brown BC Open in May, her first show in nine months. This week, she adds victory in the $75,000 tbird Challenge 1.50 CSI4*-W to her perfect record.
“This year has been slow starting for her, but in the last month she feels like her old self,” said Coyle, who moved the mare up to 1.60m division for the first time this year at Bromont earlier in August. Cita won that Grand Prix, too.
“She’s a sensitive mare, as I always say, and it’s probably taken me until now to be able to ride her the way I used to again and figure out how everything works. It’s looking good,” said the 25-year-old rider.
It’s also looking speedy.
First to tackle course designer Peter Holmes’ shortened track, Coyle and his mount of two and half years set the time to beat at a blazing 36.88 seconds.
“There were a few fast riders in the jump-off,” said Coyle, “so I just [tried to go] as fast as I could—without making any mistakes, of course—and she was brilliant.”
Cita was so brilliant, in fact, she was nearly an entire second faster than the runner up rider: Coyle on his nine-year-old mount, Farrel, who stopped the clock at 37.48 seconds.
“You never can tell when you’re first to go, you never know how it’s going to go! Conor [Swail] is always very fast and there were a few other ones I knew weren’t just going to hand it to me, so I tried to get it done from the off and thankfully I did,” said Coyle.
“If I had to pick a horse to be first to go on, it would be Cita.”
Same goes for picking a horse that would win first.