In back-to-back weeks in Canada, Daniel Bluman (ISR) has taken four CSI5* victories over just two shows.
You could say the World Championship Israeli team rider is on a roll, but for Bluman the success comes down to strategy.
“In every horse that I try to produce, I imagine the best way that they could go and I start working towards that direction,” Bluman said of his ever-evolving gameplan with each ride.
“But along the way, you also have to make compromises as a rider. You find yourself somewhere in the middle if you are lucky, and maybe a little bit more on the side of what you imagined.”
His tactical approach has helped tremendously with his ride aboard Cachemire de Braize, a 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Quality Touch x Jaguar Mail). The pair won two CSI5* classes and secured a second place during Major League Show Jumping’s stop at Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa, Ontario.
Capping off an incredibly successful week, he rose from below to claim Sunday’s $74,000 Steel Craft Door Products Ltd CSI5* Winning Round.
The format helped Bluman out because he had one rail down in the first round, which would have put him out of contention in a standard jump-off class. But with only two clear rounds, his fast 4-fault round qualified him to return, where all faults were cleared, and allowed him to take the lead.
“He feels in great form and is always a very, very competitive horse in these classes,” Bluman said of his partner Cachemire de Braize, who clocked in at 40.91 seconds with a clear round to eventually claim the top prize.
“He’s a very interesting horse. He’s the only French horse that I ride and I haven’t had many French horses in my career. He’s very French and unique in his ways. He has a bit of a difficult mouth, but he’s scopey and he wants to be careful.”
The scope has always been there, but the ride ability is something Bluman has been working on finessing so the horse can win at the top level.
“That rideability is not the easiest, but we’ve grown together and he’s very loved in the barn. He has a very sweet personality, and a strong personality in his own way. I think it’s a horse that probably will remain with me for the rest of his career since he’s kind of difficult to ride,” said Bluman.
It’s not as calculated an effort once Bluman is in the ring for the jump-off, however.
“[Cachemire] always takes a little bit of improvisation. You never know how big the stride is going to be, so you’re leaving strides out and you’re not even thinking about it. That turns out to be good in a jump-off like this.”
Interestingly, the only double-clear effort was second place finisher Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Birdy du Thot, who missed the winning time by only one-third of a second. Hometown hero Sam Walker (CAN) rose to third with Evita after taking down two rails in round one. The Winning Round format played against Sweetnam’s favor and into Bluman’s, but all top CSI5* athletes agreed it served as good competition, strong jumping, and a class to set them up for future success.
“At the end of the day it was a really good class,” Bluman remarked on the course set by [CD].
“It sets up the tone for what’s coming later in the season. I like it when it’s tough; I think it’s good. It makes all of us ride better and raise our level.”
Bluman’s winning streak began just a week prior at Angelstone Events, where he topped the CSI5* Welcome Stake and Grand Prix aboard Gemma W. His following successes came in the form of second place in $9,000 CSI5* Cabana Coast Speed and victory in the $74,000 CSI5* Individual Event.
“The horse jumped amazing this week. I couldn’t ask anything else from him. [He had] two big wins and in two very good classes; I’m proud of him,” Bluman concluded.
One thing is for sure: Bluman is one to watch out for this season as Major League Show Jumping continues its tour of North America.
Photocredit: Major League Show Jumping / Ashely Neuhof