As far as weekends go, Daniel Coyle’s couldn’t have worked out much better.
The Irish rider captured not one, not two, but three of the weekend’s four ranking classes at Desert International Horse Park in California, the penultimate stop on the 2022 Major League Show Jumping tour.
The winning started on Saturday. Coyle and Jeffery Jarden topped a 41 horse field to take the La Quinta Resort CSI2* Grand Prix, edging out Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Chill Ma by less than three tenths of a second in the jump off. It was the eight year old gelding’s career first international win.
“Jefferson we bought last year at the Hendrix auction. I only started riding him a few months ago when I got back from Europe,” said Coyle.
The initial appeal to Ariel Grange and Coyle? “Probably too many drinks,” smiled Coyle.
“We didn’t try him. We just sat down at the table and watched. [Jeffery Jarden] was connected to a horse her and her mom used to own. She bought him and he’s been brilliant, actually.”
While historical precedent may have brought them together, it also aided their result on the weekend. Coyle swapped Jeffery Jarden to a plain snaffle bit this week, a technique he learned from his longtime partner Legacy.
“I used to ride [Legacy] in a little gag and I jumped the 1.40m one day in a snaffle and it felt better. So I always try and tell myself, maybe less bit is more,” said Coyle. “Sometimes everybody wants to put a bigger bridle on to have more control. But sometimes for me it works better going down.”
On Sunday, Coyle led the victory gallop again, capturing the morning’s Talus CSI5* Winning Round 1.50m with the nine-year-old KWPN mare Ivory TCS.
Ten combinations advanced to the jump off in the Michel Vaillancourt designed track, including Coyle brothers, Jordan and Daniel. Returning in reverse order, Daniel used their back to back draw to his advantage and pre-loaded when Jordan entered the ring to have a better view.
“I just took advantage of seeing what he’d done. If Jordan gets it right, it’s hard to beat, I know that. And when he doesn’t, maybe I can learn something from it. So I like to see what I can learn from that,” explained Daniel.
What he gleaned: “The first line in the jump off was a [long] eight strides and then a very short five strides. We had talked about doing four [strides] there and Jordan didn’t get it done on the four and had it down. So that really gave me motivation to try and do four.”
Daniel and Ivory executed the four easily, ultimately stopping the clock at 34.72 seconds, nearly a second faster than runners up, Kyle King and Eltaon 35.59.
“We got her in the VDL Sale as a seven year old. I’ve always felt a lot of power and a lot of heart in there and I told a lot of people that also and they didn’t really believe me. But I think she’s really showing herself now to be a top horse,” said Coyle.
It was his already proven a top horse, Legacy, that captured his third win of the weekend.
Sunday afternoon, Coyle topped a 33 horse field to claim the Whittier Trust CSI5* MLSJ Grand Prix 1.55m with his trusted mare.
“Legacy has been phenomenal for me since we bought her,” said Coyle. “We got her as an eight year old and I sort of produced her as a championship horse. But after the World Championships [in Herning], we changed course a little bit and decided maybe, now, we should try and win some Grand Prix.”
The pair have done just that. In 2022 alone, they won the CSI5* World Cup at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, ON in November, were second in the CSI4* World Cup at Live Oak Plantation in Ocala, FL in March and third in the 5* Grand Prix in Langley. The pair also logged first and third place finishes in the 5* Nations Cups in Vancouver and Rotterdam, respectively.
“She’s 12 years old and she’s getting better and better and I’m getting to know her a little bit better in the jump offs also,” he continued. “I cannot say enough good things about her.”
While Coyle’s winning weekend might sound like a spectacular run of good luck, he says he’s spectacularly well mounted.
“I have a really, really strong, string right now. So, if I wasn’t winning, there’d be more questions asked actually rather than the other way around,” joked Coyle.
“So I really, really thank [owner Ariel Grange] for that.”