Ireland’s Daniel Coyle finished the 2019/2020 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup North American League the same way he started it—with a victory.
After beginning the season with a win in Vancouver, Coyle rode Farrel to the top of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Ocala, besting an eight-horse jump-off on March 8 at the Live Oak International in Ocala, Florida. The duo crossed the timers of Olaf Petersen, Jr.’s shortened course in 37.05 seconds. Margie Engle and Dicas finished second with a time of 37.37-seconds, while Adrienne Sternlicht and Cristalline finished third in 37.96 seconds.
“I think everything was going really well until the last turn. I had a little slip there, and I thought everything was going great until that point. I thought, ‘Have I lost it?’” Coyle said. “When I went through the finish and [saw] that I was able to catch the [leaders]—both of them have fantastic horses and are fantastic riders as well—I was delighted to beat them!”
Last to go, Coyle executed a very different plan than the then-leaders Engle and Dicas. Engle used Dicas’ massive stride to her advantage, while Coyle relied on Farrel’s swift turning, along with a sheer will to win.
“Farrel is a very small horse,” said Coyle. “He doesn’t have as big a jump as most horses, but he just believes he’s one of the best. Belief always overdoes talent, and he obviously has loads of that as well, but it’s his way, and he can do things that other horses can’t do.”
Watch Coyle’s winning jump-off, courtesy of FEI.TV:
The victory secured Coyle a place in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final, which will take place in Las Vegas, April 15-19. The appearance would mark Coyle’s first in a championship.
“In the middle of last year, [my team] decided to try and aim for the [Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final]. Until today, it seemed we didn’t have enough points. It’ll be my first World Cup Final, and I’m really looking forward to it.”