Upperville, Va.—June 13
When Jordan Coyle first got Ariso, Irish world champion Dermott Lennon gave him one piece of advice.
“When I got the horse, his advice was, ‘Don’t ever try to ride the horse, really ride him. Just let him be normal,’ ” said Coyle. “I didn’t take his advice for the start. I tried to fix him, but there’s no fixing him, so I just leave him alone now. Every day he’s getting a little bit easier.
“He’ll probably run away with me the next time,” he joked.
Though the 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood stallion (Casall—Osira, Contender) isn’t the most rideable horse, a system of longeing, hacks and galloping out on the grass rather than schooling flatwork seems to work for him.
“When I got him, the jump was always unbelievable, but after five jumps you had no steering, no control,” said Coyle. “Sometimes he still would jump the jumps, but it was like a rocket.”
Though Coyle’s at-home routine is a bit unconventional in the States, Coyle said it’s commonplace where he grew up in Ireland, so he was comfortable with training the stallion less. And at the Upperville Colt & Horse Show, the pair negotiated a technical track set by Marina Azevedo to top the three-horse jump-off in the $213,300 Upperville Jumper Classic. Hometown rider Alison Robitaille took second on Lima 47, while Chile’s Samuel Parot rounded out the top three with Dubai.
“My plan was to go as fast as possible, don’t knock the jumps down,” said Coyle. “That’s normally my plan. In the last six months really he’s turned a corner. When he came he was very difficult to ride. He’s getting easier. He was brilliant here this week, so I’m very excited to see what the future holds.”