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Devin Ryan and Eddie Blue jump to blue in $213,300 National Horse Show Grand Prix CSI4*

Sunday, 01 November 2020
CSI4*-W Lexington 2020

Photo © Elaine Wessel / Phelps Media Group Devin Ryan and Eddie Blue won the CSI4* $213,300 National Horse Show Grand Prix. Photo © Elaine Wessel / Phelps Media Group.


Press release from National Horse Show



Show jumping reached its pinnacle Halloween evening at the 137th National Horse Show when it hosted the highly-anticipated $213,300 National Horse Show Grand Prix CSI4* within the Alltech Arena. Tested over a masterful pattern from world-renowned course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA), entries from the seven nations of the United States, Great Britain, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, Israel and Brazil battled head-to-head for a shot at substantial prize money. Leading the jump-off from start to finish, Devin Ryan (USA) and LL Show Jumpers LLC’s Eddie Blue turned in a performance that was unparalleled, galloping to an early lead that could not be caught to clinch the lead spot in the victory gallop and the lion’s share of the purse. 

For the CSI4* class, Jorge fabricated a course fit for the occasion that included 17 jumping efforts up to the 1.60m height spread strategically across the ring. With so much exceptional talent in the field, including Thursday’s Phelps Media Group $72,900 International Welcome Stake CSI4* winner Kent Farrington (USA), McLain Ward (USA), Beezie Madden (USA), Margie Goldstein-Engle (USA), Paul O’Shea (IRL), Daniel Bluman (ISR), Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), it was anyone’s game headed into the onset of the contest. 

As the third pair in the original start list, Ryan and Eddie Blue served as the pathfinders with the first clear trip, and seven entries later Mario Deslauriers (CAN) ensured there would be a jump-off with his fault-free effort on Uris De La Roque. Continuing on through the order-of-go, Spencer Smith (USA) riding Quibelle, Kristen Vanderveen (USA) aboard Bull Run’s Risen and Goldstein-Engle on Dicas added more American representation to the tie-breaker round, while O’Shea with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu and David Blake (IRL) on Keoki qualified on behalf of the Irish. Lillie Keenan (USA) and Fasther also left all the rails in their cups, but incurred one heartbreaking time fault.

Photo © Elaine Wessel / Phelps Media Group Spencer Smith on Quibelle. Photo © Elaine Wessel / Phelps Media Group.

Seven combinations bearing the flags for three nations earned eligibility for the second portion of the competition, which showcased another expert pattern from Jorge, this time composed of eight obstacles. Once again leading the way, Ryan piloted Eddie Blue to the pace-setting round in 35.13 seconds with all the fences still upright. Smith directed Quibelle to the second, and ultimately final, foot-perfect trip just one-tenth of a second behind the leaders’ time in 35.26 seconds. Though the rest of the pack chased down Ryan and Eddie Blue, the partner he won a team gold medal with at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games, each duo fell victim to an unlucky rail to incur faults and keep them out of contention. 

Smith and Gotham Enterprizes LLC’s Quibelle captured the reserve honors, followed by O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu, owned by Machu Picchu Partners LLC, in third place. The Irish team managed to be the quickest of the night in 33.71 seconds, but dropped a single fence. For his victory, Ryan was also pushed to the top of the leaderboard for the Leading Rider Award, presented by Audi of Lexington and Samuel A.B. Boone, for which he earned a $5,000 cash prize as the rider with the most points in the International Jumper section throughout the week. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) was honored as the Leading Lady Jumper Rider.

From the winner's circle

Photo © Elaine Wessel / Phelps Media Group Devin Ryan and Eddie Blue. Photo © Elaine Wessel / Phelps Media Group.

Devin Ryan (USA) – $213,300 National Horse Show Grand Prix CSI4* winner

On the course:

“Guilherme definitely put together a nice course tonight and I didn’t think as many were going to go clean. There were some tall verticals and wide oxers out there, and some of the lines rode a little technical. I thought early on was the more technical part of the course, but it took a little bit of scope out there, some of those wide oxers – and he’s a scopey horse. It was my night.”

On the jump-off plan:

“My plan was not to do eight strides, from one to two; my plan was to do seven but when I walked in the ring I saw the timer sort of in the way to get a good line to line up the first two jumps so I jumped fence one thinking I could get to seven. I didn’t quite see it and I should have committed to it because it was right there so I ended up doing eight. The rest of it was right on plan. My plan was if I felt I got a good jump out of the double, I was going to do the six which was a leave-out, then turn back on the vertical. There was one less stride to the vertical, but it’s quite a tall vertical to be turning back and I thought he was going to be a little flat. My plan was to leave out and do six, then do seven to the vertical. He was really good turning away from the back of the oxers in the middle of the ring there after the last jump and the second-to-last jump in the jump-off. I think that’s where he was a little quicker than some of them, he really turned for me tonight.”

On coming back after a break from competition and winning tonight:

“I think for anybody, if you’re not in the show ring you get a little rusty. With everything going on and with business, we went to HITS this summer up in Saugerties. I didn’t want to use him up too much, so I did a few shows up there then did the 4* last week in Tryon then brought him here. So really, he did three shows in Saugerties and these two in the fall. He hasn’t done much since Florida. Last year we were hoping to make a short list so I said ‘let’s not overdo it this year and gear him up to see if we can keep on coasting into this winter.’ We will see what happens with Tokyo next year.”

On riding in their first indoor show of the season:

“He has a great brain. His first indoor show of his life was Washington as an 8-year-old and by April that year we went onto World Cup Finals. He walked right in and jumped around, he didn’t care. I knew from that first indoor event that I ever took him to that was a 4*, that it doesn’t matter what atmosphere you put him in, he’s just a competitive horse.”

On their partnership:

“I’m a big guy, we come in all shapes and sizes like the horses. He’s a bigger horse and he fits me. He has plenty of blood when he’s in the ring, but when he’s not in the ring he’s actually sometimes a lazy horse. He always steps up a little bit going into the ring. I think for a person like me who is a big, strong guy, it is good to have a horse who can take a little bit more movement, leg or pressure. I think that’s why he suits me.”

On what’s next:

“I think we will wait and see what’s happening with everything going on in the world right now. There’s a couple 4* classes coming up in Wellington at the end of November that I am thinking about, because the next show after that wouldn’t be until the middle of January. I don’t jump too many smaller classes with him, I try to save his jumps. Because of his brain, he doesn’t need too many warm up classes. He can just jump right in and do what he’s good at.”

On showing at the National Horse Show this year:

“It was great, everything went smoothly. You had your temperature checked, everyone wore their masks and you felt really safe. Everyone is in a good mood. It doesn’t feel much different except that you don’t have many spectators.”

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