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The Next Generation: Daniel Coyle – "I think I have been extremely lucky"

Friday, 01 May 2020
The Next Generation

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping
“At the end of the day, you need to be extremely lucky to get into the right yard and be matched with the right horses, and then prove yourself," Daniel Coyle says. Here with Cita. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping



In World of Showjumping’s series 'The Next Generation', the focus is on determined young talents that aim for the top of the sport through dedication and hard work. Ireland’s Daniel Coyle also points out how a huge amount of luck is needed – and how in moving forward, our sport should still hold on to some tradition.

“Actually, I would really like the sport to be a little more old-fashioned,” the 25-year-old begins. “It seems there is no time to really enjoy it anymore. I know everyone wants to win, but there should be less pressure – everyone from grooms to riders to trainers seem to be pushed to their limits. It is really tough to make the right decisions,” he points out.

Nevertheless, it seems as Coyle has managed to break that code – his results speak for themselves. “It is hard though,” Coyle says when speaking about what it takes to break through as a young talent. “For me, it was about finding the right place,” he continues. “At the end of the day, you need to be extremely lucky to get into the right yard and be matched with the right horses, and then prove yourself. Many young riders are not getting the chances they deserve. There is so much money involved in the sport now, they cannot just rely on their talent.”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumpin
“Personally, I think I have been extremely lucky,” rising star Daniel Coyle tells about shooting on to the international showjumping scene. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“Personally, I think I have been extremely lucky,” Coyle continues. “I have worked for Lothlorien Farm for the past four years,” he tells about the job that has taken him far from where he started off. “I was riding in Ireland but then one of my good owners died and another owner left the sport – which left me with less horses and with no direction really. Back then, I called my close friend Barry O’Connor and asked him for advice. He told me that Conor Swail was looking for someone, so I went and worked for him. After three months, the owner of Lothlorien Farm asked if I wanted to work for them. It was a great opportunity and I took it – that is how I got a chance to ride better horses and prove that I was able to do it.”

Choosing a professional career in showjumping was something the 25-year-old never really planned. “I suppose there was nothing else I was good at,” Coyle smiles. “And when I left school, I had to decide how to make a living so I thought I would give it a go. However, I did not think it would ever be at the scale it is now!”

“There has been a lot of people who have helped me,” Coyle replies when asked who has been the most influential in his sports career. “Lothlorien Farm has abled me to prove myself and get to where I am. As a rider, both Conor Swail and Jeroen Dubbeldam have helped me a lot. Jeroen, who has been based next to us in Wellington, has been helping me for three years now. He trains the Porter-brothers all year-round, but when we are at our Florida-base, he comes to watch me ride, walks the courses with me and I go to him whenever I have questions. Whenever we are in Europe, we stay at his yard.”

“Wellington – it is a different world there,” Coyle continues. “Wealth wise, everyone there is very lucky – it is not really how normal people and the rest of the world live. We are based in Wellington for about five months each year, we spend four to six months in Canada and then the rest in Europe. The area near Toronto where the farm is, actually reminds me a lot of Ireland.”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping
“This year, I probably have the strongest string of horses yet,” Coyle tells. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

And the horse that has meant the most for him so far? “That would for sure be Cita (Casall x Pik Ramiro),” Coyle says about the now 14-year-old Holsteiner mare, that he won his first World Cup, his first Nations Cup and his first five-star Grand Prix with. “She really gave me a chance to prove myself as a rider.”

“This year, I probably have the strongest string of horses yet,” Coyle continues. “When I first started at Lothlorien, there were a lot of young horses aged six and seven. Now, I have worked on them and they are ready for the next level.”

“When it comes to goals, it’s not set in stone really. For this year, it was supposed to include the World Cup Finals in Las Vegas and the Tokyo Olympics. Under the current circumstances, it is very hard to have a goal. However, I do look forward to the Olympics – that would still be what I am aiming for. I think I have a horse to do it with, and if I would get a chance to go it would be to try and win a medal – not just to participate. As hard as it is right now, we have to focus on the Olympics.”

“I have ridden lots of horses, but never had one with as much talent as Legacy (Chippendale Z x Bon Ami),” Coyle says about the now 10-year-old Zangersheide mare that he is aiming for Tokyo. “Everything I ask her to do, she finds her way. I never had a horse that really understands everything as easily as she does – and lately, she has started to prove herself to everyone else too.”

“There is nothing better than having a horse that you can feel can do something special. It is something only a horse and rider can have between them, not something anyone else can be a part of. It is an unbelievably motivating task to have a horse you believe in, and then to prove this to the rest of the world,” Coyle tells.  

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. "It is an unbelievably motivating task to have a horse you believe in, and then to prove this to the rest of the world,” Coyle tells – here with Legacy. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“We have some lovely six and seven-year-old horses that I would like to develop with the same idea as we have done until now,” Coyle explains when asked about long-term goals. “If I ever get a chance to have four to five Grand Prix horses, that would mean different goals; then I would want to aim for the top ten on the world rankings. Right now, I have a great quantity of horses to try and develop a championship horse.”

When asked which achievements he values the most, Coyle replies: “Obviously Team Ireland’s win in the 2018 Nations Cup of Canada at Thunderbird Show Park gave me an amazing feeling,” Coyle says. “But I think the biggest achievement lately has been how consistently Legacy has stepped up to five-star level. I haven’t really had a championship to prove these horses yet though; winning a Grand Prix is great, but there is one every week,” he says. “It would be nice to do a championship, that is something I haven’t done yet.”

“Success surely motivates me,” Coyle says. “Personally, when things aren’t going so well – it is easy for me to still stay motivated. I believe that when things go well, that is when you need to motivate yourself the most.”

When speaking about Coyle, Jeroen Dubbeldam is full of praise. “Daniel is a very talented jockey,” he says. “He is not only talented on the horse, but around them too. He knows how to deal with them, he is a horseman. The way we work together is not about me standing there all day, telling Daniel how to ride. I don’t need to teach him that, he has talent enough. I am just there for him, to help with details. I have focused on helping Daniel with long-term management – especially seeing that he likes to win, and that can make him almost too hungry. Even though one of his strongest sides is his ambitiousness, being too eager to win can also be dangerous. Therefore, I am trying to slow him down sometimes,” Dubbeldam explains. “Together with his owners, he makes out a very strong team and I believe there is a bright future waiting for him.”


No reproduction without permission, copyright © World of Showjumping


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