Irish rider Coyle builds on Canadian-made legacy

(l-r) Rodrigo Lambre and Coleman, Rodrigo Pessoa and Chaganus, Daniel Coyle and Cita
Credit : Sportfot

Wednesday 14 March - 15h32 | Ian Clayton

Irish rider Coyle builds on Canadian-made legacy

“It probably hasn’t sunk in yet, but that is, I think, my first Grand Prix five-star win,” Daniel Coyle told The Irish Times after taking first place with Cita in this past weekend’s $384,000 CSI5* Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. 

 - Irish rider Coyle builds on Canadian-made legacy

John Grange and Rodrigo Pessoa
Credit : Daniel Coyle (Facebook)

But while the victory was a landmark one for the 24-year-old rider, it is just the latest in a string of achievements for the current World No.41 after moving to Canada and becoming resident rider for owners Ariel and Susan Grange, the latter of whom passed away last October.
Indeed, the transatlantic move in 2016 – first to the Florida festival to compete with some of the Granges’ horses and then to their Lothlorien Farm in Caledon, Ontario as resident rider – has transformed the Derry native’s life and career after one of his horses died and one of his owners left the sport in 2015 in Ireland. "It's a bit unreal for me, really,” he is quoted as saying on “I kind of got lucky in so many ways and now I have ended up with a dream job. In Ireland I thought I was flying it, but then suddenly it all changed and I knew it was time to go."

And it is with Lothlorien horses like Cita, a 12-year-old mare, that Coyle has been making some major waves in North America, including in the rain in Palm Beach on the 1.60m track designed by compatriot Alan Wade, who will be a course builder at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tyron, North Carolina in September. In the Grand Prix, Coyle and Cita overcame Brazilian runners-up Rodrigo Pessoa and Chaganus, and Rodrigo Lambre and Coleman in third. “I suppose I had a big advantage tonight,” Coyle told The Times. “My plan was to be clear no matter what because there weren’t any at that time, so it worked out well for me.”
“It’s different conditions,” he added about the rain, “but when you go in the ring, you kind of forget it. Then, when you come out and go back through your round, yeah, it probably does play a part. But at that time, you have to forget about the rain; forget about the conditions and try to get on with the job that you’re trying to do."

With the win, Coyle and Cita add a new highlight to the legacy of Lothlorien’s Susan Grange, remembered as a pillar of the Canadian equestrian community. Coyle has on different occasions paid tribute to the woman he calls an “equine legend and an excellent boss,” including when Sue’s husband John received an honour for her from Irish Team Manager Rodrigo Pessoa at the end of last month (above right). "Very honoured to have played a part in Sue Grange’s legacy. Here’s John collecting a token representing all she did for Canadian and Irish showjumping," Coyle wrote.

And after Canada's victory in a Nations Cup qualifier in February, Coyle commented: “Ariel Grange’s and Lothlorien Farm’s Cita - LONGINES FEI Nations Cup of the USA. =3rd place for Ireland and a win for the Farm’s home base nation, Canada. Ian Millar and Dixon also from Team Lothlorien were part of the winning team. Well done captain Canada! #teamlothlorienPhoto below of Ariel and Susan Grange from Daniel Coyle Facebook page. 

 - Irish rider Coyle builds on Canadian-made legacy

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