There’s no such thing as beginner’s luck on the grand prix field, but for 35-year-old Devin Ryan, being a longtime study of the best show jumpers in the business is finally paying off. “I was probably the least experienced of all those riders in the jump-off. I’ve been watching them all season trying to learn from them,” Ryan said. “I just went out there today and rode my plan.”

The winner of this weekend’s $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping New York CSI4*-W, presented by Windsor Show Stables, says that despite being mounted on an 8-year-old, sometimes the class just suits the horse, as it did on Sunday for the grey KWPN gelding, Eddie Blue (Zirocco Blue VDL x Marlon).

“Eddie is a very brave horse and a field like this suits him. He has a lot of stride and scope so there is time to organize him. Because the field fit the horse, I thought this was a great place to step him up,” Ryan explained.

One of the experienced riders Ryan beat out was none other than #3 in the world, McLain Ward, aboard the 10-year-old Oldenburg mare, HH Callas. Ward would finish clear just under a second behind Ryan’s final time of 37.75, while Jack Towel Jr. with Lucifer V finished third as the jump-off’s fastest four-faulter. This is the third grand prix victory for Ryan & Eddie Blue in just three months, and despite his young age, Ryan is already calling the gelding “the horse of the future.”

Next up: the duo will pursue World Cup Finals qualification at the Washington International Horse Show and the National Horse Show in Lexington, Kentucky this fall. And while it remains to be seen whether Eddie Blue will have the points or experience necessary to compete at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals in Paris, France, next year, there’s no doubt this young pair has all the makings of a world-class partnership in the years to come.

Here are 10 reasons why: 

  • Ryan owns River Run Stables in Long Valley, NJ, where he trains young horses and coaches riders.
  • Previously, Devin has worked for George Morris and spent time training in the Netherlands with Alan Waldman.
  • Ryan’s sporting motto is: “I treat the horse as if it were my own child. I know the earlier years are the foundation for life for both children and horses. If they don’t have confidence when they are young, they’ll never have it later on.”
  • At press time, Ryan was 250th on the Longines Rankings.
  • Most recently, Eddie Blue & Ryan won the $75,000 Agero Grand Prix on the final day of the 2017 Silver Oak Jumper Tournament in Halifax, Massachusetts.
  • The pair also took home the 1.50m $45,000 FEI Open welcome at CSI3* Bromont earlier in August, and the $100,000 I Love NY Grand Prix at Lake Placid in July.
  • Ryan acquired the Netherlands-born gelding when he was just 4 years old. “I’ve known since he was 5 years old that he would be able to jump all the big classes.,” Ryan said.
  • Because of his particular jumping style, Ryan is always worried about the time allowed with Eddie Blue.
  • The American Gold Cup is the first FEI World Cup appearance for Eddie Blue and just his third time jumping 1.60m.
  • Eddie Blue also lacks experience competing indoors. “I am going to take him to Washington and Kentucky as a second horse just to get his feet wet indoors and see how he does and how he reacts to that atmosphere,” Ryan said.

-Photo credit: Taylor Renner/Phelps Media Group.