“A horse that you can take into any sort of situation, and you can rely on, just makes the sport completely different.”
Daniel Bluman speaks straight from the heart when asked about Sancha LS, the 14-year-old SLS mare (Chin Chin x Polydor) that has carried him through some of the greatest finishes of his career.
It’s understandable that the talented mare means so much to 27-year-old Bluman; together, they made their Olympic Games debut at London 2012 (making the individual final and finishing in the top 20), and subsequently competed across Europe and North America as Bluman worked to make his name in the sport.
This week, Sancha LS has a special distinction: she is the only London Olympic Games mount that is competing at CHIO Aachen 2017, and one of just a handful of horses who jumped in London that are still in competition at the top level.
That type of longevity speaks straight to the kind of horseman that Bluman strives to become. Last year, he switched nationalities from Colombia to Israel, but he’s been a professional since the age of 18.
For the last ten years, Sancha has been in his stable, and already as an eight year old, she was an instant star. “She qualified me for the Olympic Games as an eight-year-old, she won a five star (at Wellington, Florida) as a nine-year-old, and then as a 10-year-old, it was my first time coming to Europe and we jumped two classes at each show because I didn’t have anything else and I was trying to make a name for myself,” Bluman recalls.
Sancha went strong through the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and Bluman slowed her down in 2015. Last year she picked up a small hind leg injury, and Bluman gave her the entire winter off to rest and heal in Europe, while he competed in Florida.
“I bought a little pony and put them out in the field together, and she spent four months completely out from day to night,” he said. “When I came back [to Europe] in April, I started working her more seriously, and brought her to Spruce to jump two classes per week and build up her fitness.”
While Bluman attests that Sancha is only 85% back to her peak form, on Wednesday, July 19, the pair of them made their Aachen debut in the Turkish Airlines Prize of Europe—and jumped a clear round. Bluman gave Sancha a pat on the neck, and then ran his hand up to her ears, and finally gave in and leaned down to kiss her on the neck as he left the arena.
“All these years, I’ve learned everything that I know with her by my side,” Bluman says. “I knew nothing really before I had her. We’ve experienced, trained, and changed in every possible way you can because I had different trainers along the way, different mentors. Since she’s the only one I’ve really had the whole time, we’ve done everything together.
“All these years, I’ve learned everything that I know with her by my side.”
“To have her now at 14 years old and showing, I’m on my way to becoming the horseman I’ve always wanted to be.”
Bluman is resting and waiting now for Sunday to roll around, where he hopes to enter Sancha in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Grand Prix of Aachen. Of anything, he puts the most value on the art of managing his top horse for many more years to come. True horsemen, he says, are the ones who can keep their partners fit, sound and happy not for one or two seasons, but throughout long and successful careers. And along the way, they hope to win a grand prix or two.