Wellington, Fla. – Mar. 7, 2018 – Surrounded by a family tree of fellow equine enthusiasts, horses are clearly in the blood of Daniel Bluman. The decorated 27-year-old athlete has already accumulated an impressive resume of accolades from competitions spanning the globe, with his eyes forward towards the upcoming FEI World Equestrian Games™ and the 2020 Olympic Games. Currently competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), the young Colombian-Israeli rider is a formidable force in the ring becoming known for his winning ways, with the road paved for continued success. More than simply a competitor, Bluman is a quality example for the younger generation of what a horseman should aim to be.
While the award-cladden tack room of Bluman’s Wellington, Florida farm boasts of his accomplishments with blue ribbons and sashes hanging from the walls, his humble attitude is a refreshing reminder of how the sport should be, reminiscent of the early roots of riding simply for pleasure. Bluman’s wholesome perspective on equestrian sport is a welcome sight, one that guides the structure of his business.
“I do this because I absolutely love my horses, and I love what we do. The part that I enjoy the most of our sport is that I can interact with my horses every day. After a big win, my celebration the next day is that I ride all my horses. That’s what I do for a living and I do it because I love it. It’s everything,” said Bluman.
Watching Bluman interact with his horses, it is easy to see that the wellbeing of the animals is at the heart of his relationships with them – relationships that have been successful in international competition across the world.
“Each horse has his own personality, his own ways, his own program, and I am a big believer in giving horses time to develop a relationship with the rider, and to give riders the time to develop a relationship with the horse,” reflected Bluman. “The same goes for the rest of our team. It is the farrier, the vet and the grooms who are able to learn the horses, and once all of those things happen, we can build on success. We must acknowledge that this is a team, and I’m blessed to have such a good one.”
True to his philosophy, Bluman is active in all aspects of the equestrian lifestyle, not simply the glory of winning in the ring.
“Most of the time – I won’t say all the time, although I wish I could be – I am involved in everything. I want to put on the bridle and make sure that everything is where I want it to be, that the points of pressure on his mouth and head are how I want it. It is important for riders of all levels to interact with their horses,” noted Bluman.
Bluman Equestrian, composed of both Daniel and his cousin Ilan Bluman, currently has the reins on six grand prix level mounts, with Sancha LS, owned by Daniel Bluman LLC, and Over The Top Stables LLC’s Ladriano Z holding special spots with Bluman as two of his current top performing mounts.
“Sancha was my horse in the Olympic Games in London, and we have had eight seasons in Florida together. I’ve had her since she was 7 years old so she is 15 years old this year, the oldest one on the team,” reflected Bluman. “Ladriano we got when he was 6 years old, which was four years ago, and same thing I started a relationship with him. Sancha is the past and present, and Ladriano is the present and future. I’m lucky to have two horses overlap that are at such a high-caliber.”
Bluman’s success in the ring can largely be credited to the tenets that he passes on to his team, which he learned himself from some of the greatest riders of our time. His list of mentors include world-renowned athletes such as Jeroen Dubbeldam, Pablo Barrios, Eric Lamaze and Nelson Pessoa, each of whom he credits with fostering his love for the sport and bolstering his training, which ultimately led him to the pinnacle of show jumping. Though Bluman has a solid string of horses behind him, in addition to an impressive knowledge base learned from his lifelong teachers, his true champions come in the form of his family.
“It is impossible to name just one person who I am most grateful to, but if I have to say anybody I would say my mother and my wife. My mother has been my biggest supporter from the beginning and allowed me to dream. My wife decided to start a family with a young equestrian professional, which is definitely not an easy thing to do,” said Bluman.
A dual citizen of both Colombia and Israel, the native nation of his mother, Bluman has long cherished the cultures of both sides of his ancestry. Though the young rider had been approached in the past about representing Israel, in 2016 he finally decided that he was ready to make the change, making the difficult decision to switch nationalities in order to compete under the flag of Israel instead of Colombia, the nation where he was born and had represented in international competition for more than eight years. Boasting a decorated career for Colombia, Bluman represented the South American country in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, as well as made appearances in two FEI World Equestrian Games and two Pan-American Games. In his 2012 Olympic debut aboard Sancha LS, Bluman finished within the top 20 individuals at only 22 years of age, one of the youngest riders in the field.
“It was definitely not an easy decision. I am very proud of being Colombian, just as I am very proud of being Jewish. I was born in Colombia, and I grew up most of my life in Florida. I have also lived in Europe, so I’m from many places, but I was raised in a Jewish family and my culture was taught from that Israeli descent. It’s something that I always carry very dear to my heart,” said Bluman. “I think it was the right decision. Only amazing things have happened since, and the best part of my career is now. I’m really happy with how things are going.”
Since swapping flags, Bluman has continued his success. In the span of only one week in February 2018, Bluman captured the lead spot in the victory gallop in three separate grand prix events aboard three different horses, a testament to his training program and riding ability. On Feb. 3, 2018, Bluman rode Sancha LS to the quickest double clear in the $205,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI4* at WEF, and the very next day claimed the top spot in the $15,000 Turf Tour Grand Prix on Samantha and Melissa Wight’s Esmee. Making it a trifecta, he navigated Ladriano Z to the championship in the $384,000 Fidelity Investments CSI5* Grand Prix at WEF less than a week later.
“My first grand prix win ever was followed by two other grand prix wins three weeks in a row. That was back in 2009, at that time with the same horse. Right now I think we have a very good group of horses that we have been working hard with. Everything has started falling into place,” commented Bluman. “I’m very happy, and I’m blessed and proud that this team of horses is winning and jumping as they are doing. When you have multiple horses winning, that means that what you are doing – your program, your management and your team – you are doing many good things.”
Given his recent track record of success, it may come as no surprise that Bluman has his sights set on this summer’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, North Carolina, where he has already qualified four horses to compete – Sancha LS, Ladriano Z, Apardi and Bacara d’Archonfosse. Further down the road, a third appearance at the Olympic Games is hopefully on the docket.
For the first time in history, partly thanks to Bluman, Israel also has hope on the horizon. Never before has the small nation fielded a team for Olympic equestrian competition, but Bluman and a handful of other riders, including recent WEF CSI5* Grand Prix winner Danielle Goldstein, are making monumental ground to change that and look to be contenders in upcoming Olympic qualifiers for the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
“I have a good group of horses, and I am trying to be as prepared as I can with Plans A, B and C for these competitions. If things don’t go well with one horse or there is an injury – hopefully that is not the case – but we should be ready,” noted Bluman. “I have already represented my country of Colombia in the Olympics as an individual, and it was a fantastic experience, but I really want to qualify a team, especially with the new format. The Israeli team is what we are aiming for, and we are hoping we are going to get there.”
At only 27 years old, it is a good bet that Bluman will make appearances in plenty more victory gallops throughout his career. With a strong foundation of correct horsemanship at the helm and a steady stream of accomplishments in the show ring to boot, he may be one to watch during this evolving age of show jumping sport.