Living The Horse Life A Day In The Life Of Show Jumping Star Daniel Bluman In Wellington
By Mike May
Show jumping is an international sport, which can be showcased by the professional and international lifestyle of world-class show jumper Daniel Bluman.
Born in Colombia, now living in Wellington, and competing internationally for Israel, Bluman is currently 19th in the world. A year ago, he was ranked 11th in the world. “Your world ranking is highly influenced by your type of horse,” Bluman said.
Bluman, 32, was born in Medellin, Colombia, on March 15, 1990. He is the grandson of a Holocaust survivor, who spent three years in Auschwitz during World War II. After liberation, the family left Europe and moved to Colombia.
Bluman’s father, Samuel, is an entrepreneur, and his mother, Orly, is a psychologist and social worker. While growing up in Colombia, Bluman’s parents set high standards and taught him and his brother Steven the meaning of dedication, professionalism and dependability. To this day, Bluman’s life is laced with integrity and gratitude.
Bluman said that to succeed in the equestrian industry, you have to love horses.
“I love and have a passion for horses,” he said. “You have to know how they live and act. You have to know how to get in their head and body. I was fortunate to be able to learn the horse life.”
A regular day for Bluman is totally horse centric.
Right now, he manages 10 horses a day in Wellington. These horses are the ones that he uses to compete as a show jumper. None are younger than seven and few are older than 16.
“I will ride a horse for show jumping for roughly nine to 10 years,” Bluman said.
While he takes great efforts to pamper his horses, it’s also important to give the horses time and space.
“I must let horses be horses, which means they are free to graze in the field for many hours a day,” Bluman said. “They only get a workout for 45 to 60 minutes a day.”
When it comes to feeding horses, they need a well-balanced diet, just like any world-class athlete.
“We feed the horses carrots, grains, hay and supplements,” Bluman said.
In addition to his stable of horses here in Wellington, he also controls a group of younger horses that live in Europe. As they mature and get trained, they will eventually travel to the United States to join his group of horses in Wellington.
And, just like a world-class athlete, there’s a somewhat short window or season when they compete each year.
“Each of my horses is only competing for 12 to 15 weeks a year,” Bluman said.
Meanwhile, Bluman makes sure that he stays fit, as well. “It’s important that I work out, keep hydrated and have a good, balanced diet,” he said.
During the competitive show jumping season in Wellington, Bluman is very busy from Thursdays through Sundays. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, he and his horses are often resting, recovering from competition, and getting ready for the next competition series.
After the Winter Equestrian Festival concludes in Wellington, Bluman spends time competing in New York and Europe.
“After the season in Wellington, New York becomes my home base, as we have a facility in North Salem, New York,” Bluman said.
Bluman got started in the equestrian world before he enrolled in kindergarten. When he was three years old, he started riding horses and was a member of a local pony club in Colombia. He was motivated to ride due to the interest in horses shown by his older cousins.
It didn’t take long for Bluman to develop his own true passion for horses, which is the foundation of his current equestrian lifestyle. Once he grasped the art of being a show jumper, Bluman quickly joined the international circuit. He competed in Colombia, Germany and the U.S. Along the way, he trained with some of the top equestrians in the world, including Brazilian Olympian Nelson Pessoa, whom he trained with in Belgium for several years. This led to him competing at some of the top show jumping competitions in the world.
Nowadays, Bluman is also focused on his Jewish roots, as he competes on the international equestrian circuit as a representative of Israel. Bluman competed in the Olympics in 2012 in London and in 2016 in Rio as a member of the Colombian team, but he switched his national affiliation soon after returning from Rio.
Bluman would have competed as a member of the Israeli team at the Tokyo Olympics, but a mistake with his horse’s documentation prevented him from making the trip to Japan to compete at the postponed Tokyo games in 2021.
Bluman was actually a finalist in the 2012 Olympics aboard his horse Sancha LS, but he now admits that he was not competitively ready to really contend for a spot on the medal platform in London. However, it was an unforgettable, formative experience.
In recent years, Bluman’s achievements include wins at the Rolex Grand Prix of Rome, the Rolex Grand Prix of Central Park, the Hampton Classic, the FTI Wellington Finale and the Douglas Elliman Grand Prix.
Looking back, Bluman said that he has been the beneficiary of good timing and had the opportunity to make great connections in the show jumping world from a young age.
After spending the first 10 years of his life in Colombia, his family moved to South Florida, where he spent ages 10 to 13. While in Florida, his family lived in Weston, and on weekends in the winter, Bluman’s mother would drive him up to Wellington, where he experienced the atmosphere of the world-renowned Winter Equestrian Festival. It was a case of being in the right place at the right time, meeting with the right kind of people.
He and his family returned to Colombia when he was 14, but at age 17, he left Colombia for good to pursue his career as a show jumper.
In his spare time, Bluman can be found at home with his wife Ariel and their children. His kids enjoy karate, soccer and bicycling. The family supports various charitable organizations, such as the UJA Federation, the Israel National Therapeutic Riding Association (INTRA) and Antorchas de Vida, a foundation that focuses on nutrition and education for poor children back in Medellin, Colombia. In recent years, the Blumans have created “Ride The Future,” a program that helps pair professionals with riders who are interested in continuing a career in the sport but might not have the means or tools to do so.
To learn more about Daniel Bluman, visit www.blumanequestrian.com.