Proof that size doesn’t matter, one of the smallest horses on the showjumping circuit has taken Simon Delestre to victory in the fourth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping League in Lyon.

Horse of a lifetime

At just 15.3hh, what Hermes Ryan lacks in heart he makes up for in heart and Simon describes him as his ‘horse of a lifetime’. He helped the French rider take the world number one spot from Scott Brash in 2016 and has also earned $500,000 in prize money in the past two years.

The 12-year-old gelding was on top form in Lyon, jumping a scorching round in a time of 37.72sec to take the title.

‘Naturally fast’

“I was lucky to go near the end of the jump-off because I knew the best route to take,” said Simon. “But Ryan is a naturally fast horse and in Verona [last weekend] I tried to go as fast as I could but we had a fence down.

“Today I asked even more and he jumped amazing! It’s especially nice for me to win this leg at home!”

Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann was second (38.35sec) with Mary Lou, and twice series champion Steve Guerdat and Bianca lined up in third (39.05sec).

Belgium’s Pieter Devos was fourth, Ireland’s Mark McAuley was fifth, while Michael Whitaker was sixth with Calisto Blue.

Strong partnership

Michael took over the ride on the 10-year-old gelding in June this year and the pair has quickly formed a strong partnership. They produced a great double clear in Lyon, but were second to go in the jump-off and their time of 40.01sec wasn’t quite fast enough for a podium place.

It was a good weekend for Mark McAuley, who also recorded the biggest win of his career landing the Longines Grand Prix, riding Miebello. Mark is now based in Geneva and is engaged to Sweden’s Charlotte Mordasini, who was Miebello’s former rider.

Don’t miss FEI World Cup Jumping: Lyon when it premieres on 10 November at 8pm on Sky 253 and online via H&C Play or Amazon Video. The show will then be available to watch on Catch Up.