Wellington, Fla. – Mar. 12, 2020 – With just three weeks of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) remaining, show jumpers are feeling the pressure as they aim to add a win to their resume before the season’s end. Week 10 continued on Thursday, March 12, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) with the $37,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup, which was overflowing with competitors, 82 in total, vying for a piece of the prize. Ultimately it was Abigail McArdle (USA) and Victorio 5 who would rise to the occasion in Thursday’s 3* class.
Michel Vaillancourt’s (CAN) 3* track featured 13 fences measuring 1.50m that made up the afternoon’s course. Poles were scattered all over the track during the first round, with the triple combination seeing the most rails throughout the day. At the halfway mark, 11 horse and rider combinations had delivered a clear round, with that number growing to 18 at the close. Despite having qualified for the jump off, eight opted to save their horses for another day, leaving the class with a total of 10 to see in the final round.
With two rails down each, the first two contestants Ali Wolf (USA) and Alise Oken (USA), were placed out of the running early on. Third in the order, McArdle aboard Victorio Equine Group LLC’s Victorio 5, paved the way with the first clear round over Vaillancourt’s shortened eight-effort track on a time of 41.40 seconds. Following McArdle, Tiffany Foster (CAN) put in a speedy round, but fell just shy of McArdle’s time to tentatively place her in the second place spot.
U.S. Olympian Beezie Madden entered the ring aboard Abigail Wexner’s Garant ready to take the lead, but also fell short of McArdle’s leading time, putting her in the second-place spot on a time of 41.90 seconds. Stopping the clocks at the exact same time as Madden was Alonso Valdez Prado and his own Acuero, putting Madden and Prado in a tie for second.
McArdle and Victorio 5 have been paired together since July of 2018 and have recorded several notable finishes together with the Plain Bay Sales team such as CSI2* and CSI3* wins at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, as well as earning the U25 Show Jumping National Championship title in 2018. McArdle and Victorio 5 are aiming to compete in Saturday’s feature class at WEF, the $137,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3*.
Competition at the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival will continue on Friday, March 13, with the $37,000 Bainbridge 1.45m CSI3* Classic taking place in the International Arena. The feature event of Week 10, the $137,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3*, will take place on Saturday at 7:30 PM.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Abigail McArdle – $36,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round Ten winner
On her win:
“For sure this is the best season I have ever had in my life, and maybe will ever have. I am just so happy and so lucky to have such a nice horse and to be riding such a nice horse right now.”
On her relationship with Victorio 5:
“He has always been a good horse; he has always jumped clean rounds. Getting to the point where I feel like I can walk in and win a big track like this, it has taken now, well I have been riding him for over a year. So I would say it has taken that long to mesh with his brain, but now we are thinking the same, we are doing the same. It is a good feeling.”
On her first round and plan for the jump off:
“When I walked in, it was very technical, but I thought it was a great course for him. A lot of different questions, forward, backward, which he is great at. And the triple was super, that was a good line for me. Basically, everything rode to plan in the first round. I had one little rub, which I think actually held me all the way through, but he jumped in perfect style. In the jump off, I wouldn’t say I even went all out. I saw a bunch of rails before me, and I just wanted to be the neatest I could and the fastest I could with still holding that I wanted to be clear. Not too crazy in the back of my head, and obviously that paid off.”
$36,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round Ten CSI3*:
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / JO Faults / JO Time
- Victorio 5 / Abigail Mcardle / USA / 0 | 41.406
- Acuero / Alonso Valdez Prado /PER / 0 | 41.901
- Garant / Beezie Madden / USA / 0 | 41.90
- Northern Light / Tiffany Foster / USA / 0 | 41.962
- Casco 11 / Lauren Tisbo / USA / 0 | 43.093
- Clockwise Of Greenhill Z / Uma O’Neill / NZL / 0 | 44.321
- Cayani SN / Bliss Heers / USA / 4 | 44.24
- Quirie 2 / Ali Wolff / USA / 8 | 41.467
- Ariso / Jordan Coyle / IRL / 8 | 42.433
- Shangri-La / Alise Oken / USA / 8 | 44.102
For full results click here.