Lexington, KY – November 7, 2012– Abigail McArdle of Barrington, IL finished her outstanding junior year with two major victories in the High Junior Jumpers during the Alltech National Horse Show. After winning the $10,000 Deeridge Farm Junior Jumper Welcome Stake her first day out with Cosma 20, the pair returned on Saturday to lead the $50,000 SJHOF Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. On Thursday, November 1, the top junior riders in the country gathered at the Alltech Arena to compete during the $10,000 Deeridge Farm Junior Jumper Welcome Stake. Eighteen-year-old McArdle and her speedy mount Cosma 20 would prove to be the best of the day. Even with adding a stride in one of the lines, their smooth turns and quick track bested the competition as they stopped the timers at 62.983 seconds, three seconds faster than the second place finisher. The pair returned to the ring at the end of the class to claim their blue ribbon and lead the victory gallop.
“The main part of making up time was galloping between the fences,” explained McArdle. Cosma is just really fast across the ground. I was really happy with the way she went because it’s really spooky in there, even for the experienced horses.”
McArdle added, “Cosma was amazing at Harrisburg, so she went home and had some paddock time and went on some trail rides. As long as she kept her fitness up, we kept it easy. After today I feel super confident, because she was really good everywhere. It’s nice to start with a speed class with her because it helps to open her up and gallop her around.”
On Friday, McArdle continued to be at the top of the leader board during the $15,000 Deeridge Farm Junior Jumper class. She and Cosma 20 posted a very quick double clear effort that was good enough to take home the second place honors.
Only 30 riders were invited to return to the ring for the prestigious $50,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic presented by Pasmore Stable. The jump-off proved to be a nail biter as the crowd waited until the end of the 10-horse tiebreaker to see a clear round posted.
McArdle, the reigning North American Junior Jumper Gold Medalist, knew exactly what it would take to win with her talented mare, and they were ready to take on the task. The pair picked up a fast gallop to the first oxer and never let up. The pair flew over every fence, clearing it easily. Smooth but fast turns proved to be the key as they clocked in at a blazing 31.573, the fastest of the class with no faults at all. Their amazing effort earned them the lion’s share of the prize money, the $1,000 SSG Bonus, and the lead position during the victory gallop.
“I think a lot of people were getting rushed in the turns,” explained McArdle. “There were a lot of people going into that jump off. I think especially in a big money class with that many riders everyone was going for it. I think there were a lot of problems for everyone in the jump off; it was a great course. It was definitely a spectator class.”
McArdle concluded, “My horse has been amazing all year. This is definitely a really emotional win for me. I thought it was a really good way to not only end the season, but it was also a way to end my Junior years.”
The future is bright for McArdle, who will begin attending college next fall. As the winter season approaches, she will travel to the prestigious Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, to continue campaigning Cosma 20. Over the summer, McArdle hopes to join her trainers Katie and Frank Prudent as they compete in Europe.