Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2024

McArdle Sisters Star At Washington


Amelia and Abigail show the way in their respective hunter and jumper divisions.


Abigail and Amelia McArdle both worked hard to qualify and compete at the Washington International,
so it was even more rewarding that the two sisters from Barrington, Ill., returned home with top titles.

Abigail, 12, started out the week at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., Oct. 9-14, by outracing her peers in the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship on Wednesday evening.
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Amelia and Abigail show the way in their respective hunter and jumper divisions.

Abigail and Amelia McArdle both worked hard to qualify and compete at the Washington International,
so it was even more rewarding that the two sisters from Barrington, Ill., returned home with top titles.

Abigail, 12, started out the week at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., Oct. 9-14, by outracing her peers in the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship on Wednesday evening.

Then Amelia, 16, won three out of four classes in the small junior, 16-17, division to earn the championship and grand junior championship aboard MVP.

In the children’s jumper championship, Abigail waited for 11 other riders to race around the jump-off course before she entered the ring, but her confidence paid off when she blazed to a time of 27.72 seconds aboard Calvin.

The narrow arena caused the jumps to come up quickly from the turns, and riders continually lost their pace or knocked rails. Taking every inside turn she could, Abigail knew that if she conquered the tight rollback she could win the class.

“I was a little nervous about the turn, but once I made it past that I was like ‘I’m probably going to win,’ ” she said.

Abigail has been practicing quick turns and bending lines with her trainer, Katie Kappler. “I was here last year and had just 1 time fault,” she said. “It definitely was a goal of mine to come back and have a clean round.”

She rode her other horse, Edward Himself, in the class but pulled a rail in the first round.

“Even though they are different horses, they’re the same kind of ride,” she said. “I think riding him [Edward Himself] first helped me when I went back with Calvin.”

Abigail hopes to follow in her sister Amelia’s footsteps and qualify for the WIHS Equitation Finals. “I was very close to qualifying this year on my equitation horse, Solitaire,” she said.

WIHS Junior Tidbits

•    Taylor Ann Adams, 13, Eads, Tenn., borrowed Mokoo Jumbee and won the WIHS Pony Equitation Finals. She’d ridden the large pony a handful of times earlier in the year. “I trust him. I know he wants to win as much as I do,” she said. “And I knew he’d come through for me.”

•    Jessica Springsteen, 14, Colts Neck, N.J., rocked at Washington, earning the small junior, 15 and under, championship with Sublime and the large junior, 15 and under, reserve championship with Tiziano. Aboard Tiziano, Springsteen also placed fourth in the $15,000 High Performance Hunter Classic.

•    After earning the small pony hunter championship at Washington last year, Meredith Darst, 9, Lebanon, Ohio, moved up to the mediums for the division championship again, this time aboard Megan Davis’ All About Me. This year’s title was even sweeter for “Mattie” since her mother, Mindy Darst, was on hand to watch in person as she’d missed last year’s show while battling cancer.

•    Addison Phillips, 17, a freshman at Harvard (Mass.), put her studies on hold to earn multiple wins at Washington, including the second year green championship and small junior, 16-17, reserve championship with Castle and the large junior, 16-17, championship with Mimosa. In addition, she placed second in the $20,000 International Open Jumper Charity Cup and had just 8 faults in the $100,000 Gerald R. Ford President’s Cup with Regina V.

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Meanwhile, Amelia made her presence known in the junior hunters, winning both classes the first day, including the handy, and clinching the under saddle for tricolor honors. She was especially pleased with MVP’s handy performance.

“The handy was a good class for him because it had a lot of turning, and he’s really good with the turns,” she said. “It’s difficult in here, but he’s a good indoors horse.”

It’s Schaub Again

Maria Schaub continued her fall winning streak by adding the Tad Coffin WIHS Equitation Classic victory to her resume on Saturday evening. This victory comes on the heels of her title of Monarch International North American Junior Equitation Champion at the Capital Challenge (Md.), two weeks earlier.

Aboard I Toon, Schaub, 17, topped the hunter phase with a 91.66 and held her overall lead with an 83.91 in the jumper phase.

In the final phase, when the top 10 riders switch horses and re-ride the jumper course, Schaub maintained her position with a smooth performance aboard Carolyn Curcio’s Valvert that earned an 88.66 for a final score of 264.24.

Even though Schaub had a rail late on the course with Valvert—at the second element of the in-and-out—her confident and stylish ride kept her at the head of the class.

Schaub was pleased that she switched horses with Curcio, a fellow student who rides out of Beacon Hill. Schaub was quick to point out, though, that even though Valvert is in her barn, she’d only flatted him once and had never jumped him.

From Calgary For Championships

Kara Chad has earned some major frequent flier miles this fall. The 10-year-old from Calgary, Alta., has been commuting from her home in western Canada to the fall East Coast indoor shows where she’s been racking up some impressive numbers there too.

After collecting three tricolors at the Capital Challenge (Md.) a week earlier, at Washington she added to her collection with the small pony hunter and grand pony hunter titles aboard My Little Dickens and the medium pony reserve championship with Heart’s Desire. In addition, she earned ribbons in the mediums aboard Brownwood Rock N Roll and in the larges with Picasso and Newsworthy.

All of these performances added up to the prestigious best child rider on a pony award.

“This is really great,” said Chad of her victories. “I like the arena here at Washington. It’s exciting and fun to be out here.”

Chad, who trains with Kelsey Whitaker in Calgary and Susie Schroer in the States, has now traveled to Washington three times. “The first year I was a novice, and the second year, last year, I felt more pressure. But this year was totally fun.”

Chad was thrilled with her performances aboard My Little Dickens, also known as Timmy, especially in the stakes class.

“He did really well on the first day, and I was just OK,” she said. “Then, on the second day we both came on strong.

“He’s really fun to ride,” she added of the 18-year-old Welsh (Cloe Olympian—Cloe Jumper). “We have the same personalities. We both want to do well, and we both try our best all of the time.”   

Tricia Booker
“I’m glad it turned out this way,” she said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to know the horse, because if I was going to win I wanted to do it the real way—that’s what this final is all about.”

Top Performances
Tina DiLandri’s consistent performances in all three phases was rewarded with the red ribbon. Like Schaub, DiLandri scored an 88.66 in the work-off; she switched horses with Molly Braswell and rode her mount The General.

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DiLandri moved up from third place to second after Braswell, the winner of the jumper phase, dropped two rails aboard DiLandri’s mount, RSVP, for a 72.

Tatiana Dzavik placed third aboard Littlefoot, while Jennifer Waxman was fourth aboard Falcon.

By virtue of her stellar performances at Washington, Waxman, 15, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, was named best child rider on a horse. She topped the large junior, 15 and under, division with Saloon and was reserve champion in the small junior, 15 and under, division with her 6-year-old Zoom.

“I’m so proud of him,” said Waxman of Zoom. “He’s really brave, and he hangs around Saloon a lot, so I don’t know if that rubs off on him. He went in like a pro. I’m so proud of both of them.”

DiLandri, who trains with Karen Healey Stables, didn’t leave the Verizon Center without her own blue ribbon, though.

She scorched around the jump-off in the $10,000 Senator’s Cup Junior Jumper class for the win and ultimately the championship. This is her first year in the junior jumper division, and the 15-year-old from Scottsdale, Ariz., was thrilled with her results aboard her mare Chanel 292.
 
The pair went first in the eight-horse jump-off, and their time held.

“I didn’t think it would hold up,” said DiLandri of her winning time. “But then when Clementine [Goutal] went I was shaking. She was so fast. This is my first year of doing the jumpers, and this [championship] is amazing. Doing this is kind of a dream.”

With Confidence Comes Wins

While most horses find the decorations and atmosphere of indoor showing scary, Kaitlin Porath’s O.C. actually enjoys the experience. Together they won the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship.

“He’s not very experienced indoors, but he handled it really well,” said Porath. “The more there is for him to look at the better he goes.”

She rode the 8-year-old Hanoverian to second position after the first round, scoring an 81. Even though she was nervous, she rode the first trip consistently in the narrow arena and nailed every jump.

“I really had to ride forward, and getting to the first jump was a little tricky, so I just tried to focus and keep my leg on,” she said.

Her second round score of an 86 propelled her to the top of the class over her close friend, Lindsay Portela. “I was really nervous going back in, but it would have been OK if she won because I’ve known her since I was little,” she said.

Porath lives in Charlotte, N.C., but will soon be moving to Camden, S.C., where she trains with Jack Towell and Liza Boyd of Finally Farm.

“Jack and Liza were so reassuring before I went in for my second round,” she said. “Riding with Jack is great—he’s so loving to his clients and the horses.”

The win comes after a year of hard work with O.C. Porath purchased the gelding last year from Sandy Ferrell and focused on preparing him for the indoor season. With the aid of Bruce Anderson, a horse whisperer, Porath spent many hours a week working on groundwork.

“I just have to thank Bruce for all his help; he doesn’t believe in using whips or anything. He’s all about communicating with the horse,” she said.

Porath rode her other horse, Zen, to fifth in the class and was also champion in the children’s hunter, 14 and under, division at Capital Challenge (Md.) a week earlier. When it comes to riding the two, she said, “They both are really different; with O.C. you have to carry a lot of pace, and Zen is the opposite.”

Beth Johnson

Tricia Booker and Beth Johnson

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