Reddick, Fla.—Nov. 17
Arden Wildasin was in disbelief as she watched her name move up the leaderboard one placing at a time during today’s show jumping. As top riders like cross-country leader Leslie Law (Zick Zack) and Phillip Dutton (Fernhill PickPocket) dropped rails, she found herself atop the leaderboard of the CCI3*-L at the Ocala Jockey Club International with Il Vici.
“I still can’t believe it. It’s going to be a great ride home,” she said. “The cross-country [yesterday] was one of my best rounds on him. I was so in the moment. We were just speaking together. He saved me in there [today] multiple times. Hard work and practice definitely pays off. I am so thrilled to have him. Riding him is very special. Every single day he wants to try.”
Wildasin rides as an amateur after a successful young rider career. She finished second at the Jersey Fresh CCI4*-L (New Jersey) with the 15-year-old Australian Thoroughbred (Galileo—Ladyeri, Salieri), but after a dressage score that left her without a qualifying score at the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International CCI4*-L (Maryland) in October, she rerouted here.
“He saw the Jumbotron in dressage and he didn’t like the horse in the sky,” she said. “So I said, let’s end the year off strong and get our confidence back.”
Wildasin’s had the gelding since he was 7 after finding him in Australia. He’d gone advanced with Shane Rose.
“I need to learn so much more, but he’s been there, and he’s like, ‘Arden, you did that. OK, I’ll cover you, but remember, you did that!’ He doesn’t want to hold it against you, bu when everything works together it shines,” she said.
Wildasin gets help from Matt Collins, a show jumper, at home in Aiken, South Carolina.
“I’m still an amateur, and I plan to stay an amateur if I can do it with the support of mom and dad,” she said. “I just want to keep on learning and wherever I want to go, it’s less pressure so I can actually learn and focus and understand how to progress and always wanting to progress.”
Follow along at COTH.com all weekend for more from the event and check out the Dec. 2 print edition of the Chronicle for more.