Traverse City, Michigan, USA. – Aug. 4, 2019 – Offering the greatest prize money to date of the 2019 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, LLC, plus a chance to add valuable world-ranking points to their names, the $133,700 Staller Grand Traverse Grand Prix CSI 3* served as the finale event of Week V of the circuit. Besting the skilled field of nearly 40 horse-and-athlete pairs, Abigail McArdle (USA) and Victorio 5 led the victory gallop as the quickest double-clear entry of the contest. Additional accolades included Ali Wolff being awarded the prestigious M. Michael Meller Style of Riding Award, Samantha Kasowitz and Tixie Des Hayettes topping the $7,500 Pinecone Farm HBWM SJHF High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, and Aristea Santoro aboard Idokus winning the $2,500 East Wind FarmChildren’s Jumper Classic.
The premier class of the week, the $133,700 Staller Grand Traverse Grand Prix CSI 3* attracted some of the best international challengers to the Grand Prix Ring at Flintfields Horse Park on Sunday. Testing their abilities over course designer Manuel Esparza’s (MEX) track, ten partnerships successfully jumped the first pattern fault-free to advance to the jump-off, including McArdle, Mark Bluman (COL), Tanner Korotkin (USA), Briley Koerner (USA), Sydney Shulman (ISR), Santiago Lambre (USA), Sloane Coles (USA), Rachel Cornacchia (CAN), Schuyler Riley (USA) and Catherine Tyree (USA).
When eventual winner McArdle and Victorio Equine Group LLC’s Victorio 5 took their turn in the jump-off towards the end of the start list, the lead had already changed hands a number of times, with the current quickest pair, Riley and Katherine Gallagher’s Robin de Ponthual, sitting on a clear time of 38.080 seconds.
Blowing away the competition, McArdle and the 13-year-old bay Hannoverian stallion (Uccello x Graf Top) laid on the gas to break the beam fault-free in 35.580 seconds, advancing to the head of the leaderboard by a wide margin. Though Coles and The Springledge Group’s Chippendale’s Boy CZ gave it a valiant effort, they would finish in second position with a zero-fault time of 36.150 seconds, and Riley and Robin De Ponthual claimed third overall.
With McArdle’s win, she has propelled herself to the top of the standings towards the new $25,000 CaptiveOne Open Jumper Rider Bonus, which will be awarded at the conclusion of Week VI. During Week IV of the series, McArdle and Victorio 5 won the $35,700 Devoucoux Welcome Stake CSI 2*, so Sunday’s win upped their FEI victories at GLEF to two, helping McArdle’s place rise in the rankings. Points towards the bonus are calculated based on prize money earned throughout the six-week festival in Open Jumper classes 1.45m and above, and fans and athletes can follow along and check the $25,000 CaptiveOne Open Jumper Rider Bonus leaderboard, posted on www.greatlakesequestrianfestival.com, to track their favorite riders and see who is leading in the standings.
Abigail McArdle (USA) & Victorio 5 during the awards ceremony
Abigail McArdle (USA) – $133,700 Staller Grand Traverse Grand Prix CSI 3* Winner
On Victorio 5:
“This is a partner I started with actually last year at this show. We started showing FEI At the end of the summer. He was the one that won the U25 at the beginning of the year. He has been super consistent for me and he is such a good horse, I can’t say how great of a horse he is for me.”
On her grand prix strategy:
“I wasn’t having such a great week and I woke up this morning and I said, ‘You know what, I am going to win this grand prix.’ Sure enough, we won the grand prix. For the first round, I walked my plan and I wanted to be really strong. I watched a couple people have a bobble going into the triple bar, so I wanted to be really strong there, pick my places to slow down and bring it home clean, especially by the gate – that was a tough line. After going clean in the first round, it was a bit of a running jump-off. You had to come a little bit slow to number one because you had to get that inside cut, which was difficult, and you had to try to be as smooth as possible. Then there was a spin-back, and I’ve actually been working on tight turns with this horse so that was fantastic for me. I had a little bit of a rub in the combination and I looked back like an idiot as I was galloping and thought ‘I’m still clear!’, so I kept going and was actually able to put a little bit of a curve in the eight strides and really just gallop that coming home, which was the fastest, for sure.”
“The crowd is fantastic and they are all really into it cheering during the round and after in the prize-giving. They were all waving and it was really, really awesome. I think that atmosphere make a lot for the different horse shows. They do a great job here. I thought the course was wonderful today. Ten clear was just perfect, and it’s really great. I love this show.”
Results – $133,700 Staller Grand Traverse Grand Prix CSI3*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. Abigail McArdle (USA) & Victorio 5 – 0 / 0 / 35.580
2. Sloane Coles (USA) & Chippendale’s Boy DZ – 0 / 0 / 36.150
3. Schuyler Riley (USA) & Robin de Ponthual – 0 / 0 / 38.080
4. Rachel Cornacchia (CAN) & Valkyrie de Talma – 0 / 0 / 38.590
5. Catherine Tyree (USA) & Enjoy Louis – 0 / 0 / 38.960
6. Mark Bluman (COL) & Cartouche – 0 / 4 / 35.890
7. Santiago Lambre (MEX) & Cetano Van Aspergem Z – 0 / 4 / 36.480
8. Sydney Shulman (ISR) & Azilis du Mesnil – 0/ 4 / 36.590
9. Tanner Korotkin (USA) & Armagedon – 0 / 4 / 39.860
10. Briley Koerner (USA) & Dante – 0 / 8 / 39.890
11. Mattias Tromp (USA) & Eyecatcher – 4 / 64.850
12. Ilan Bluman (COL) & J-Boston S.E. – 4 / 66.660
For more information, please visit greatlakesequestrianfestival.com.
Source: Press release by Elaine Wessel / Phelps Media Group for GLEF – Great Lakes Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography
Categories: CSI 3*