LEXINGTON, (Phelps) – Eighteen-year-old Abigail McArdle of Barrington, IL, proved to be unstoppable during the 2012 Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC). With her talented mount Cosma 20, the pair laid down five clear rounds in three days to capture the Individual Junior Show Jumping Gold Medal at the prestigious event. This exciting victory came just one week after finishing the Spruce Meadows Tournament with six wins to their name, showing a bright future for this duo.
“It was really great to fulfill this accomplishment; it\’s such an honor and I\’m beyond happy,” expressed McArdle. “I had a lot of pressure going in, everyone expected me to do well. I really had to keep a cool head and do what needed to be done.”
McArdle and Cosma 20 started off the competition with a winning round in the first speed phase, topping the second place finisher by almost five seconds with the rails intact. As they moved on to the Team Competition, McArdle and Cosma 20 helped Zone 5 win the Silver Medal with two more clear rounds. The real pressure came the next morning, where two more rounds stood between them and the Individual Gold Medal.
“I thrive under pressure and so does my horse,” explained McArdle. “It was a matter of holding it together and not doing anything stupid. I was nervous but I have a lot of confidence in my horse and I knew we could do it.”
They made it look easy. Once again they tackled the championship tracks, leaving each rail in place and finishing with an incredible score of zero faults. McArdle and Cosma 20 returned to the ring at the top of the podium for their Gold Medal and led the Junior Show Jumping victory gallop.
“I know Cosma so well now that it seemed easy,” smiled McArdle. “It’s nice to have a horse that round after round was building and doing better. She’s built for this type of competition, she’s hot and has a lot of energy, and that’s what you need to jump five clear rounds.”
McArdle added, “Having a great circuit at Spruce Meadows and then coming here made it seem a little bit easier. I had so much experience jumping the water and there were no surprises with the courses.”
Cosma 20 and McArdle will now take a well-deserved break before showing again at the Hampton Classic and then finishing the year at Indoors. The Individual Gold Medal has marked a huge accomplishment in McArdle’s career, and she looks forward to taking on new challenges with Cosma 20 in the future.