Tiffany Foster 4th with Northern Light

Abigail McArdle (USA) won the $37,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 10 riding Victorio 5 on Thursday, March 12, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

WEF continues at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) through March 29, 2020, with 12 consecutive weeks of world-class competition and $13 million dollars on offer. The tenth week of competition, sponsored by Horseware Ireland, runs through March 15 and is recognized by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) as a CSI3*. Remaining highlights of the week include the $137,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3* on Saturday afternoon, and the $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic on Sunday.

Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) set courses for 82 horses with 18 jumping clear over the opening track. After eight riders elected not to return, the stage was set for a 10-horse jump-off. With only fractions of a second to spare, McArdle stole the win with a blistering jump-off time of 41.40 seconds.

“For sure this is the best season I’ve ever had in my life – and maybe will ever have,” said McArdle of her consistency throughout the WEF season. “I’m just so happy, and I’m so lucky to be riding such a nice horse.”

McArdle has been competing Victorio 5, a 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion (Uccello x Graf Top), since the end of 2018 with their success culminating this year. “Obviously, it doesn’t happen right away,” she said. “He’s always been a good horse. He’s always jumped clean rounds, but getting to the point where I feel like I can walk in and win a big track like this has taken time. I’d say it’s taken that long just to mesh with him. Now we’re thinking the same, and it’s a good feeling.”

Of the track, McArdle noted, “It was very technical, but I thought it was a great course for him as soon as I walked in. Basically, everything rode to plan in the first round. In the jump-off, I actually wouldn’t say I even went totally all out. I just wanted to be the neatest I could. I wanted to be clear but not too crazy, and obviously that paid off.”

McArdle will now focus Victorio 5 on the $137,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3*.

The runner-up position ended in a tie between Alonso Valdez Prado (PER) riding his own Acuero and Beezie Madden (USA) aboard Abigail Wexner’s Garant. They both stopped the clock at 41.90 seconds. Canada’s Tiffany Foster took fourth on Northern Light in 41.96 seconds for owner Artisan Farms LLC, while Lauren Tisbo (USA) capped the top five riding Casco 11, owned by Tequestrian Farms LLC, in 43.09 seconds.

Also earning wins in the International Arena on Thursday, Samantha Schaefer (USA) topped the $8,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m riding Zaza Z, owned by McLain Ward, and Victoria Colvin (USA) claimed the Spy Coast Farm Six-Year-Old Young Jumper riding her own Emilion Manciais.

Final Results: $37,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 10 CSI3*

1. VICTORIO 5: 2006 Hanoverian stallion by Uccello x Graf Top

ABIGAIL MCARDLE (USA), Victorio Equine Group LLC: 0/0/41.40

2. ACUERO: 2010 Hanoverian gelding by Acorado x Citoka

ALONSO VALDEZ PRADO (PER), Alonso Valdez Prado: 0/0/41.90

2. GARANT: 2011 KWPN gelding by Warrant x C’est La Vie

ELIZABETH MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/0/41.90

4. NORTHERN LIGHT: 2011 SWB mare by Plot Blue x Contender

TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC and Tiffany Foster: 0/0/41.96

5. CASCO 11: 2009 Holsteiner gelding by Caspar x Colman

LAUREN TISBO (USA), Tequestrian Farms LLC: 0/0/43.09