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Press Release


Abigail McArdle and Comeback

Abigail McArdle and Comeback

Abigail McArdle and Contessina Della Caccia

Eugenio Garza and Victer Finn DH Z

Alise Oken and Hitchcock VD Broekkant

Olivia Chowdry won the $5,000 NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic with her own Barbou De Ruet.

Click on the above photos for details and a high resolution version.

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Abigail McArdle Captures Top Two Spots in $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Week Five

Written by: Taylor Renner
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2016-08-13

Traverse City, Mich. – Aug. 13, 2016 – Grey was the theme for Saturday at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF). As overcast skies set the scene for the day's highlighted jumper event, the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by the Moyer family, Abigail McArdle finished with the top two placings aboard two grey 8-year-old mounts owned by Plain Bay Sales.
"We got both Comeback and Contessina Della Caccia during the middle of Florida this year," said McArdle. "They're both sales horses for Adam Prudent and Plain Bay Sales. Comeback — we bought him as a Children's Jumper. I decided to school him and I thought, 'This is a heck of a horse, it's not a Children's Jumper anymore.' So we've just been bringing him up slowly, but he's still green. He's going to be a super, super top young rider horse for someone.
"Contessina Della Caccia is so talented and extremely scopey," continued McArdle. "I think she could go to the Olympics with a professional. Either way, I'm blessed to have both of these horses right now."
The U25 Grand Prix series continues to be a popular class among young riders who have aspirations to be more competitive in higher-level international competitions in the future. It's a chance for young riders to showcase their talent in the show jumping sport and give them their first experience competing under FEI regulations.
Michel Vaillancourt designed a technical first round course, which only saw four of the original 15 entries, two of which were McArdle, finish with no faults to return for the jump-off.
McArdle was the first to jump-off and successfully navigated the short course faultlessly aboard Comeback, a Belgian Warmblood gelding, setting the pace to beat at 32.583 seconds.
Alise Oken and Hi Hopes Farm, LLC's Hitchcock VD Broekkant were next to jump-off, but an unfortunate refusal at the second to last fence cost them a total of 13 faults, finishing in 50.501 seconds.
Friday's $35,000 Welcome Stake CSI2* winner, Eugenio Garza, followed Oken and rode El Milagro's Victer Finn DH Z to a 4-fault finish in 35.720 seconds.
With only McArdle left to go with her second mount, and still in the lead aboard Comeback, the 22-year-old rider piloted Contessina Della Caccia, a Selle Français mare, to another double clear round in 38.055 seconds to also take second place, knocking Garza into third place and Oken into fourth place.
"I had to go early with my first grey so I stuck to my plan," said McArdle. "I had specific numbers for each of my horses. The plan in the jump-off was to really go for it because I had to go first on Comeback. After seeing that Lisee had a bobble and Eugenio had a rail, I decided I still wanted to go pretty fast on my second horse, just in case I had a rail so I could still be second. I was still a little cautious though because I like to be clear.
"I loved the courses," continued McArdle. "I think it was interesting. That inside turn — there was a leave-out in the first line and an inside cut, which was obviously the winning track and what I did. Then there was a nice double to the line coming home. I think it was suited for both of my horses and they performed beautifully."
McArdle has never competed at GLEF until this week, and was prompted to attend the event this year due to the addition of the new FEI-rated series.
"I absolutely love it here," said McArdle. "I think the ring and the facility are great. I love that they're offering FEI classes, that's really nice. It's a fun atmosphere being on Lake Michigan.
"We'd heard great things about it from different people from the Midwest, and we were very attracted to the FEI classes here," continued McArdle. "We're going to be here all three weeks and we'd like to come back again next year if they have FEI classes."
Earlier in the day, the Grand Prix Ring at Flintfields Horse Park played host to 15 horse and rider combinations vying for the blue ribbon in the $5,000 NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic.
Only three were able to jump clear around Vaillancourt's challenging first round track to move on to the jump-off. However, it was Olivia Chowdry and her own Barbou De Ruet, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding, who were able to produce the only double clear round of the class for first place in 39.033 seconds.
"[Barbou De Ruet] a really fun, kind of quirky horse," said Chowdry. "I've had him since June of last year. He's been amazing and has really surprised me. Every show he gets better. He's a trier; he really wants to be good. He's careful and he's quick, but he's quirky. He's got his tricks and he likes to toss his head and squeal.
"He was great today," continued Chowdry. "The weather was a little crazy, but he was right where I needed him to be today. I usually show him in some bigger classes, but with it being our first week here and raining today, we decided we would do the lows today. He was super. He's just wants to go faster and jump higher every time."
Maria Yzerman and Player De Brocelia, owned by Les Cabrioles, LLC, finished in a faster time than Chowdry, tripping the timers in 38.115 seconds, but a collection of 4 faults in the jump-off garnered her second place honors. Duncan Peters and his own In Our Time rounded out the top three with 8 faults in the jump-off and finishing in a time of 43.014 seconds.
"This is my first time at GLEF," said Chowdry. "We're so happy. The horses are so happy here. The footing is fantastic. Even given the rain today, the footing has stood up really well. I felt really secure in the ring. The management's awesome. It's a really fun show!"
Jumper competition for Week Five concludes on Sunday with the main event, the $50,000 Grand Prix of Williamsburg CSI2*, at 2 p.m. in the Grand Prix Ring.
Week Six of GLEF runs through Aug. 17–21 at the Flintfields Horse Park and will continue to welcome riders and thrill spectators over the next three weeks throughout the second series of competition, which runs Aug. 10–28.
Series Two kicked off on Aug. 10 and will run through Aug. 28, featuring three weeks of hunter and jumper competition with a FEI CSI2* rating Week Five and Six and a FEI CSI3* rating during Week Seven, culminating in the $100,000 Grand Traverse Grand Prix on Sunday, Aug. 28. Hunter highlights include the Glory Days Farm, LLC USHJA National Hunter Derby, which will take place each Sunday through the end of the second series.
Horses are not the only form of entertainment lined up for this year's Great Lakes Equestrian Festival. The festival has teamed up with top musicians and entertainers from around the country to offer fun-filled evenings for this year's concert and dinner series.
Week Six will host the Kari Lynch Band and farm BBQ dinner by on Friday, Aug. 19, at 6 p.m. at the Flintfields Horse Park, while Week Seven will headline the Billy Strings Bluegrass Closing Party by at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28.
The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival is set on 88 beautiful acres and showcases five world-class competition rings in addition to spacious schooling rings. The property features don't stop there as the park offers convenient onsite campgrounds and weekly nights of entertainment for a truly unique attendee experience.
For more information or to view schedules, please visit or


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