Abigail McArdle and Chuck Berry 8 Feeling Funky After Winning Tryon Challenge

Abigail McArdle and Chuck Berry 8. PC: Sportfot
 Abigail McArdle and Chuck Berry 8 have been right in the running the past two weeks they’ve been at Tryon with loads of top ten finishes, but this past weekend they finally scored the CSI 3* win they’ve been hunting when they clinched the TIEC $35,000 1.45m Tryon Challenge.

The pair went clear in round one and finished their jump-off round in 42.931 seconds to just edge Alexis Trosch and Opaline Z, who passed the wire in 43.699 seconds. Third went to Erynn Ballard and Thalyz Z, who came out of the jump-off in 45.063.

Six riders of the 38 who started managed to go clear in the first round. Two riders missed the cut-off because of a time fault.

“Having the class on the grass field made it a completely different atmosphere for us. [Course designer] Oscar Soberon has been really tough this week. The courses have been difficult and you can tell by the number of horses in each jump-off,” she explained. “Rails came down throughout the course, which meant you really had to be on your game to finish with a clear round.”

McArdle, a notoriously fast rider who always is near the top of the standings, has had a great two weeks of competition so far at TIEC, collecting numerous second and third place finishes with Chuck Berry 8, a 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Chacco-Blue x Watzmann) owned by Plain Bay Sales.

Alexis Trosch and Opaline Z
“I ended up going later in the jump-off and was able to watch Alexis take his horses around the course. I saw the lines, the combinations, and how they were riding,” she commented. “I know my horse moves quickly across the ground and I added a bit at the beginning, but think that I really made up the time at the end of the course over the oxer and after the skinny, leaving out more of the gallop strides.”

Chuck Berry 8 is a newer mount for McArdle, added to the Plain Bay Sales team after the winter season in Wellington, FL. McArdle’s goal is to compete the talented gelding in grand prix classes by the end of the year, but has taken a methodical approach to his development.

Erynn Ballard and Thalys Z
 “He’s a ten-year-old and he’s really turning into a top horse. After this we’ll head back to our home base in Virginia for a few weeks before heading to Michigan to do some of the FEI classes up there,” explained McArdle, as she discussed Plain Bay’s schedule and her plans with Chuck Berry 8.

“We’ve been trying to develop him a bit slower, doing the 1.40m and some of the Under 25 Grand Prix classes, but I’m hoping to be able to move him up to be a grand prix horse this summer. I had a lot of second place finishes last week on this horse and it feels great to finally get the win,” she added.

Abigail McArdle and Chuck Berry 8 in their presentation ceremony.
Collecting her first international win at TIEC this season on the Grass Complex, McArdle expressed her thoughts on the condition of the field and the important flexibility it provides the show, offering riders an opportunity to test their horses in a different environment.

“I thought the footing on the field held up great with all of the rain that we’ve had here in the evenings this week. The base feels awesome and there’s great drainage out there,” detailed McArdle. “It’s been great and it adds a totally different dynamic to the competition.”

Tryon Challenge Results, Top 20