WELLINGTON, Fla. — New York riders finished second and third overall in the $100,000 USEF U25 Show Jumping National Championship at the Holiday & Horses Show which concluded on Dec. 3.
The U25 athletes competed in the $25,000 two-round competition over Anthony D'Ambrosio’s two challenging tracks in the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s International Arena as the final leg of the national championship.
Abigail McArdle, of Barrington, Ill., and Victorio 5 claimed top honors after three days of competition against talented combinations.
Mattias Tromp, 24, and Eyecatcher finished as the reserve national champions with 5 penalties after being hot on the winners’ heels throughout the three days. Tromp, of North Salem, N.Y. and Beyaert Farm Inc’s nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare were third on Thursday and fifth on Friday. On Sunday, they had a rail in the first round, but kept the pressure on by going clear in the second round.
“I think this division gives the opportunity to younger riders to compete in a championship format, and I think later on in our careers it is going to be very important if you go somewhere like the World Cup Finals or other championships,” Tromp said of the benefits of this national championship. “I also think it is a great place for us to develop as riders, and some younger grand prix horses often fit very nicely into this division. It is also nice to not go up against McLain [Ward] and Margie [Engle] and Kent [Farrington] every time you go into the ring.”
Samantha Cohen, 17, and Carmen clinched third place on five penalties with a slower time than Tromp and Eyecatcher. Cohen, of New York City and her 11-year-old KWPN mare had an impressive showing in their first U25 national championship. They won Thursday’s competition, then tied for seventh place on Friday. They went clear in Sunday’s first round but had an unlucky four faults in the second round.
“I did a lot of equitation earlier on in my junior career that has certainly helped me in terms of finals,” Cohen said of how she handles pressure. “Sometimes pressure helps me actually, sometimes I think it helps me ride better. I try to block everything out and just focus on me and my horse. When I am on a horse like [Carmen], pressure never seems to be bad.”
Find out more about the $100,000 USEF U25 Show Jumping National Championship and the Holiday & Horses Show.
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