Hilary McNerney went two-for-two on Friday night, claiming the second round of the $100,000 USEF Under 25 National Championship at the CP National Horse Show in Lexington, KY. It was a plan she hatched a year ago.
“I remember last year I was watching this on the livestream,” said McNerney. “I was like, ‘My goal is to get here and to win a class.’ Yesterday I was able to check that off my list and today is just the cherry on top.”
Riding Z Acodate DDL, the North Carolina resident was one of eight to advance to the jump-off from an original starting field of 24 and one of two to finish double clear. Last to go, she and her 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare bested Abigail McArdle’s time (38.16) by two nearly seconds (36.430).
“To be honest, I’m still in shock. It’s always a little nerve racking to be the last one in. I wanted to focus on riding well and riding the course and not getting too excited, but I can’t help myself,” said McNerney.
“I was really happy with the fact that we got into the jump-off.”
McNerney has been partnered with Z Acodate DDL for less than a year.
“My horse knows when it’s a jump-off and gives it her all. I just got her in February. She’s done some big classes and she knows what she’s doing. I showed her this summer over in Europe. We’ve done a couple of 2* and came in second a lot so hopefully these wins are making up for it,” continued McNerney.
Come Sunday’s final, they’ll be looking to end their U25 season on a three-peat.
“For Sunday, I’m focusing on riding well and doing the best that I can do,” she said. “I have to trust my horse. I have an amazing horse and I just want to enjoy the ride.”
Catch the USEF U25 National Championship final on USEFNetwork.com at 10am EST.