When Chuck Berry 8 arrived at Abigail McArdle’s farm in Florida this past spring, the German import came with a few quirks.
“In Germany, he was so hot they said they never rode him on the flat, they just lunged him and then he would go in the ring,” said McArdle. “And he was winning before!”
The Virginia-based rider had her work cut out for her. Her first order of business Back in the USA: acclimatize the ten-year-old Hannoverian gelding to being worked under saddle every day.
“Always with new horses it takes time,” said McArdle. “You’d like to get them here and start winning, but it takes time. You have to form a partnership. Sometimes you get [to the show] and you find out their weaknesses, figure out what you have to train.”
Her focus on flatwork in the Wee Wee Hours is been paying off. Since June, McArdle has collected seven top two FEI finishes on her Brown Eyed Handsome Man.
“He’s really stepping up his level,” she said.
“I’ve seen a huge change in [My Ding-A-Ling] from Florida, bringing him home to Virginia. I think our breakthrough was at Upperville and we’ve just been going up and up since then.”
On Wednesday, they Let It Rock at the American Gold Cup, logging a first place finish at the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.40m Jumper CSI4*. McArdle and the bay gelding bested a field of 78 international horses and riders on the pristine grass Grand Prix Field at Old Salem Farm in New York.
“I planned to go out there and win it today and he really executed that perfectly for me,” said McArdle.
As for Chuck Berry 8, You Can Never Tell whether they’ll be Too Much Monkey Business.
“He’s very quirky, but we love him to death,” said McArdle. “He has a lot of personality so that’s been really fun to get to know.”
USA’s Amber Harte took second and third place in the Douglas Elliman 1.40m Jumper CSI4* aboard Austria 2 and Cafino, respectively.