After retiring her prized horse, Hilary McNerney wins with a new horse

Content of the article

When a rider has to end a partnership with a successful horse, it’s chicken heart. But when you’re able to fill that void with new blood, there’s nothing but newfound excitement.

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

Hilary McNerney feels that when she looks at her 14-year-old mare, Astilbe.

“Chuck 27 got injured and is retiring,” McNerney explained. “It carried me over the last six years, through my first three stars, five stars.

“She (Astilbe) was slightly injured in November, took time off and we are leaving. It intensified in Vancouver (early June), started at meter-50. Its goal is to do speed events, two-star, three-star grand prix. But now we’re doing five stars and it’s filling up nicely.

Content of the article

In fact, Astilbe looked quite at home on Friday at the Spruce Meadows North American Show Jumping Tournament, winning an 11-horse jump in the $40,000 ATCO Cup in thrilling fashion. The last pair to follow on the course, McNerney and her mount needed to beat the time of 44.39 – which was held by both Australian Katie Laurie and Canadian Mario Deslauriers – and that’s exactly what she did. done, crossing the finish in 43.92.

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

“It was crazy that those two were tied,” McNerney smiled as he described his plan. “Honestly, it was going as fast as it could get. He is a very fast horse. If I put her in the right place a bit, we can get away. When we first got her, her goal was to be a speed horse, to teach me how to go fast, and she definitely does. There was the option in the front row to do the nine and she let herself go easily. Then erase the lean and go.

“Going last, you kind of know what you have to do, so that’s one of the benefits of being last. A little hard at the end also because of the pressure. But that’s actually fine, because you stick to that plan and do your best, hoping it works out. Hope the luck is in your favour.

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

Irishmen Jordan Coyle and Picador finished fourth.

McNerney, 30, started riding Astilbe late last year.

“My trainer Kent Farrington told me this horse has a lot of heart and she teaches you to fight for it,” she said. “It’s great to ride a horse like this. She’s a fighter.

McNerney went to high school in Chicago — Farrington is also a Chicago native — and graduated from Duke University. After graduating seven years ago, she decided to try the sport full-time. Her association with Farrington, one of the best riders in the world, has been integral to her progression as a rider.

“My mom introduced me to Kent and Kent introduced me to this world, honestly,” she noted. “Kent is a great trainer, great program, great horses. »

Advertisement 5

Content of the article

It has also become a staple of this establishment over the years.

“I’ve always loved coming to Spruce,” she admitted. “I bring six or seven horses. We come here every year. It’s the best show, the jogging, the grass… you become a better rider, the horses become better horses. I’m a big Spruce fan. »

Farrington, himself, was front and center during the evening class in the international ring, as he won the Scotiabank Cup at 1.50m and $75,000. There were only three rider-horse pairs to qualify for the jump-off and only two riders, as Farrington had two mares with which to attempt to win the competition: Orafina, 10, and the venerable Gazelle, 16. Katherine Strauss of Southampton, NY and Fair Field were the only other opponents.

Advertising 6

Content of the article

First, Farrington and Orafina calmly and coolly set a clean standard of 44.61 to be beaten by Strauss. But she and Fair Field clinched a rail and had to settle for second place. Farrington opted out of riding Gazelle in the jump-off, thus taking third place as well.

These two runners went mano-a-mano at the national tournament a few weeks ago, with Farrington and Orafina beating Strauss and Fair Field in the RBC Capital Markets Cup class.

The $500,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup grand prize is the focal point of Saturday’s activity. Last year’s winners, Canadians Deslauriers and Bardolina 2, are there to defend, as is three-time winner Farrington.

    Advertisement 1

    Leave a Comment