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Amelia McArdle Captures Region 4 Win for ASPCA Maclay

New York, NY – September 26, 2006 – The final two regions held their qualifiers this past weekend for the ASPCA Maclay National Championships. Region 1 (Northeast- CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT) had their qualifier at the Grand Fall Classic in Westbrook, CT. The Region 4 qualifier (Midwest- IL, IN, KY, MI, OH) was at the Kentucky National in Lexington. Zazou Hoffman of Santa Monica, CA, won Region 1, while Amelia McArdle of Barrington Hills, IL, won Region 4.

The ASPCA Maclay class has been held since 1933, and its winners are some of the biggest names in equestrian sport. Previous winners include: William Steinkraus in 1941, Frank Chapot (1948), George Morris (1952), Leslie Burr (1972), Stacia Klein Madden in 1987, and Nicole Shahinian Simpson in 1992. The ASPCA Maclay National Championship will be held this year during the Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament on November 1-5, 2006 and is produced by the National Horse Show Association.

McArdle trains with Katie Kappler and rode Aztec, a ten year old Dutch gelding that she got this winter. “He really makes everything smooth,” McArdle noted. “He’s my first all-around equitation horse.” This was McArdle’s third top ten finish at the Maclay Regional, but her first win. “It’s the best I’ve ever done,” she remarked.

The 15 year old rider competed against 48 other entries in the qualifier. “The top 12 in the qualifier were really good. I thought they were solid, tough competition,” McArdle acknowledged. “The course was good. It didn’t make anyone fall apart, but it sorted out riders.” McArdle was called back on top after the over fences phase. After the flat phase, she was named the winner without a work-off. “It was nice to have it over and not have to worry about more errors that could have occurred.”

McArdle has qualified for all four equitation finals this year and will compete in the Small Junior 15 & Under Hunters on MVP. She is looking forward to riding in the National Championships in November. “I feel like I have more of a chance than I had in past years,” she revealed. “I feel strong and that I have a good chance of doing well. I’ve never been this consistent before in the equitation.”

Fourteen year old Zazou Hoffman had her best Maclay regional finish as well. She and her father flew out on the red-eye flight from California for her to compete in the Region 1 qualifier. Hoffman shows in Region 1 because her trainers, Missy Clark and John Brennan, live in Vermont. Hoffman rode Littlefoot, who she has been partnered with for over a year. She had plenty of competition experience on him last summer, and they competed in the equitation finals. Hoffman must balance living in California and training on the East Coast, but she takes it all in stride. Hoffman commented, “Plus, I don’t have an equitation horse at home in California!”

About Littlefoot, she said, “He felt really good this weekend. He was going perfectly and felt well-prepared and happy to be there. I think he really likes that show.”

Hoffman rode against 73 other riders in Region 1, which was the region with the most competitors in the country. Hoffman was not fazed by the sheer amount of riders in her class. “I wasn’t very intimidated because I’ve been showing at that type of competition all year. It makes me feel confident knowing that I can put in a good round and be happy with myself.”

Before her class, Hoffman faced some nerves. “I really wanted to go to Syracuse this year,” she confirmed. “After my jumping round, I was confident that I was in good shape.” She was called back on top after the jumping phase, had a solid flat phase, and was named the winner without a test. “There was no test, which was nice because there was no chance for me to move down,” Hoffman said. “It would have been fun to do a test though, because you know you’re already qualified at that point. But, I’m not complaining!”

“Hopefully, I’ll improve at Syracuse this year,” Hoffman went on to say. She noted a few points that her trainers have stressed with her riding that will help at the National Championships. “It’s the experience I’ve gotten since the Maclay Championships last year that helped me this weekend. Missy and John want me to feel confident, be more aggressive with my ride in the ring, and get done what we planned.”

Photo Credit: Zazou Hoffman and Littlefoot, winners of Region 1 ASPCA Maclay qualifier. Photo © 2006 Jennifer Wood/PhelpsSports.com.


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