October 1, 2013--The USEF National Open Horse Trial Championship wrapped up Sunday morning after the Advanced stadium phase was delayed a day due to torrential rain. Run in conjunction with the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships presented by VTO Saddlery, national championship competition ran from September 26-29, at the Texas Rose Horse Park in Tyler, Texas. Eleven combinations vied for the Jack Le Goff Trophy awarded to the winner of the USEF National Open Horse Trial Championship.
The 2012 USEF National Open Horse Trial Reserve Champions Laine Ashker (Richmond, Va.) and Anthony Patch returned to claim top honors this year by means of solid performances all weekend. On Thursday, she and her own 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding began the championship tied for fourth place with a score of 31.5 in dressage. Ashker and Anthony Patch then blazed around Captain Mark Phillips' cross country course on Friday, adding 5.6 time penalties to their score. The time proved to be extremely influential. As not a single pair went double clear, that speedy trip moved Ashker into the lead.
After torrential thunderstorms delayed the final phase of competition until Sunday morning, Ashker and Anthony Patch had one of three double clear stadium rounds over Richard Jeffrey's course to be named the USEF National Open Horse Trial Championship with a final score of 37.1.
"It is an honor to win an award named for such a legend as Jack Le Goff," Ashker said of winning the championship trophy. "I only hope to live up to the reputation of others he taught."
"Al (Anthony Patch) is going on vacation for a while -doing some flat work. I am saving him for Kentucky with a goal of the 2014 WEG," she said with a hopeful smile as she explained what is next for the talented gelding.
The Reserve Champion title went to Krisiti Nunnink (Auburn, Calif.) and R-Star with a final score of 42.6. The pair started the competition off in third place following the dressage phase with a score of 29.0. Nunnink and her own 12-year-old Holsteiner mare made light work of the challenging cross country course but incurred 13.6 time penalties though still maintained their position on the leaderboard. A double clear round in Sunday's stadium phase allowed the pair to finish the championship in second place. With the help of a USEF Land Rover Competition Grant, the pair will head to the Les Estoiles De Pau CCI4* in France in a month, coming away from the championship on top form.
To learn more about the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships presented by VTO visit; http://useventing.com/programs/aec.