Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch made the most of their return to Advanced level competition at Millbrook this weekend, producing a double clear show jumping round today to hold their overnight lead and clinch the win on a 34.5. This is Al’s first Advanced since the Fair Hill CCI3* last year, where they finished fifth, and such a strong showing at Millbrook this weekend has to have Laine feeling very confident about how Al will perform at Pau in October.
Laine, a member of the EN guest blogging team, explained her rationale behind deciding not to run Rolex back in April, and her decision to “save Pegasus’ wings” seems to be paying off. Al made mincemeat of a 50-horse division that contained some of the top horses in the U.S. right now, and this is a big win for Laine, who’s been vocal about her dream to compete Al at the World Equestrian Games next year.
Sally Cousins has also made it clear that she’s aiming Ideal Contini for the World Equestrian Games in Normandy. They jumped clear today and came home with one time fault to clinch second place in the Advanced division on a 41.1. Taz has had a very solid spring and summer campaign, and Sally is looking to syndicate the horse with her eye on Normandy next year.
Our own Kate Samuels and Nyls du Terroir dropped a rail to finish in third place on a 44.1, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been rooting for them all weekend. Kate works incredibly hard, and Nyls is quite the character; it’s hard not to like this pair. They moved up from 11th after dressage to tie for second overnight after a rockstar trip across the country. Kate has already uploaded her helmet cam from yesterday; look for it tomorrow on EN as a featured video post.
Buck Davidson jumped double clear on Petite Flower — one of his many mounts in the Advanced — to finish in fourth place, while Kim Severson and Fernhill Fearless also jumped double clear to finish in fifth place. This is Kim’s first Advanced mount in many years, and it’s great to see her back at the highest levels of the sport.
Sally Cousins gets a major shoutout for moving all the way up from 36th after dressage to finish in sixth on Joule; they had the fastest cross-country trip of the day yesterday. Holly Payne and Madeline also had an excellent weekend, moving up from 23rd after dressage to finish in eighth place. As a targeted CN for 2013, the FEI considers the Advanced division at Millbrook as the equivalent of a CIC3*, so this weekend has big implications going forward. Stay tuned for more from Millbrook. Go eventing!