Raeford, NC - The USEF National Single Horse Championship concluded Sunday afternoon at the Carolina Horse Park, with the cones phase shaking up the final standings. Time faults and balls down proved extremely costly for competitors all day at the Southern Pines CDE, which hosted the USEF National Championship. Sterling Graburn seized the lead in the Single Horse division during Friday's dressage and refused to relent over Richard Nicoll's challenging marathon and cones courses to produce a wire-
Graburn (Georgetown, KY) held his nerve and drove a determined, confident cones phase on the Twin Gates Farm Derby Field to claim his second USEF National Champion title. Driving Larry Denny's Ulano, Graburn added three faults for a knock down and just .43 time penalties over Sunday's course to complete on a score of 119.76.
"It's always better to be double clear. I had one mistake that cost me the time fault and one ball down but he drove really well. I felt really good coming into today's cones." Graburn reflected on today's performance.
His focus, like many other National Championship competitors, now is on the 2012 Singles World Driving Championships to be held in Lezirias, Portugal September 12-16. The Southern Pines CDE also served as a Selection Trial for these World Championships. "He (Ulano) has been steadily progressing. I thought we would peak at this show and we did. We will keep on practicing and hopefully will end up on the top of the World game in Portugal."
Donna Crookston collected second place honors with her own RG Cowboys Black Cadillac on the strength of a magnificent fault-free cones round for an overall score of 129.82. Sara Schmitt and her own Kaboom finished in third place with a score of 130.30.
For competitor information, times and results visit: http://drivingnewsusa.com/results/results2012/SouthernPines/
Follow the 2012 U.S. Driving Time here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2012Driving/