Jacob Fletcher and Atlantic Domino (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Tyler, Texas – A small but mighty field of 11 combinations competed in the Adequan Advanced Gold Cup Final division of the 2015 Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships presented by VTO Saddlery (AEC) at the Texas Rose Horse Park over the weekend. The USEF Open Horse Trial National Championship was held in conjunction with the Advanced division, allowing this year’s nine U.S. competitors to earn an additional prestigious title. Twenty-one-year-old Jacob Fletcher had a stellar weekend on his home turf in Area V, leading from start to finish, with Atlantic Domino to win both the Adequan Advanced Gold Cup Final and USEF Open Horse Trial National Championship titles.
Fletcher (North Little Rock, Ark.), an Eventing 25 Program participant in 2013 and 2015, started the week off on Thursday with a smooth, accurate dressage test aboard Atlantic Domino to receive an impressive score of 27.6 and sit atop the leaderboard. The pair made light work of Captain Mark Phillips’ cross-country course on Friday, adding just 4.0 time penalties to their dressage score. Fletcher and the 2005 Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Fletcher Farms brought their weekend to a triumphant finish on Saturday with a double-clear round over Marc Donovan’s show jumping track. The duo claimed top honors with a final score of 31.6.
“I had a really successful run at Richland Park before this, and I was looking to build on that, but I was not expecting to do so well,” said a pleasantly surprised Fletcher. “Atlantic Domino was fantastic in dressage, even with an error, and on cross-country he was very good. You had to be very fast where you could be because the course was quite twisty. Show jumping is his best phase so I was expecting a double-clear round. He was really great and I couldn’t be prouder of him.”
The win had added meaning since Fletcher won on his home turf of Area V. “Area V was very lucky to host the AEC. I thought someone from Area V should win the Advanced division before the AEC moves to a new venue next year, and I am happy and proud that I was able to do that.”
The young rising stars owned the division as twenty-year-old Caroline Martin (Miami Beach, Fla.), a 2013 Eventing 18 program alum, won the Reserve Champion title with her and Sherrie Martin’s Quantum Solace. She and the 2005 Argentinian Thoroughbred gelding had a solid dressage test to score 36.7 to lie in seventh place after the first phase. The pair had the only double-clear cross-country round to move up to third place on the leaderboard. Martin and Quantum Solace continued their fantastic form in the final phase, having a double-clear show jumping round to make them the only pair to finish on their dressage score of 36.7.
Buck Davidson (Unionville, Pa.) and Wundermaske finished third in the division on a score of 43.0. He and Sharon White’s 2003 Hanoverian/TB gelding began the competition with a dressage score of 32.6. The pair added 2.4 time penalties to their score on cross-country day and had two rails in the show jumping phase.
By Kathleen Landwehr