Kieffer and Veronica are CHC International CIC3* Winners in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup & PRO Tour Series

RELEASE: May 19, 2013

Carl Bouckaert (left) and Michael Pollard (right) present Lauren Kieffer with her awards for winning the inaugural CHC International CIC3* division as part of the Adequan USEA Gold Cup and PRO Tour Series. Leslie (Threlkeld/USEA Photo)
Carl Bouckaert (left) and Michael Pollard (right) present Lauren Kieffer with her awards for winning the inaugural CHC International CIC3* division as part of the Adequan USEA Gold Cup and PRO Tour Series. Leslie (Threlkeld/USEA Photo)
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Fairburn, GA - Lauren Kieffer and Team Rebecca’s 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Veronica performed very well in all three phases in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup and PRO Tour Series CIC3* at CHC International in Fairburn, Georgia to claim their third consecutive FEI division win this year. The final phase of cross-country ran in reverse order of go, and Kieffer was still on course when it was announced that current leaders Phillip Dutton and William Penn had picked up a stop at the influential Cavalor Conundrum, fence 12AB in the main arena. All Kieffer had to do was hold her pace and cruise to a clear round.

“She was wonderful. I went out to have a steady clear. I certainly didn’t intend to be fast, but she gets into such a nice rhythm and she’s just such a quick little horse anyway,” Kieffer said. “She’s so balanced I don’t have to do a ton of work around the gallop fences.”

Veronica was started by Kieffer but competed up to Advanced by Karen O’Connor. “Karen did all the work on the mare, now I just get to hop on and have fun. I adore her, we get along really well. She’s always been my favorite of Karen’s,” Kieffer said. “She’s a rockstar, and the Broussards are amazing for letting me ride her.”

Significant rainfall had softened the ground somewhat the night prior. “It was a bit heavy in the galloping lanes, but certainly not muddy. You could just feel it was a bit heavier from the rain and all the horses running on it, but the footing in front of the fences was beautiful,” Kieffer said. Veronica’s petite 16.1-hand frame helped her to skim along the surface and not get bogged down where others picked up significant time penalties.

Kieffer and Veronica had an intense moment at the Water Complex when the mare left out an entire stride before the bank and took the long one. She managed to scramble to the top and put in a tidy stride to the D element, an offset narrow brush. “I definitely saw another [stride] coming up that bank!” Kieffer said. “She fought for it to get to that skinny. She’s just a genius like that. She’s amazing like that. She’s very competitive in her own mind.” Veronica was not the only horse to see the long spot out of the water. Lizzie Snow took a tumble off Coal Creek due to the same mistake. Both horse and rider were uninjured.

In an effort to bring the course closer to the barns, vendors, and spectators, an additional loop on Hugh Lochore’s course took the Preliminary through three-star competitors across the road and into the lower arena where they jumped a big technical question before jumping back out of the ring and having a long gallop down to the water. “It was lovely, big, and galloping course, which is Hugh’s type,” Kieffer said. “I think it made a huge difference adding this loop through the arena, it really changed the whole flow. And it worked really well. It had the technical questions where you needed them, and it asked questions that you needed, but at the same time I think it gave the horses a really good confident feel to finish on.”

Ellen Doughty and her own 11-year-old Thoroughbred/Holsteiner gelding Sir Oberon were tied for ninth after dressage, and good jumping rounds moved them steadily up the leaderboard to ultimately finish second in their first three-star event. “He’s wonderful. I bought him as a 5-year-old. He had done some basic level dressage and the owner wanted to sell him. She said he was a little too high strung for dressage so I bought him, and we went up the levels together.”

Sir Oberon suffered a strained suspensory in 2010 during an event. Doughty gave him a year-and-a-half off to fully recover and began competing again at Intermediate last fall. Their first Advanced was this March at Texas Rose. “[This course] actually seemed smaller than Texas Rose. When I did Texas Rose, every question was big. Here it seemed like there’s a couple more letup fences,” Doughty said. “The combinations I thought were a little tougher. You had to hold your line, but he’s so adjustable…At the galloping fences, I just sit up and he does his thing.”

Doughty will compete in several more headlining three-stars this year, including The Event at Rebecca Farm, Richland Horse Trials in her homestate of Michigan, and Fair Hill this fall. She also has the Advanced at Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships on her calendar considering it is nearby her home in Texas. “I think he could possibly do Rolex next year. That’s the ultimate plan, but we’ll see where it takes us.”

The Friday night show jumping “under the lights” had everyone talking. It is a great concept and one to build and grow on. Overall, Marc Donovan’s course made horses and riders think in a different way about how to accomplish the job. Those that attacked every fence and focused on the questions, not the shadows, were most successful. “In the back of my mind I thought [the lights] might work to my advantage because [Veronica] needs a little more something to pay attention to, and when there’s a lot of atmosphere she gets better. She came in and jumped amazingly. On some horses it was a very difficult situation,” Kieffer said. “If they keep doing [show jumping under the lights] it will be a staple here and be something that people probably prepare for more. We’re fortunate in Middleburg they have Twilight Jumpers a couple times a month so we can practice.”

Doughty said she is working to ride Sir Oberon more forward as she has a tendency to over collect him, particularly in stadium. This method likely worked to her advantage in the show jumping. “When we jumped the first fence in warm-up he was kind of backed off at it, and then we got in the arena and he was good. He looked at the cross-country fence coming into one and our first couple fences were a little hairy,” Doughty said. “He’s a good show jumper. It he hits a rail he’s not going to hit any others. He’s just a good horse all around. He tries hard….with the lights he wanted to take an extra peek and see the fences which I think made him even more careful than he normally is.”

See full results here.