Badminton, England – Land Rover/USEF Eventing Grant recipient Lauren Kieffer and Veronica became the first American combination to finish in the top-10 of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials on Sunday in more than a decade. 2007 was the last time a U.S. combination broke the top-10 barrier, when Kim Severson (Charlottesville, Va.) and Winsome Adante finished third.
Placing ninth overall, Kieffer (The Plains, Va.) and the 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Team Rebecca, LLC contested their seventh four-star event together showing their experience from start to finish. Ending on a score of 38.6, the pair greatly improved their position from 2017, when they finished 17th overall. This year, Kieffer and Veronica held a spot consistently in the top-10 through all three phases of competition.
After their trip down the centerline, Kieffer and Veronica sat tied for the 10th position on a score of 25.0 after dressage. With the goal of improving upon their run from 2017, the combination headed into the cross-country phase. They jumped a clean course, but added some time penalties, boosting their overall position to seventh and a score of 34.6.
“I am absolutely ecstatic with [Veronica] – she is such an amazing little mare,” said Keiffer after their trip around the course designed by Eric Winter. “I came out and had a bit of a chip on my shoulder from last year and just wanted to prove that we could attack the course. [Veronica] was happy to do it.”
The show jumping phase saw the combination drop a single rail, slipping to ninth overall, but laying claim to a top-10 finish.
“[Veronica] jumped super,” said Kieffer. “We don’t get to practice jumping on grass very often, but she really jumped well out of it. Sometimes at the end of a four-star they are pretty haggard feeling, and she really felt great. She felt like she does every day, so I really couldn’t be more thrilled with how she came out this weekend.”
Fellow Americans Will Coleman (Charlottesville, Va.) and Four Star Eventing Group’s 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding OBOS O’Reilly retired on the cross-country course, while Madeline Backus (Larkspur, Colo.) and her and Laura Backus’s 17-year-old Anglo-Trakehner mare P.S. Arianna were eliminated on cross-country.
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