Lauren Kieffer Claims Rolex/USEF National CCI4* Championship
Monday, April 28, 2014
Posted by Kathleen Landwehr
Though Kieffer has only had the ride on Veronica for about a year, taking the majority of that time to develop their partnership, she has known the mare since she was imported as a young horse and rode her briefly at that time. With the barn name of "Troll" for her lack of appreciation for affection, Kieffer noted that her fighting spirit comes in handy when it counts.
"I'm thrilled with her this weekend. She came out of it great," Kieffer said of Veronica. "She came into show jumping feeling like her normal self, not like she'd run a four-star so I was really excited about that."
The pair that won last year's Rolex/USEF National CCI4* Championship title, Buck Davidson (Ocala, Fla.) and Ballynoe Castle RM, maintained their top form from a year ago and earned a third-place finish. Having a solid double clear round, Davison and Cassandra Segal's 14-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding ended up on their dressage score of 51.7. The pair became the 2014 Rolex/USEF National CCI4* Reserve Champions for their strong finish.
"Reggie has been a consistent horse his whole career. I really didn't change anything," Davidson said of having another top finish in Kentucky with longtime partner Ballynoe Castle RM.
Davidson had to deal with a bone bruise that Ballynoe Castle RM had last year, after the horse had no previous injury throughout his career. He gave "Reggie" the fall season off and after starting him back successfully early this year, the horse developed pneumonia but made a full recovery.
"The heart that that horse has is unbelievable," Davidson noted. "I got some help in the show jumping from Silvio [Mazzoni] and David [O'Connor] has helped me out on the flat."
An exciting addition to the competition this year was the Dubarry of Ireland Nations Team Challenge, which awarded $20,000 in prize money while helping national teams prepare for the team competition at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. For their impressive performances, Team USA won with a total score 150.1. The scores of Kieffer and Veronica (46.7), Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM (51.7), and fourth-place finishers Sinead Halpin (Oldwick, N.J.) and Manoir de Carneville, Manoir de Carneville Syndicate LLC's 14-year-old Selle Francais gelding, (51.7) were combined to give the home country the victory. Second place went to Great Britain with a score of 163.8, while third place went to Canada with a score of 209.9.
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