We're thrilled to have welcomed Merck Animal Health onboard as a sponsor here at EN, and we're celebrating by getting to know a few mares who have had success on the ever popular Regu-Mate. We're kicking off this series with Team Rebecca's Veronica, piloted by Lauren Kieffer.
Lauren Kieffer and Veronica. Photo by Jenni Autry.
EN: What are Veronica’s nicknames around the barn?
Lauren: We call her “The Troll” in the barn — she’s certainly not the most snuggly horse. She likes her people, but pins her ears until you give her what she wants and then the ears come back up when she gets it.
EN: How is she with other horses?
Lauren: The horses who aren’t scared of her she gets along with fine. If she senses that they’re scared of her, she’ll kind of use that to her advantage. She’s definitely an alpha mare!
EN: What was your favorite part of Rolex 2014 with Veronica?
Lauren: Finishing the dressage and peaking at the right time was a pretty good high. I’d also have to say that finishing all of the phases and realizing we’d delivered, especially after the show jumping with all of our crew at the entrance to the stadium, was pretty gratifying.
Lauren’s cheering section after her clear round at Rolex with Veronica. Photo by Sally Spickard.
EN: When you first began your partnership, what was your biggest struggle?
Lauren: I’d ridden her off and on for so long, so I kind of knew what she was about. It was more about reaching an agreement where I kind of let her do her own thing but when I did pipe up, she knew I was worth listening to.
It was about having faith in each other. I already knew her quite well — I always rode some of Karen’s horses and Veronica was always my favorite.
EN: What is your favorite thing about her overall?
Lauren: Just her personality. She’s such a tough mare. She really fights for it and she’s such a mentally competitive horse. There are a lot of horses that are super talented, but at the end of the day you have to have that four-star mentality — that’s what I respect about her: she’s going to fight for it whether it’s right or wrong. I’m very appreciative to Team Rebecca for allowing me to have the opportunity to ride her, she’s such a talented horse and it’s been a great experience.
EN: A lot of upper level horses are eccentric. What are Veronica’s quirks?
Lauren: She very much wants to be in charge of everything. She’s going to win walking out to the field. She’s just a bit undisciplined. She’s been in the program so long — sometimes you just can’t teach an old dog new tricks. You just kind of go with the flow at this point.
Lauren Kieffer and Veronica at Plantation Field. Photo by Jenni Autry.
EN: What is the biggest improvement you’ve seen in Veronica over the last couple of years?
Lauren: I would say our show jumping. She’s an aggressive mare, which makes her great cross country but can make it a bit of a struggle in the show jumping. Thanks to all of our work with Scott Keach and David O’Connor, that’s been our biggest improvement. She’s certainly become more rideable in the show jumping.
EN: If you could compete at any event with Veronica, what would it be?
Lauren: I would think Badminton. She seems like the horse I’d like to take around my first Badminton. She’s tough and competitive, and I think she’d eat that course up. That is certainly is not a track you’d want to take a horse who is wishy-washy to.
EN: If Veronica were a person, what type of person would she be?
Lauren: She’d probably be like a female wrestler — one of those diva fighters. She’d be the one who would bite you while you were down; I don’t think she’d be a very fair fighter!
EN: What has been the best thing about using Regu-Mate?
Lauren: It makes such a huge difference in these mares’ lives that are very hormonal. It gives them some kind of consistency during their competitive season so they don’t get stuck competing while they’re going through changes. I’ve been really pleased with the results and consistency she’s shown while we’ve used Regu-Mate.