There’s just no other way to say it: Lauren Kieffer is on a roll as we count down the days to the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, delivering a double clear round with Team Rebecca’s Veronica to win the Advanced A division at The Fork on their dressage score of 23.
“She was great, and I went out to have a quicker run to get ready for the next few weeks, and she was right on point — super straight to everything,” Lauren said. “She loves to go out there and run and jump, and now you just go out and don’t screw up.”
Lauren and Veronica our are reigning USEF National CCI4* Champions, and the simple fact of the matter is she remains a major threat to take that title for a second year in a row with the 13-year-old Dutch mare. “At the end of the day, I’m just shooting to perform at her best, especially on the first day,” Lauren said. “She’s not going to do anything wrong.”
Not to be outdone by “Troll,” Court and Kylie Ramsay’s Czechmate held his lead after show jumping to clinch the win in the Advanced B division with Lauren on 31.1. While he’s not aiming for Rolex, the 9-year-old Czech Warmblood gelding still has a big event ahead at Jersey Fresh, where he has the chance to make go all in for a spot on the U.S. Pan American Games team.
“I’m thrilled with how we went today, and it was good for him because it was more galloping toward the end, which suits him as a big-striding horse,” Lauren said. “I know now that I can go out and pull the trigger when I need to, and I know he’s going to jump all the jumps.”
Lauren was also very happy to have both Landmark’s Monte Carlo finish fourth in the 9-year-old gelding’s second Advanced and Landmark’s Monaco jump clear cross country around the 8-year-old stallion’s first CIC2*. The horses are full Irish/Thoroughbred siblings bred and owned by Jacqueline Mars, by Formula One out of Glamour, and Lauren said it was really special to have Ms. Mars here today to watch both horses go so well.
Tamie Smith and Mai Baum Win CIC2*
Things went awry at the top of the CIC2* leaderboard when overnight leader Sinead Halpin parted ways on her first CIC2* ride Grey Area, which forced her to withdraw overnight leader Topgun. Sinead confirmed on Twitter that she’s just fine after bonking her head and was disappointed to have to withdraw — just one of those things that can happen when the top 25 percent of the division runs in reverse order.
Then Peter Barry and Long Island T became the ones to beat, as they sat in second place after show jumping, but they picked up a technical elimination after going off course. With Lillian Heard and Abbie Golden’s Arundel picking up 3.2 time penalties, the CIC2* win went to Tamie Smith and Alex Ahearn’s Mai Baum, who jumped clear with 1.2 time to take the blue ribbon.
“He is so fast because I don’t ever have to touch the reins; I can just keep going,” Tamie said. “He has a really big stride and was incredible out there.” Tamie and “Lexus” will stay on the East Coast to aim for the CCI2* at Jersey Fresh, basing at Will Faudree’s Gavilan Farm outside Southern Pines, North Carolina, to take advantage of his all-weather gallop.
Tamie also had a fantastic run with the Team Milton Syndicate’s Fleur de Lis in the horse’s first CIC2*, finishing third on a score of 44.7 with a clear trip and 2.8 time penalties. She found the 10-year-old Dutch gelding through Matt Flynn in 2013 and put together a syndicate after Jennie Brannigan recommended she seriously consider the horse.
While “Milton” has always been a quirky ride, Tamie said the partnership is finally to a place where they can work together across all three phases, and he was a star this weekend in all three phases. “He was tricky in the beginning, and I worked a lot to get him right and did a lot of groundwork with him to develop the partnership,” Tamie said. “I’ve taken my time with him, and he’s just really come around after being a misfit nobody would ride.”
Molly Tulley Takes CIC* Win
Molly Tulley capped her fairytale weekend with Allie Knowles’ Last Call by delivering a clear round with just .8 time penalties to win her second one-star on a score of 43.8. Molly said in yesterday’s press conference that she’s grateful to have the opportunity to ride such an experienced horse in this 16-year-old Mecklenberg mare.
She hoped the pieces would come together this weekend after her successful CIC* debut aboard “Fergie” at Carolina International two weeks ago, and we’re thrilled for Molly, Allie and the whole AK Eventing team that they did.
Beau Guimond looked to be having a great time aboard his own Filibuster ST, an 8-year-old Hanoverian gelding Boyd Martin picked out and ultimately encouraged Beau to buy. The purchase seems to be paying off, as the horse finished second in his first CIC* today with one of the 10 double clear trips in the division.
Selena O’Hanlon’s rides always look like they’re having a blast galloping across the country, and today was no different with Kelly Damp’s Zephyr. The 13-year-old gelding made it look easy as he romped around Tremaine Cooper’s course to finish double clear in his first CIC2* on 44.3 to take home third place.
Click here for a full breakdown of final scores across all the divisions that wrapped up today. If you missed the full report on Jennie Brannigan’s CIC3* victory with Tim and Nina Gardner’s Cambalda, be sure to click here to read the full play-by-play, and stay tuned for much more from The Fork.