BADMINTON, England--Lauren Kieffer riding Veronica, on Sunday, May 6, became the first American combination to finish in the top-10 of the Badminton Horse Trials in more than a decade.
It was 11 years ago, in 2007, when Kim Severson of Charlottesville, Va., on Winsome Adante finished third, that was the last time a U.S. rider finished in the top 10.
Placing ninth overall, Kieffer of The Plains, Va.,and the 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare were competing in their seventh four-star event together.
Finishing on a score of 38.6, the Keiffer and Veronica 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 dressage, Kieffer and Veronica sat tied for 10th on a score of 25.0 and then jumped a clean cross country course, but added 9.6 time penalties, to move up to seventh on a score of 34.6.
“I am absolutely ecstatic with Veronica, she is such an amazing little mare,” said Keiffer. “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.”
They had one rail down in the show jumping phase to drop to ninth overall, but still 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.”
OLIVER TOWNEND had been going for the Grand Slam of Eventing and its prize money of $335,000, and he finished heartbreakingly close, just missing by placing second on Cooley SRS.
Jonelle Price became the first female winner of Badminton in over a decade when she cemented her victory by jumping a clean round on Classic Moet in the final show jumping phase.
Price of New Zealand won by climbing up the leaderboard from 22nd after dressage with two faultless, fast jumping rounds in cross country and stadium jumping.
“Being a CCI4* winner is an elite club to join and it’s been something that has eluded me for a while now, so to now join it, especially here at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, is very, very special,” said Price, who had given birth to her son, Otis, less than 10 months ago.
Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class, lying second overnight, had two rails down in stadium jumping to drop from second to fifth, but he already had a clear round with Cooley SRS, who had gone out of order earlier, and that proved good enough to keep second anyway.
“If you’d have told me I’d have two horses in the top five at the end of this week I’d be very, very happy,” said Townend. “I’ve had to fight harder than I’ve fought before and it didn’t always look like I wanted it to look, but both horses have come out of it feeling very good.”
Rosalind Canter had one rail down on Allstar B to finish the competition in third.
The other two Americans at Badminton, Will Coleman of Charlottesville, Va., and OBOS O’Reilly retired on the cross-country course, and Madeline Backus of Larkspur, Colo., and P.S. Arianna were eliminated on cross-country.