highs and lows; just a couple months after he won the indi- vidual bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Rio, step- daughter Lee Lee, who had competed to the Intermediate level of eventing and who had just graduated from the University of Delaware, was galloping her horse when he slipped and rolled over her—it was a freakish fall that turned into a life-changing moment when she sustained a traumatic brain injury (yes, she was wearing a helmet). “We’re in a sport that’s rewarding and enjoyable, and

there are so many great people in it, but there’s also a risk there,” Phillip says. “We’re sort of transitioning now from just being so upset and critically caring for her; she’s improving all the time and her care has become a part of our life, and we’re going on with our lives and incorporating her in that. She’s probably not going to be able to get to the WEG this year because she’s wheelchair-bound, but with live streaming she can keep up with the action.”

Lauren Kieffer (The Plains, VA) and Vermiculus (Serazim X Wake Me Gently), an 11-year-old Anglo-Arabian gelding owned by Jacqueline Mars.

Lauren got her start with a horse named “Snooze Alarm” who took her from her first Beginner Novice horse trials all the way to the Rolex Kentucky CCI4*. It turns out that Vermiculus, bred by Lawson Williams, is a full brother to Snooze Alarm, which Lauren says makes the whole experience that much more special. “Poor Snooze, or Maggot as he’s known to his family,

had to put up with me through my terrible teens…he defi- nitely deserves sainthood!” she jokes. “When I bought Bug as a three-year-old, suddenly I had nothing but young horses—which in itself was a blessing since among that group of young horses were my next three four-star horses and my Pan Am team horse—and I was just desperate to find that next four-star horse. With not much money in my pocket I figured, ‘What better place to start than something with the same DNA as the only other four-star horse I had ridden?’” She explains it was definitely a group effort to buy Vermic-

ulus. “Max Corcoran threw in some money for me, as did Christiana Ober—and she did his vet work for free—and after I had had him three or four years and he was going Prelimi- nary, Ms. Mars was very generous and stepped up to take

PODIUM e y prepare for the 2018 Tryon World Equestrian Games “It’s a credit to Lee Lee that she’s such a nice person that

so many people are supportive of her. She’s as nice to the barn help as somebody that owns the horses, and it brings home that it can happen to anyone,” he adds. “People are sending love and prayers all the time, and that is great for our family.” After competing in the combined test (dressage and show jumping only) for the WEG team horses at Great Meadow in Virginia, Phillip says he and Z will spend a few days show- ing in a jumper show at the Kentucky Horse Park, where they will work on their show jumping skills and get more time in an electric atmosphere with a large audience. “He can learn to chill out being with other horses and loudspeakers and all that, then he will run Intermediate at Millbrook (New York), and the final run will be at Bromont at the end of August. We’ll spend six or seven days at a training camp at Will Faudree’s barn in August and then head to Tryon.” v

Laren Kieffer and Vermiculus at the WEG Test Event at The Fork in early April.

him over. At the time there wasn’t much reason to, I was just struggling and she knew it, but I promised her that this feral little naughty pony would do a four-star someday. Thank goodness I was right for once!”

Warmbloods Today 17

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