The Arabian horse community has been delighted by the recent announcement that Lauren Kieffer and Anglo-Arabian gelding, Vermiculus, have been selected for the United States Eventing squad for the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG), Tryon 2018. Owned by Jacqueline Mars, 11 year old Vermiculus, (registered name Boogie Board) Serafix x Wake Me Gently (JC), is set to showcase the athletic ability of our Arabian-bred horses on the world stage.
Lauren is no stranger to competing at the top of the Eventing world, already representing the U.S at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, in both the team and individual events, as well as earning a team gold at the Pan American Games in 2015, and an individual second place at 2016 Rolex Kentucky. Vermiculus is not her first Anglo-Arabian partner, his full brother Snooze Alarm having come before.
When asked how she discovered Arabian-bred horses, Lauren shares, “It happened by luck, ‘Snooze’ was in with my trainer to be sold way back when, she was pregnant and couldn't ride, so I rode him. He bucked me off every day until we figured out if he could jump before flatting he wouldn't mind it as much. My dad wasn't too keen on the whole thing, but eventually he was convinced and the rest is history.”
Snooze Alarm was the 2007 Arabian Horse Association Ambassador Award winner, for his outstanding contributions to representing the Arabian horse and community.
Both Snooze Alarm and Vermiculus are sired by Canadian National Champion Exhibition Halter Stallion, Serazim (Ski Chief x Bint Zaza). Serazim was shown in Hunter Pleasure, Show Hack, Costume and Halter, and also had winnings in the Racing world. A great, great grandson of imported stallion, *Serafix, Serazim went on to become a well-known sire of Show Horses, Sport Horses, Race and Endurance horses, world-wide. Their dam is Jockey Club Registered Thoroughbred, Wake me Gently, who has a heritage rich in esteemed racehorses, including Polynesian and Man o’War.
Like his ancestors, Vermiculus has proven himself to be an athlete. Speaking about the process of working towards the U.S. Team for the WEG, Lauren shares, “I always knew (Vermiculus) had it in him to be a team horse, small but mighty, the best kind. I took my time with him to give him the proper runs through the levels and it took him until the advanced level to respect anything in front of him, it always came so easy for him. He's now run some solid tracks like Fairhill, Boekelo and Kentucky and he just loves it.”
In Eventing, horse and rider combinations compete in three events - Dressage, Cross Country and Show Jumping, their score for each individual event is combined to determine their overall placing. This kind of competition demands a level of athleticism, versatility and heart that is hard to find. When asked what she loves about Arabian-bred horses, Lauren explains, “They have great endurance which is paramount in our sport and they have spunk and personality, it's a must.”
Lauren and Vermiculus will compete on the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Squad at the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon, 2018. The games will be held in Mill Spring, N.C., September 11-23. Of the five horses that made the team, Vermiculus is the only Arabian-bred horse.
When asked for her advice for someone considering an Arabian-bred horse as their next partner for a Sporting discipline Lauren replied, “Like most horses, they aim to please, they can go a lot longer than most breeds so make sure you establish that communication early on because they will win. They're athletic, light on their feet, they've got movement and jump, we are going to be seeing more and more Anglo- Arabs mixed across all the equestrian disciplines.”
Good luck Lauren and Vermiculus at the WEG, from the Arabian Horse Association magazine - Arabian Horse Life and the Arabian horse community!