Practical Horseman - - Veronica -

NICK­NAME: The Troll OC­CU­PA­TION: Even­ter HOME­TOWNS: Mid­dle­burg, Vir­ginia, and Ocala, Florida BA­SIC STATS: 15-year-old, 16.1-hand Dutch Warm­blood mare SIRE: Pa­cific DAM: Kim­bel VERON­ICA’S PEO­PLE

OWNER: Team Re­becca RIDER: Lau­ren Ki­ef­fer GROOM: Shan­non Kins­ley

EX­ER­CISE RID­ERS: Kim Ce­ceer and Lau­ren Mair BACK­GROUND: Aus­tralian Olympian Scott Keach im­ported Veron­ica to the States and com­peted her through the Pre­lim­i­nary level be­fore send­ing her to Lau­ren as a sales project. Team Re­becca then bought the mare for five-time Olympian Karen O’Con­nor, who guided her up to the four-star level be­fore hand­ing the reins back to Lau­ren upon her re­tire­ment in 2012.

The Troll’s nick­name comes from her cranky fa­cial ex­pres­sions. She makes faces in the cross-ties and pins her ears at horses and peo­ple who pass her stall. “We joke that it hurts her to put them for­ward,” Lau­ren says. “The only time she puts them for­ward is when she works. She has a huge work ethic. She loves jump­ing and gal­lop­ing.”

Earn­ing The Troll’s trust is key. She likes to be cared for by peo­ple she knows well. In fact, de­spite her in­tim­i­dat­ing faces, she en­joys be­ing hugged and scratched by “her” peo­ple. “She’s a very in­di­vid­ual, smart mare—and she’s a sur­vivor,” Lau­ren says. “She’s the horse you want to be on in The Walk­ing Dead.” In Veron­ica’s ex­ten­sive trav­els around the world, “she’s taken ev­ery form of trans­porta­tion there is—planes, trains, lor­ries, fer­ries— and she al­ways eats, drinks and ships well.”

Her com­pe­ti­tion sched­ule typ­i­cally in­cludes two ma­jor CCI three-day events per year. She en­joys at least a month off af­ter her spring three-day, then about two months off in the fall and early win­ter. Around Christ­mas­time, she be­gins leg­ging back up with hours of hack­ing and road­work. “That’s when pod­casts and au­dio­books come in handy,” says Lau­ren. DAILY ROU­TINE:

Lau­ren be­lieves the best way to pro­mote horses’ health is to keep their life­styles as nat­u­ral as pos­si­ble by giv­ing them plenty of for­age and time out­side. “It pre­vents ul­cers and keeps horses hap­pier, too.” Veron­ica loves to be out­side. Usu­ally turned out overnight, she comes into the barn at around 7 a.m., then goes back out again in the early af­ter­noon. Dur­ing her breaks, she’s turned out 22 hours a day.

When she’s in­side, she spends most of her time sleep­ing, of­ten snor­ing and dream­ing. “She twitches and can­ters in her sleep,” says Lau­ren. “She even snacks on her hay while she’s ly­ing down.” If Shan­non finds her nap­ping when it’s time for her ride, she tries not to in­ter­rupt her and takes an­other horse out in­stead.

NU­TRI­TION: De­spite her stren­u­ous con­di­tion­ing reg­i­men, The Troll re­quires very lit­tle grain to main­tain her weight, even right be­fore a four-star event. She eats a small amount of Buck­eye EQ8TM Gut Health twice daily, plus all the high-qual­ity

ti­mothy-mix hay she wants.

She also re­ceives two rou­tine sup­ple­ments: SUC­CEED ® for di­ges­tive health and APF (Ad­vanced Pro­tec­tion For­mula by Auburn Lab­o­ra­to­ries Inc.) to sup­port her im­mune sys­tem.

The night be­fore a long trip, The Troll’s team soaks her grain and gives her a bran mash. She’s also on Regu-mate dur­ing the show sea­son. Lau­ren ex­plains, “She’s not mean or witchy when she’s in heat, but she comes into heat so of­ten that I fig­ure this makes her more com­fort­able. And if there’s some­thing we can do to help her, we do it.”

One of The Troll’s favorite treats is beer. She likes it warm—never cold. Shan­non pours it di­rectly into her mouth and Veron­ica sticks her tongue out to catch ev­ery drop. OTHER CARE: Af­ter jump schools and gal­lops, Shan­non cools down Veron­ica’s legs with Ice Horse ® wraps. The mare then wears sta­ble ban­dages for the few hours while she’s in her stall. Af­ter cross-coun­try cour­ses, she stands in whirlpool boots that ex­tend above her knees. Then she wears sta­ble wraps overnight.

When­ever The Troll com­petes or gal­lops on un­usu­ally firm ground, Shan­non packs her hooves af­ter­ward with Hooflex ® Magic Cush­ion ® Hoof Pack­ing. She also does a lit­tle ex­tra ic­ing to soothe her legs.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, Veron­ica’s far­rier will ap­ply pads un­der her shoes or pour ure­thane over the soles of her feet to pro­tect her from es­pe­cially hard ground. At the end of the com­pe­ti­tion sea­son, he pulls her shoes so she can en­joy her hol­i­day bare­foot.

When in train­ing, Veron­ica wears a magnetic and mas­sage blan­ket ev­ery day. She’s also treated with a func­tional elec­tri­cal stim­u­la­tion unit once or twice a week, which Lau­ren says helps to re­lieve any sore­ness in her back.

The Troll’s favorite ther­apy is acupunc­ture. While she’s re­ceiv­ing it, her ears flop, her lower lip droops and she yawns fre­quently. She usu­ally lies down to take a nap af­ter­ward. Lau­ren likes to use it at events the morn­ing be­fore dres­sage and about once a week at home when her work is more in­tense.

Groom Shan­non Kins­ley (left) with Veron­ica and rider Lau­ren Ki­ef­fer

Lau­ren and Veron­ica fin­ished 17th at the 2017 Bad­minton Horse Tri­als, where they also earned their per­sonal best dres­sage score of 38.

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