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Lauren Nicholson (neé Kieffer): ‘I named my five-star horse after the Latin for maggot’

Lauren Nicholson (neé Kieffer) is an event rider from the United States and she has multiple five-star completions and good results to her name, as well as being a frequent face on teams, including when she represented her country at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Lauren’s first five-star horse came in the form of Snooze Alarm, with whom she completed Kentucky CCI4* (now CCI5*) in 2010.

“I was very much a ‘barn rat’ kid growing up,” explains Lauren while being interviewed by H&H’s eventing editor Pippa Roome for episode 22 of the Horse & Hound podcast. “I grew up in the Mid-West, which is a very rural area, and Snooze Alarm was sent to the barn I was riding at when I was 13 and he was a rising four-year-old to be broken in. My trainer was pregnant and Snooze Alarm was quite wild, but I was quite keen to ride anything I could, so I started riding him and took him to his first couple of events.

“My parents then bought him — it was a very big purchase for us back then — I think he cost $8,000 and it was quite a fairytale sort of thing to have your first event horse and to go all the way from beginner novice level to five-star at Kentucky. He’s still here with us now, aged 23, and he lives out with Vermiculus, who is one of my current top five-star horses, and who is also Snooze Alarm’s full brother.”

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There is also a good story behind the name of Vermiculus, with whom Lauren finished ninth at both Burghley and Kentucky in 2019.

“Snooze Alarm’s stable name is Maggot. So when I bought Vermiculus, I was trying to think of a proper show name for him,” explains Lauren. “And I chose Vermiculus as it is Latin for maggot, and his stable name is Bug and it’s my little inside joke as Vermiculus actually sounds like such a regal name!”

To hear more of Lauren’s exclusive interview, listen to episode 22 of The Horse & Hound podcast or search “The Horse & Hound Podcast” in your favourite podcast app.

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