Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice
Born in Australia, Phillip Dutton grew up competing at Pony Club rallies and horse trials across the country. In preparation for the 1996 Olympics, he moved to the United States to train in an environment that was more competitive on an international level. After moving, Phillip continued to represent Australia in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympics, and he won the Team Gold medal in each.
Then in 2006, Phillip changed his competitive nationality so that he could ride for the United States in international competition. He made his debut representing the United States at the 2007 Pan American Games where he won an Individual Silver medal as well as the Team Gold. Phillip was also on the U.S. Olympic Eventing Team at Beijing in 2008. Since then, Phillip has ridden in the 2010 World Equestrian Games and the 2012 London Olympics, both for the United States. In addition, Phillip has been named USEA Leading Rider of the Year 13 times and the number one FEI World Event Rider in 2005.
In addition to riding, Phillip dedicates much of his time to coaching his students at his farm in Pennsylvania, and this is also where he and his wife, Evie, train. He is a founding member of the Professional Riders Organization (PRO) and chairs the USEF Eventing Active Athletes Committee, as well as helps to organize the Plantation Field International Horse Trials and CIC each year. In 2016, Phillip competed at The Fork CCI*** and Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and placed fourth with his 2016 Rio Olympic partner, Mighty Nice, at both events. The competition in Rio will be Phillip’s sixth Olympic games.
Lauren Kieffer and Veronica
On Lauren Kieffer’s sixth birthday, her parents decided to give her horseback riding lessons on a whim. It was love at first ride, and Lauren was bit with the horse bug and never looked back. She spent her childhood competing in local hunter/jumper and 4-H shows near her hometown of Mt. Carmel, Illinois.She began training in the discipline of eventing at age 12 at Susannah Landsdale’s eventing barn, and at her first event, she fell off twice before even reaching the start box. Lauren persevered however, and continued eventing throughout high school.
During these vital years, Lauren learned the value of determination and hard work as she moved up the ranks. At age 15, Lauren met Snooze Alarm, an eccentric and somewhat difficult 4-year-old. She persuaded her parents to buy him, and the little spitfire eventually took Lauren all the way through the Intermediate level. At age 18, Lauren became a working student for David and Karen O’Connor who developed her riding and horsemanship. During her time with the O’Connors, Lauren was given the opportunity to lease Tigger Too, an off-the-track Thoroughbred gelding. Tigger allowed Lauren to gain experience at the Intermediate level in preparation to move up to Advanced. Lauren and Tigger had many successful events together including Lauren’s first event at the Advanced level, but tragically at Jersey Fresh in 2008, Tigger suffered an acute abdominal rupture on cross country and passed away. After this tragedy, Lauren dug into the core of her past and pulled out her longtime partner, Snooze Alarm. An eighth place finish in the 2009 Jersey Fresh qualified this pair for Rolex Kentucky in 2010. Snooze Alarm exceeded all expectations when he and Lauren went clean cross country at the CCI**** event. Upon crossing the finish flags, Lauren turned her lifelong dream of competing at Rolex into a reality. In the two years following this feat, Lauren didn’t have a horse to compete at the upper levels, and was forced to go back to basics that allowed her to focus on improving her skills.
Lauren eventually found a horse called Veronica who was purchased by a team of owners knows as Team Rebecca and would take Lauren back to the top. The pair began a winning streak in 2013 which led them to represent the United States at the Boekelo CCIO*** Nations Cup in the Netherlands. After returning home, Lauren and Veronica began preparations for the 2014 Rolex Kentucky, where they finished second. In 2015, Lauren won the Pan American Games Team Gold aboard Meadowbrook’s Scarlett and the Aachen Nations Cup Team Bronze with Veronica. Lauren and Veronica placed second this year at Rolex Kentucky. Lauren currently runs her own business and has a vast string of horses competing at all levels. Lauren looks forward to competing at her first Olympic games this year with Veronica.
Boyd Martin and Blackfoot Mystery
Born in Australia, this easygoing eventer began his riding career at the Forrest Hills Pony Club and immediately after high school started working for Heath and Rozzie Ryan at their Newcastle Equestrian Center. Throughout the eight years Boyd Martin worked there, he learned valuable lessons in hard work and horsemanship. He went on to win the very last long-format four-star event in 2003 riding True Blue Toozac. In 2006, Boyd traveled to the United States to compete in Rolex Kentucky and fell in love with the American eventing world. He returned to Australia for one year before moving to the United States permanently with his wife, Silva. Upon moving, the couple walked away from a successful Australian business to start over in America and pursue their dreams of competing internationally.
Boyd officially began representing the United States in international competition in 2009 and worked as an assistant to Phillip Dutton until 2010, when he and Silva started their own business out of Phillip’s farm. In 2011, a series of tragedies struck. A devastating barn fire took the lives of six of Boyd’s horses and injured four others. Neville Bardos, a horse Boyd purchased for $850 as he was deemed ‘no good’ as a jumper, was badly injured. The passing away of both his father and father-in-law followed this catastrophe. In the wake of these hardships, Boyd focused on nursing Neville Bardos back to health, and the pair came back better than ever. The duo finished seventh at the 2011 Burghley CCI****. He represented the United States at the 2012 London Olympics and was the top-placing U.S. rider at the 2014 World Equestrian Games. In addition, Boyd has since finished in the top ten at every four-star event in the world with the exception of Badminton Horse Trials.
In 2016, Boyd and his Rio Olympic partner, Blackfoot Mystery, finished sixth at Rolex Kentucky; this was Blackfoot Mystery’s first four-star event. Boyd and Silva now run their own farm in Pennsylvania that includes an extensive cross-country course designed by Eric Bull, and features elements from Beginner Novice all the way up to four-star level. Boyd competes nearly every weekend and coaches numerous successful riders, both at his own farm and in clinics across the country. The Rio Olympics will be Boyd’s second Olympic games.
Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen
Born and raised in Texas, Clark Montgomery moved to the East Coast in 1999 to compete more easily up and down the eastern seaboard and throughout Europe. Since then, he has trained with numerous top riders and coaches such as David and Karen O’Connor and Mark Phillips. In 2008, Clark won multiple international events including the Knaptoft CIC* and the CIC*** at Red Hills International Horse Trials. Clark and his Rio Olympic partner, Loughan Glen, made their first upper level appearance together in 2010 at the Poplar Place Farm March Horse Trials. The pair won the event, and this was just the beginning of a very successful partnership. Clark took both first and second place at the Fair Hill International CCI** with Loughan Glen and Universe. In February 2011, Clark and Loughan Glen won the Advanced division at the Pine Top Spring Advanced Horse Trials before moving up to the three-star level. Their first event together in this more challenging division was at The Fork, where they placed third. Later in the year, Clark won the CCI*** at Bromont and the Advanced division at Millbrook. He represented the United States for the first time in 2012 at the Boekelo CCIO***.
Following the 2012 eventing season, Clark relocated to England where he continues to compete successfully at the upper levels in preparation for the 2016 Olympics. He most recently won the 2016 Great Meadow International, which was the first ever FEI Nations Cup held in North America. Clark will be making his debut Olympic appearance at the 2016 Rio Olympics.