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Kevin Kieffer

Achievements

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The Secret to Raising an Upper-Level Eventer

We heard from Mama Kieffs about what it was like to watch her daughter, Lauren Kieffer, win a gold medal at the Pan American Games in her first appearance on a U.S. team, and now Papa Kieffs tells his side of the story in this latest blog powered by Athletux.

Lauren Kieffer, Kevin Kieffer, David O'Connor and Tigger Too at Jersey Fresh in 2007. Photo used with permission from Shannon Brinkman. Lauren Kieffer, Kevin Kieffer, David O'Connor and Tigger Too at Jersey Fresh in 2007. Photo used with permission from Shannon Brinkman.

750,000 miles. That is the approximate distance involved in driving a horse crazy 13-year-old from the Wabash County 4-H Fair to the podium at the Pan American Games.

I wish that I could tell you that when Jo Lynne and I started on this journey we had a master plan and if you follow it to the letter an upper level eventer comes out the other end. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We didn’t even know we were on a journey. We just thought we were going to a few horse shows. I thought I was smarter than all the other dads because I wasn’t spending my weekends watching kids run up and down a soccer field.

David O’Connor and I don’t disagree on much but we do when it comes to whether or not I had a plan. David is sure I spent the summer of 1987 in my basement with a Cray super computer hatching my master plan that culminated 18 years later when I drove in his driveway, on a late summer afternoon, and dumped off my daughter and a moderately talented Anglo-Arab, slinking back to Illinois under cover of darkness. From that day forward, they were “his” problem.

Since Sunday at the Pan American Games I have had numbers of people shake my hand and say, “You must be so proud.” Yes, I am, but for a lot of different reasons. I am truly proud and grateful for all Lauren has achieved in eventing, but I am most proud of something else.

A transformation more than an achievement. I can’t tell you the day or the month or even the year it happened. Watershed moments like Rolex 2014 or the Pan Ams make one reflect. Over the course of time, I have realized that I have had the privilege of helping to raise a daughter that makes me want to be better.

So I am going to let you in on my secret for raising an upper level eventer: “Whiners get nothing.”