Standing Right on the Edge of the Dream

This is the second post in our Lauren Kieffer Eventing Blog Series powered by Athletux. First we heard from super groom Shannon Kinsley, and now Lauren's mom Jo, better known as Mama Kieffs, writes about what it means that her daughter is about to represent Team USA for the first time.

Mama Kieffs and Lauren Kieffer. Photo courtesy of LKE. Mama Kieffs and Lauren Kieffer. Photo courtesy of LKE.

I have been asked to do many things I never expected to do in the last few years. This blog is the latest.

If you have gotten this far, I am going to assume you know the basics about Lauren and LKE: the horses, the rides, the results, the steps from clueless beginner through the O’Connor camp, to the working student years through to professional rider, and now to Pan American Games and Team USA rider (fingers still firmly crossed, because until you are going down the center line, we all know stuff can happen).

So what can I add that you don’t know? Maybe you are the parent of one of those horse crazy kids that wants to make this their life. What can I tell you?

This is the hardest thing your child will ever attempt to do, and watching them struggle will be equally hard on you, except for when it is awesome beyond belief.

If your child is riding at Training level, you may think it gets easier the more they learn and the better they ride. It doesn’t.

If you think your heart will burst with pride as you watch them jump that clear stadium round that guarantees that ribbon for them — oh my goodness, wait till you are standing on the kiss and cry watching them do it in Kentucky in April.

And there are other things that do get better. Professional grooms are amazing people; they are worth their weight in gold. Attempting to groom for four horses out of a trailer at a one-day event, just Lauren and I, has given me an incredible appreciation for grooms.

I guess what I want to say is that this is an adventure. And, like any adventure, it is not going to be easy. That doesn‘t mean it won‘t also be fun.

Papa Kieffs and I never imagined watching Lauren compete in Europe when her grandpa got her that first backyard pony. We never imagined the wonderful people we would get to know when she told Jimmy Wofford to remember her name at an autograph signing because she was going to the Olympics some day. We never imagined any of this when at her first event she and her OTTB went through the stadium timing poles backwards because she couldn’t get him to go forward.

But we believed in Lauren and her dreams, and we wanted to do anything we could to help her get there. So we cried with her through the bad, and there was plenty of bad; we cheered for her during the good, and there has been plenty of good. All the while, she worked and worked and worked.

And now we are standing right on the very edge of that dream, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. So if you have that kid that knows life won’t be worth living without horses, that talks about putting on the red coat, that rides Rolex in her dreams, think about encouraging him or her to go for it.

Remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Do something every day that scares you.”