Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer Update

The summer has been great since we came back up from Florida,  Ms Mars young horses have been racking up the ribbons, most especially Landmark's Legendary Romance, winning her last three outings, Meadowbrook's Scarlett continues her training level domination, currently leading points in the nation, Czechmate had a dominating win in the preliminary at Seneca, Lucky Devil and Ron Reagan had their first run at Maryland HT since the CCI*, finishing 1st and 2nd respectively, and Vermiculus and Morton made the move to training level, also finishing 1st and 2nd.   I am hungry to be back at the upper levels but I am beyond excited about the talent I have in my barn right now.

We couldn't find pen and paper, so we got inventive....
At the farm we are all so excited for Karen and Mr. Medicott and really rooting for the team.  I'm sad for those that didn't make it, but what a great problem for the US to have, too many talented horses and riders to choose from.  As an eventing community let's make sure the rider's that did make it know how much we are rooting for them, the hard part about this sport is we have to rely on our small community for support because a good chunk of our nation doesn't even know our sport exists, so let's make sure we all cheer loud enough for everyone!  I think this country is well on it's way to becoming a dominating force again.

I will be off to Millbrook next with a big group and a couple will be stepping up a level which is always exciting.  Let's hope these regular rain storms continue and keep the footing good, we have certainly been blessed this summer, I have never known the footing in Virginia to be this good this time of the summer, fingers crossed!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I realize this is far overdue, but if any of you are regular eventer blog readers you already know the excuses so I won't bother.
It's been a very good month and I'll just stick to the highlights.  We'll start back at Poplar where Landmark's Monte Carlo won the novice, The Ramsay's Czechmate was 4th in the Preliminary (my fault I had time faults), and Shannon O'Roark's Lucky Devil was 2nd in the CIC*.  From there we were off to Rocking Horse where Meadowbrook's Scarlett, Carlingford's Bouncer, and Secrets of my Success all won their divisions.  Then we were back on the road to The Fork where Landmark's Legendary Romance won the Training B and Czechmate won Preliminary A.  And THEN off to Ocala Horse Properties International, Meadowbrook's Scarlett won the YEH-5 yr old with an 85%, Secrets of my Success and Landmark's Monte Carlo came 1st and 2nd in the Training Horse, and Ron Reagan and Lucky Devil finished 3rd and 10th in their first CCI*.

                                                              Look for Ron at 0:54

To say the least it has been a busy month but now we get a nice break, kinda.  We will spend all this week packing up and getting ready to make the great migration north.  Everyone always asks "which do you like more?  Florida or Virginia?"  I love both and am always excited to head to each every 6 months, but also ready to leave.  Clearly I am a gypsy at heart so good thing I chose this lifestyle.
On a sadder note, the entire eventing community was shaken by the news of Amy Tryon's passing this past weekend.  I had the opportunity to ride with Amy during the Developing Rider training sessions and several times while she had her horses based at Karen and David's a few years ago.  Amy was an incredible horsewoman and could truly bring out the best in every horse.  Her accomplishments were lengthy but I learned and respected her most from the months I watched her working with her horses on a daily basis.  She will be deeply missed and my thoughts and prayers are with those she left behind.
Rolex is coming up quick and I wish everyone the best of luck.  Keep checking in on Facebook for updates!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


While perusing Facebook the other day I came across an interesting article/blog that was shared by a friend.  (Yes, if you sift through all the hourly mood updates and Farmville requests there occasionally are legitimate things to read on Facebook).  It is a professor's thoughts on privilege and the guilt, consequences, and responsibility that come with it.  It really struck home for me and really should for anyone that even has the ability to read it because that means you are even in the smallest way privileged. 
Yes, we all know that someone has it worse off than us no matter how bad a day we have, and he does touch on the normal ideas of privilege like wealth and health but also the privilege of talent.  That the worse thing you can do with your privilege is waste it or be ashamed/ guilty of it, you were given that talent so make use of it. 
We as eventers are part of an elitist sport, (yes I know we are trying to change that image but we wear a top hat so we don't have much of a leg to stand on in that argument), so we are privileged in every definition of the word. 
Wealth- sure most of us are "poor" but only because we buy a horse and all the things that go along with it.
Health- this is a "chicken or the egg" kind of situation but we are healthy if we have the ability to go outside and ride our horses everyday
Happiness- we wake up every morning wanting to go to work, except when it's raining, then I envy the office job, but not for long
Talent- we all have it, but how we use it is what matters
I strongly recommend giving it a quick read, Professor Petriglieri explains it much better than me.

On to the horses!  2012 has started off great and the horses are better than ever.  I made a really big effort to give all of the horses at LEAST a month off this winter, most more than that, and it really made a difference in them mentally and physically.  It's tough, especially with the young ones that don't do a three day at the end of the year to give them that time off.  When you head south for the winter the weather is so beautiful that you feel guilty not riding them and like you are going to be behind the game, but I think at the end of the day it is more than worth it. 
Check in to Facebook and Twitter for competition updates and until next time embrace your privilege and enjoy it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

2011 Wrap Up

2011 turned out to be a great year. After retiring both of my Advanced horses at the end of 2010 I was quite low at the beginning of the year, but once I started focusing on the horses I had I realized that most of them were better horses than any of my past upper level horses and I got really excited.
The horses really proved there is something to be excited about with consistent top finishes all year.
But without the owners I wouldn't have the opportunity to ride these horses, so take a seat folks because this is a long blog but I firmly believe that everyone should be individually recognized for their support.
Ms Jacqueline Mars, who owns Landmark's Legendary Affaire, L's Legendary Romance, L's Monte Carlo, L's Monaco, and L's Ginger Rogers. It's only right that she is being awarded the PRO As You Like It Owner's award for all the horses she has owned and continues to own and the huge contributions she has made to this sport in the US.
Court and Kylie Ramsay, who own Czechmate. The Ramsay's really stepped up to take a chance on me as a young rider a couple years ago and now own this really exciting 5 year old. We got Czechy at the beginning of this year and he just gets more exciting all the time.
Charles Akre, who owns Take Two. Mr Akre became my first owner and has been hugely supportive through all the ups and downs of my early career.
Shannon O'Roark, who owns Lucky Devil. Although Shannon would much rather be riding Taz herself, she was generous enough to let me ride him after she injured her ACL this summer.
Marie le Menestrel, who owns Meadowbrook's Scarlett and previously Meadowbrook's Pollyanna. Marie has a fantastic breeding program and I'm so pleased to be competing these talented horses.
Maria Brazil, who owns Pas de Panique and Lavigna. Although Maria isn't an owner, per se, I appreciate the fact that when she is too busy to compete her lovely horses herself she let's me ride them.
At the end of the day the owners can't be thanked enough. This is an expensive sport we do and it's hugely generous what they do by owning these horses.

I want to thank my sponsors for their support of me and my horses.
Heritage Gloves has been my longest sponsor and even if they didn't I would still only wear their gloves. They are stylish, functional, and durable. They can't be beat.
Omega Alpha has kept my horses at their healthiest and happiest. They have a supplement combination for any type of horse or situation and I can feel confident in the consistency and effectiveness of every product.
Ecolicious Equestrian has done wonders for my horses looks! My farrier has commented on the improvement of my horses foot health thanks to their hoof treatment, their coats are shiny, their tails are thick and smooth, and I can be confident that my horses aren't breathing in horrible toxins when I spritz them with fly spray.
Eventing Market is the best website to advertise on or find what you are looking for whether it is a horse, tack, or your business, hands down.
Peggy Ingles and Pegasus Designs for my beautiful websites.
And my newest sponsor Kentucky Horsewear, their d3o technology has set a completely new standard for boots and leg protection and I'm so happy to be using them on my horses.

I also want to thank Karen and David, without them taking a chance on a goofy kid from the Midwest and putting all of these opportunities in front of me I wouldn't be where I am now.

And I can't finish this without shout outs to Jax Janes, Max Corcoran, and Rachel Goff for putting up with me every day :) Randy Pawlak and Dr Christiana Ober for being the best farrier and vet in the universe, and my parents for always knowing when we need some bang bang shrimp.

I'm excited for 2012 and all the talented horses I will be competing. Things will be getting busy right after Christmas with O'Connor Winter Camp and then the first event Jan 7. Follow Lauren Kieffer Eventing on Facebook, @laurenkieffer on Twitter, or the website for updates!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Catching Up

Sorry I haven't written in so long! Let's do some catching up, we have been doing a lot of competing and have had some new arrivals. The horses have all been very successful at their horse trials and we took seven for a big outing at the American Eventing Championships at the beginning of September where most ran well aside from my tumble off of Ron Reagan in the water, it was a soggy walk home.
The highlight of the weekend was the Ramsay's Czechmate winning his division from start to finish and then their son Calvin won his division on Landmark's Miss Liberty, a homebred of Ms Mars.
We headed back north and went to Middleburg HT where I rode Meadowbrook's Scarlett and Meadowbrook's Pollyanna, owned and bred by Marie Le Menestrel, in their very first event. They are two beautiful, talented mares and went on to be 1st and 3rd in their first outing! Very promising for the future.
After that we were off to Morven the following weekend with six. On Saturday I had Ron Reagan and Lucky Devil in the prelim and Czechy in the training. The day was so miserably cold and wet I didn't run cross country but Ron and Taz were 1st and 2nd after the dressage and sj and Czechy just did dressage and was in 1st.
Jax and I attempted to go on Sunday with Scarlett, Polly, and Tux(Landmark's Legendary Affaire), but promptly got stuck in the mud pulling out of the barn at 5:00 am. After spending an hour trying to get ourselves out, we finally realized we needed some large machinery, which meant we needed Dennis, the keeper of all things mechanical on the farm. We all joke that he is really just a big ol' teddy bear, but he mostly scares the crap out of me, but that might be because I'm always breaking things...., so I made Jax go fetch him.
She returns with him, Gary, and a large tractor with chains. There was some grumbling under their breath about "damn women" or something along those lines, but we were promptly unstuck and with some thank you's and batted eye lashes we coaxed a smile out of them. But by then we were way too late to make it to the show.
We used the extra day to pack and left a day early to head to warm and sunny Florida. Max and Karen are toughing it out till after Fairhill.
We left around 2 am, me and Boozer in my truck and trailer, Hannah, Sara, and Jackson in Hannah's rig, and Jax and her giant German Shepherd Libby in Jax's POS Durango. Well don't you know about an hour into the trip we pull up behind Jax on the side of the road with smoke pouring out of her hood. After some convincing, we leave Jax's green machine in a Walmart parking lot, transfer her trash bags full of possessions to whatever space was left in our rigs, load Libby into Hannah's backseat, Jax squeezes into my truck, and off we go.
As I mentioned earlier, Libby is a very large dog, and tends to be a worrier. Well being separated from her momma Jax was causing her some worry and obviously making her stomach hurt, which resulted in her shatting all over Hannah's backseat. Somewhere on the side of I-95 is a massive pile of poop covered towels and candy. Some prisoner is going to think he hit the jackpot and will be sorely mistaken when he grabs that candy bag....
BUT we have made it South safe and sound, the farm and weather is gorgeous, the ponies are happy, and we are off to Rocking Horse in a few weeks with eight, check in here and on Facebook for more updates.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, July 4, 2011

O'Connor Camp

So any of us under the age of 30 have been told by someone over the age of 30 that they "are too old for this". Maybe after a "rambunctious" late night or something else along those lines. But let me tell you, after this week, I've decided I am too YOUNG for this.
This week was O'Connor Camp with Karen, David, and Cathy, and my first time teaching at the camp. I have never been more exhausted in my life. We "youngn's" may be able to kick it till 4:00 in the morning and show up for work at 6:00, but the "more mature" folk can go to bed late, get up early, and work all day long 7 days in a row. I have never hit the snooze button so much in my life.
Aside from exhaustion camp went fantastically. The students were excellent, the horses great, and the weather perfect. It is very different to attend camp as an instructor rather than a student (I went in 2005), but I got as much if not more out of it. On the educational side it was a huge opportunity to hone my skills as a clinician and instructor. Watching three extremely accomplished professionals, Karen, Cathy, and David, teach in their different styles but all achieving the same end goal was really interesting.
The one common thread between them all and the whole camp is the step by step way that everything is taught which inevitably leads to success. Everything is explained and taught in such a way that every one of the students can go home and recreate it. Isn't that what all clinics should be like? But they aren't, and that's what makes this camp stand alone.

Monday, May 23, 2011

One Hell of a Weekend (no pun intended)

The Virginia Horse Trials went about as well as a horse show could. I'll just go one by one.
Chuck Akre's Take Two won her preliminary division from start to finish which has been a long time coming for this mare and Mr. Akre. She has always been one of my favorites and Mr Akre was my first owner and a huge supporter. 
I rode Annie Yeager's Quick Proposal in the preliminary while she was busy graduating. He is a steady Irish type and improved throughout the weekend finishing 2nd behind Lillian Heards lovely mare. 
Courtney and Kylie Ramsays Czechmate won his training division by a whopping 9.9 points.
Ron Reagan led his Novice division from start to finish at our first event together and Jacqueline Mars Landmark's Monte Carlo, Landmark's Ginger Rogers, and Landmark's Legendary Romance were first, first, and third in their divisions.
I don't think I have ever had this much talent to sit on and it's hugely exciting. These horses are young but each one of them has more natural ability then any other horse I've competed (sorry Maggot ;)) and now its my job to nurture that talent and the hardest part will be to not let my ambition push them too quickly, but in the long run it will pay off.  
One thing that everyone should sit up and take notice of is the talent that is coming out of Ms Mars breeding program, it is only going to get bigger and better and it's an honor to be involved in that program. 
I can't thank Jax, Shannon, Max, and Barry enough for their help this weekend, they kept everything running like clockwork in the barns and Karen and David showing up for my rides even though Karen had her own horses to compete and David keeping up with his course designing responsibilities. And of course Mama and Papa Kieffs for keeping us fed and truck tires inflated!