– Lauren Kieffer
Lauren has been riding since she was six years old. She was gifted riding lessons for her birthday and so began the start of a future Upper Level Eventing equestrian's career.
Born to "non-horsey" parents, like many horse crazy kids, Lauren begged her parents for a horse for over a year before they took the plunge and bought a horse.
Growing up in the midwest, Lauren rode hunter jumpers for the first few years with her first mount, Fred, an Appaloosa who taught her the ropes.
Lauren's eventing career began at age 12 with an OTTB named Cardinal. Cardinal and Lauren did not have the most auspicious start--at their first event, they parted ways on their way to the xc start box-- but it was clear Lauren was determined, “It took me two years to get my first ribbon for finishing eighth,” she recalls.
As a hardworking teenager, Lauren was lucky enough to clinic with David and Karen O'Connor one summer. This led to a position as a working student with them which eventually led to Lauren's first 4* competition in Kentucky.
After spending six years with the O’Connor Equestrian Team, Lauren was fortunate enough to transition to working as the resident rider at Stonehall Farm for Ms. Jacqueline Mars, a longtime owner of legendary horses like Giltedge and Prince Panache for David and Karen. With an exceptional breeding program directed by Ms. Mars producing top young eventing prospects, Lauren began competing new talented and promising sport horses.
The opportunity has had a profound impact on Lauren's career, as Lauren describes, saying: "Ms. Mars has been the biggest supporter of my career and has given me unbelievable opportunities from the very beginning. Being able to utilize her knowledge, ride and train out of her facilities and compete the wonderful horses she breeds—I wouldn’t have a career without that."