Lauren Kieffer's Olympic journey all started more than 20 years ago, when her father sold his BMW F650 motorcycle to buy his daughter her first horse.
The Mount Carmel native and equestrian Olympian was given her first Appaloosa gelding horse named Fred at 6 years old. She was gifted with riding lessons for her birthday and the rest is history.
“I was always horse crazy,” Keiffer said. “I think it’s just like a lot of little girls, they’re horse crazy and it just stuck with me and when I started riding I loved it.”
Her first young rider horse Snooze Alarm has been with Kieffer for about 15 years but has since retired from the game.
Kieffer says her horses are just like family.
“They’re just like people,” Kieffer said. “They have different personalities so it takes them a while to get a relationship.”
Her other horse Ron Reagan was sold to her for only $1.
“The horse was really naughty and the guy didn’t want him anymore,” Kieffer said.
Like any human, Kieffer says you have to adapt to the horse’s personality and find out how they can be successful so the rider can be successful as well.
And that's exactly what she's done.
Kieffer took second place in the 2016 Rolex Kentucky CC14 and was a member of the team that took home a gold medal in the 2015 Pan American Games, which she also placed seventh in individually.
Kieffer hopes to continue her successes in the upcoming Summer Games.
“I haven’t really gotten myself excited yet [for the Olympics],” Kieffer said. “It was certainly always a goal [to go to the Games].”
As an equestrian, the Olympian encourages others to succeed by taking your time because “the slower you go, the faster you get there.”