Photo: Nicole Severino
Excerpt from the July issue of Heels Down Magazine.
Groom-turned-pro eventer Megan Kepferle knows what she needs to be happy – and it’s not just a star-studded riding resume.
After stepping away from nearly a decade of grooming for international eventers to focus on her own competitive riding career, Megan Kepferle could have felt a great deal of pressure to prove herself as a rider. After all, she was emerging from five years of being embedded in high performance training sessions, Olympic team selections (and heartbreaks), and a pressure-cooker of ambition and relentless drive as a groom to four-star eventer Sinead Halpin.
It’s a level of the sport she thought she always longed to reach. Now, she says, she has liberated herself from the Olympic dream, like letting go of a balloon.
“It’s hard to verbalize what it’s like to be at that level. I’m lucky enough to have had a front row seat to that for a while,” said Megan, commonly known as Meg Kep in the eventing world. “It’s all I’d ever wanted. Those riders are my friends, they’re just like me…I see what they give up and I don’t need to do that anymore. I don’t need to go to the Olympics to be happy.”
When the 32-year-old from Lexington Park, Md., recently turned the page to focus on her own riding and her job as Area II NAJYRC chef d’equipe, she shuffled her priorities, putting balance and financial stability a small step ahead of competitive goals. It’s a balance that she finds lacking in the competitive upper levels of the sport, and one that she hopes to promote to the young riders she interacts with as well.