For the January 2021 update to this story (its good!), see our new issue.

Our generation has never experienced such a time of uncertainty and fear. So much has changed; so many hopes and dreams have been altered.

But with more time on our hands and less on our “to do” list, it’s also a good time for self-discovery, to look into your heart and identify what simple pleasures have always made you happy. What are your true passions in life?

Of course, with age often comes enhanced fear. Revisiting childhood pleasures just might be the answer to minimizing that fear and maximizing joy in your life.

A few weeks ago, I had a dream that actually came to fruition fulfilling a goal I had placed on my passion. The whole experience delivered awe-inspiring happiness I haven’t felt in a long time and freed my spirit from the fear of uncertainty.

“Our dreams are often truths without logic that reflect our waking world,” says dream expert Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos. “They are an opportunity for fulfillment.”

Horses have always been my passion. I rode competitively as a child and then again in my 30s. Over the past two decades, I found comfort in horses as pet companions certain I was too old to compete.

Seven years ago, I tried jumping fences again. However, fear (and many other excuses) kept me from progressing. I cried a lot and then quit proving to myself that, yes, I was indeed too old.

Then I got cancer. And in finding the strength to overcome that obstacle, I also found fearlessness.

So I pulled up my bootstraps (literally) and started training again in January. This time, my goal was competing in a horse show in the fall of this year. I would be happy to simply complete at 2’ course (the smallest offered) as long as I made it around the arena in one piece!

Then came quarantine and the news that all events would be cancelled until further notice. At the same time, my one-year cancer follow-up was postponed until July enhancing both the uncertainty of our world as we know it – and my wellbeing.

With all this spinning around my head, I had a dream that I was not going to live until the horse show returned. Knowing how important my goal was, my trainer staged a mock horse show at our barn just so I could get dressed up and jump my 2’ course. I felt the strong compassion and kindness of this dream and woke with a deep contentment.

Then, one month later The Quarantine Classic Horse Show was announced, a national competition where individual barns set up assigned courses and submit videotaped rounds to be judged by real judges.

I couldn’t believe it! And while it was a bit sooner than anticipated, I was excited to take part. My dream had come true and I had to follow my heart; it was bigger than me. The excitement of washing my partner, Tristan, cleaning boots and tack and getting dressed in my 20-year old show attire made me feel like a kid again.

The day of the event, my trainer told me she had confidence I could do the 2’6” division. Fear set in and I dug deep to find the courage. And then I just did it.

The sense of accomplishment was something I hadn’t felt in years; pure amazement and sheer joy. I am living my passion and my spirit continues to soar.

What is it that would fill you with awe-inspiring joy at this time? It’s the prescription we all need right now. Look deep in your heart, find it and follow.

THE BALANCE: There is no better time to rediscover your passion. It is never too late and you are never too old.

On the handsome and talented “Tristan” at Tahquitz Equestrian, Indio, CA

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Comments (15)

  • Dr.Susan Murphy

    Oh, Lauren, what an inspiring, uplifting and beautiful story. Thank you for sharing your video that illustrates the wonder of your feat. My eyes are filled with tears of happiness and praise for you. Congratulations!

    • Lauren Del Sarto

      Thank you very much, Susan. So happy my words moved you. The experience truly was surreal. I hope all are taking the time to find happiness in their true passions right now.

      Much love,

  • Margaret Elmendorf

    Hi Laurie, so sorry to hear that you have cancer. That is a hard one but glad to hear that the horses have helped you through some of it. I wish you the best and remember all the good times we had with all the horses. Take care.

    • Lauren Del Sarto

      HI, MARGIE!!! I WOULDN’T BE HERE WITHOUT YOU, my very first coach!! We had the best of times as you took me under your wing and had me ride so many different ponies. Life at Middleton is many of my best ever memories. THANK YOU for seeing the potential and letting me muck stalls and work in exchange for lessons. You gave me the best foundation I could have ever asked for. I love you!!!


  • Thanks for sharing your dream-come-true story! You are inspiring on many levels. I shared with you my imagist poem.
    My daughter and I have been binge-watching Heartland, which is about horses, a family-oriented Tv series filmed in Canada. Have you heard of it? The main character, Amy, is a “horse whisperer,” who is able to understand and help not just the horse, but the rider/owner. Anyway, your story reminds me of Heartland because it’s heart-warming/horsey!

    • Lauren Del Sarto

      I will certainly check it out! Thanks for taking the time to read and to share, Pam.

      Be well ~

  • What courage you gained, and how wonderful that you could quite literally fulfill your dream! Definitely inspires the rest of us to follow ours as well. And–good luck with your one-year appointment that will finally take place in July! Wishing you WELL… Anita

    • Lauren Del Sarto

      Thank you so very much for your kind words, Anita. Wishing you the same on fulfilling your dreams and embracing the journey ~


  • Mary Lou Green

    Dear Lauren,
    The jumps may have been 2’6″ but I watched you soar a mile high! Congratulations on achieving your dream and paying attention to your intuition. I found myself leaning into every jump the way you leaned into the challenge. Hurray for you!

    Mary Lou

  • Thrilled to see you do the quarantine class – earlier than your fall goal! Way to go Lauren. You looked terrific.

    • Lauren Del Sarto

      Thank you, Sheryl! So fun, exciting, scary and…just awesome. Can’t wait til the next one (:

      Be well ~

  • Deborah Arenstein

    Hi friend – so much I want to say but I’ll start with my wishes for your health and wellness, and my thanks for going for it …. I’ve started riding again and the fear that comes with age and the struggle to stay fit and find endurance is real. I feel inspired by you and am also taken back about 40 years to some glory days we shared. So much admiration and you look relaxed and confident – congrats! Sending love and hugs your way. xo Deborah (Pierce? Arenstein? – don’t make me try to remember what my last name was back then!)

    • DEBBIE!! So great to hear from you!! Thank you for your kind words and for reaching out… So happy to hear you are back to riding as well. It certainly isn’t as easy as it used to be! I have to start with 30 min of yoga and stretching before I get in the saddle. LOL. Are you in touch with Kim or any others? Still in Richmond? Please reach out via email: [email protected].

      Be well ~