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Debbie Lynn Kelly to Make Debut of LMK Design in Honor of Daughter


On March 26, 2015, Debbie Lynn Kelly lost her daughter, Lauren Michelle Kelly, to cystic fibrosis. One week after the seven-year anniversary of losing Lauren, Debbie will debut LMK Design, or ‘Desi,’ at the Missouri Paint Horse Club’s Spring Thaw.

The “LMK” in Desi’s name is honor of Lauren, who was passionate about riding and showing paint horses. In 2010, she was awarded the American Junior Paint Horse Association Youth Member of the Year. To Lauren, riding symbolized freedom and victory. She started her own graphic design business, LMK Design, when she was 13 years old, and was featured in many equine publications.

After Lauren passed, Debbie was left with her horses. They had recently purchased Lilly, Desi’s dam, with the intention for Lauren to show her and breed her later on. Unfortunately, Lauren never got the chance to show Lilly.

“After Lauren died, I showed Lilly in a couple of classes, but then opted to show another one of her horses and breed Lilly,” Debbie explained. John Kayser, the Kelly’s trainer, suggested that Debbie breed her to The Sugar Daddy.

“Desi, the first colt, was adorable, so we bred her again, this time to Whata Vested Asset,” she said.

After he was born, Whata LMK Legacy or ‘Boo,’ was diagnosed with pneumonia. The Kelly’s kept him in their air conditioned garage for two months so he could recover. After Boo, Lilly also had LMK Good Sugar. Because Boo’s condition impacted the resources the Kelly’s had for showing and training, the colts got a later start than Debbie had hoped.

But, Debbie is thrilled to finally be able to show Desi.

“Debuting Desi is the culmination of a dream that has been five years in the making,” she said. “I have raised them from babies, and they have my heart.”

Debbie and Desi will be showing in the western pleasure walk/trot events, as well as the performance halter and overo color classes. She plans to continue to show Desi throughout the season.

“I would obviously love to keep all of Lilly’s foals, but they are all exceptional and deserve to be shown. I hope to find good show homes for them,” Debbie said when asked about her plans for the other foals.

The most important thing to her is that Lauren’s legacy continues: “Everyone at the barn believes that Lauren rides with me each time I show. She would be so excited to see Desi make his debut. Her horses were her reason to keep fighting. These are the colts that Lauren would have raised, and it is our way of ensuring her legacy and name live on.”


About the Author – Olivia Bradish has been an equestrian for 15 years. She attends the University of Michigan and works for The Michigan Daily. Olivia shows the all-around events with her horse, CSR Roan Bar Penny, known around the barn as London. They enjoy showing in the showmanship, horsemanship, equitation, and trail.

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