Adventures In Farm Ownership, Clinic Organizing And Questionable Breakfast Sandwiches

Dec 2, 2012 - 12:24 AM
The indoor at Sprieser Sporthorse, in the Worse-Before-It-Gets-Better, but Still-Giving-Lauren-Heartburn stage.


Mondays are my day off, which, naturally, means I have an entire week’s worth of stuff to do. It starts with a pilates class at 7:30 and runs on from there. Today, I particularly want to get home for a bit between my class and a 10:30 meeting in Middleburg because the guys who are going to be tweaking our indoor arena footing should arrive sometime that morning, and I need to bring them up to speed – with Michael’s sickness, the clinic is now THIS weekend instead of LAST weekend, AND I have Colleen here Friday, which means we need to get this DONE.

Naturally, they do not show up Monday morning, so I have to bolt off to Middleburg. This is a great way to start the week, though: a meeting with Danielle from Charles Owen. It’s supposed to be a meeting about working together on a super fun contest idea (more on that when it comes to fruition!), but ends up with the super exciting news that Charles Owen wants to sponsor me. Yeah!! 

But that’s really the highlight of my day. I go from Middleburg to the DMV in Warrenton to get plates for the new trailer (for the THIRD TIME, though admittedly the first two were because I didn’t have everything I needed – my fault), but it took TWO HOURS because when I registered my business as an LLC on the IRS website, the IRS said DO NOT PUT LLC AT THE END OF YOUR REGISTERED BUSINESS NAME, so I didn’t; naturally, the receipt for the trailer was to Sprieser Sporthorse LLC, which the DMV just couldn’t figure out. Maddening.

I make it home just in time to turn right back around to go to West Virginia to see a horse for sale with a client (a horse, thank GOD, we love), and I get home quite late, still with no sign of the arena fixing guys until 9:30 p.m., when they call to announce they’re coming over to drop off equipment…

… which they do. At the neighbor’s property, in spite of the big sign that says “FARM THAT WAY, HOUSE THIS WAY.” Oh jeez.

The delay, however, gives us a few hours on a ghastly cold, wet morning to get almost all the horses worked in the indoor before we need to bail outta there. And my amazing client Jackie has kindly offered us the use of her ring, so we take three horses (including two first timers) over, where the first timers are geniuses and the old hat is a dork. Go figure.

I have to cancel all my Tuesday lessons because it’s quite gross and cold outside, so I take the rest of the day to get some office work done. I’ve just learned that I will have a fifth horse going with me to Florida – a client is selling her horse, SO SAD, since I love both the person and the horse dearly, but I’ll be delighted to have him down South with me. But since I have only four stalls at the moment, and the barn those four are at is full, I need to find a fifth, and now the need for a working student while in Florida is even more desperate.

Enter Barbie, who has been INCREDIBLY patient as I’ve fluctuated from six horses to eight horses back to six horses and back to four horses and now up to five, possibly six horses. She has stalls for me at her incredibly beautiful barn just outside of White Fences. Check.

And enter Emma! Emma is taking a gap year between high school in Norway and Duke University in the fall, and she wants to work for me. Hoorah!


I also learn that, because of all the waffling on working student, no working student, full-time working student, part-time working student, I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing, the apartment I was holding out for in Florida’s been given to someone else. Ack.

Fortunately, the weather’s delightful today, so we get everyone ridden. The sun is shining, I can actually teach and do my job, and I am not too cranky.

The indoor is going through that “gotta get worse before it gets better” stage. This involves pulling ALL the footing up into a GIANT pile (indoor’s 90×210 – a LOT of footing in that amount of space), adding stuff, spreading it out, piling it back up again, adding more stuff, etc. I know it’s going to get better. But oh jeez oh man, it looks BAD right now. I am reassured it will get done, and the guys are here working until well into the night. But I’m not really sleeping anymore.


My poor tractor. It is COLD this morning, and when I try to drag my outdoor, I just end up moving little frozen bits of sand around.

My poor staff. I’m pretty frazzled at this point, which is, naturally, when the washing machine explodes.

Screw this, we’re going to breakfast.

Things are much better after an egg sandwich, though it’s still quite frozen out, so we don’t get to riding until midday, and the ring still isn’t done, so I have to cancel yet another evening of lessons, which means that since saddle fitter Colleen is here Friday (no lessons), and Michael’s here all weekend (no lessons), I’ve had one day of lesson income all week. Cue the ramen noodles.

Also, my horses’ insurance is up for renewal. Somehow this always gets lost in the shuffle, and while I promised I’d be totally on it this year, I am not. Naturally, I need one more document signed by my veterinarian who is, of course, out of town until the day before the forms are due.

The washing machine, at least, I can fix.

I, however, am ready to maim just about everyone.


Colleen is here and, thank GOD, self-sufficient. My horses, for whatever reason, are WILD LOONY TUNEYs, and make me look like an idiot. It’s Molly’s day off, so it’s just me and Allison in the barn having to work every horse there ourselves, until lunchtime, when Allison is looking a terrifying shade of green and gets sent home.

Fortunately, everything is pretty much done, including the ARENA! Which looks amazing. We are given instructions on how to drag said arena, which include taking a piece off the back of our drag, which seems odd, but we roll with it.

So I spend a while trying to figure out how to get everything done all weekend without Allison (who, according to Molly, is trying very valiantly not to die) including moving a bunch of ride times all around, only to have Ms. Allison walk in the barn looking pale but otherwise unscathed. Life lesson: When a box of frozen breakfast sandwiches says, “Do not refrigerate for longer than three days,” don’t eat them after a month in the refrigerator. Duly noted.

So hooray! Everything’s looking pretty good. The ring is done. The wildness has been ridden out of my horses. My staff is no longer worshiping the porcelain throne. The washing machine is holding steady. And the weather is supposed to be fine. I think, “We’re going to be just fine for this clinic.”

Friday Night:

Well, that was predictable.

While out to dinner with Colleen, I learn:

- the tweaking of the ring drag has rendered it useless, and I will have to drag it tomorrow before the clinic, when one of my clients wants to be riding, and another needs to have use of the ring with Colleen.

- Billy, my now-20-year-old Young-Riders-gone-Grand-Prix-horse, who I’ve had leased out for the last four years to an absolutely wonderful student, is not going to Florida with her, but rather is coming back home to me. This was part of the agreement, that she could return him at any time, and so this is no big deal, and I will LOVE having him home, except that I don’t, technically, have a stall for him.

- I no longer have a working student for Florida: before emailing me, Emma-From-Norway had interviewed with Michael, who hadn’t been in touch. Until today. Since working for an Olympian is, clearly, a much bigger deal than working for me, she’s (wisely) going to take that job, and I am back to square one.


Arena drag: fixed, thanks to some heroics from my dad, and my always-helpful BA in liberal arts, which has given me the skills to use a wrench.

Arena: dragged and fluffy.

Clients: horses ridden, saddles ordered, big smiles.

Staff: still healthy, and reassuring me that they’ll be fine keeping Billy in our little temporary shed-row barn, where there’s no running water or electricity, as long as they get to play with him. Bless them! DONE.

Floridian Working Student: no progress on this, nor on an apartment for him/her, but I just can’t work on that right now, so that’ll have to wait for next week.

Horse insurance: also no progress, but a Plan B has been made.

Washing machine: holding steady.

Signs up, bathroom clean, horses groomed, and Michael’s on time. Here we go!


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