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Lauren Sprieser

March 24, 2014

The Mad Dash Home

Normally I stay in Florida until around April 1. It gets me home a week or so before the first horse show at Morven Park, so I can see the riders heading to that show once or twice before we go. Usually by then the weather has cheered up in Virginia, and while that's mostly about me not wanting to freeze my ass off, it is also a little bit about wanting the transition to be less awful on the horses. A 40* temperature change is bound to happen either way, but waiting until 4/1 usually means going from 90* in Florida to 50* at home, which isn't so bad.

March 21, 2014

White Fences, A Show To Be Proud Of

I keep my horses in the White Fences subdivision, a dressage-focused enclave in Loxahatchee, Fla., Wellington's northwestern neighbor, for a couple of reasons. The most obvious is that Michael's farm is here - in fact, this year I was at the farm right next-door, and I hope to return here next season. White Fences is also safe and quiet, a lovely reprieve from the hustle and chaos of Wellington proper. We can take the horses out for a quiet hack around the circle and not be worried about traffic or road crossings.

March 9, 2014

Into The Big Ring

It felt a bit like pushing a wet noodle up a hill. He's a terribly ghastly color, between his old icky winter coat and his new shiny black one. When he was body clipped, we missed and took off a thin strip of mane, which has grown in at a very irritating and useless length. He was a bit impressed by the environment on Day 1, and a bit exhausted on Day 2.

But damnit, Fender made his FEI debut this weekend, and put in two perfectly presentable Prix St. Georges tests, making him the third (of three) of my own horses that I trained myself to go from baby to FEI. How 'bout dem apples?

March 7, 2014

The Easiest Choice

I lived in New Hampshire for a summer, a working student for Pam Goodrich, 21 years old and having the time of my life. New Hampshire is the one state in the union where seatbelts are not law, and I always just found it odd, the adamance and passion people would use to defend their choice not to wear one.

"They don't guarantee my safety!"

"There are lots of accidents where seatbelts leave you worse off. They can even kill!"

"No one gets to tell me what to do!"

March 6, 2014

Coping Skills

I have been so lucky as to have some phenomenal horses in my life, including the three that I've trained up the levels from youngsters—Ella, Midgey and, on his way up, Fender. I often get asked what I'm looking for when I pick a young horse. How do I "know" what they'll become?

February 26, 2014

Why Show?

Why do we go to shows? There are four reasons.

Why we show horses in general is a subject for much deeper study. Why do we want to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars taking a 1200-pound prey animal to a scary environment all so that someone in a little box can tell us why we're not perfect at it, and maybe earn a few bucks' worth of ribbon and, maybe, if we're lucky, some delightful GMO glassware? An excellent question, and certainly one that proves the Equestrian Psychosis.

February 24, 2014

Goals, 2014 Edition

There was a bit of a black cloud over my head by the end of last year. It was just one of those years, where nothing really worked out the way I'd planned, much less hoped, and to top it all off a bunch of my closest friends had funk-inducing years, so we were all collectively a bit mopey. 

February 19, 2014

From Billy, With Love

Last year Kristin, then aged 12, and Bellinger, then aged 21, won just about everything they tried their hand at, including several awards at the Lendon Youth Dressage Festival. One of those awards garnered her a very handsome plaque, which I told her I'd be happy to hang in the barn when it was done being engraved. Apparently Billy (now 22) overheard this conversation, and this morning, he asked Kristin (now 13) to pass me this note.

My dearest Lauren - 

February 4, 2014

Making Progress

I am so, So, SO happy to be here.

It's not just the weather (though yes, that's really very lovely.) It's the training. It's getting at least one, if not two, lessons a day. It's getting to catch up with my friends from all over the country. And more than anything it's feeling like I'm moving forward.

January 29, 2014

Caging The Railbirds

There's a girl here at the barn who's riding a client's horse, a 7- or 8-year-old who was a real success at the lower levels, and now as she moves him up she's contending with a pretty major self-carriage issue. The previous rider of the horse had him really "broken" farther back down his neck, and so she's spending a few weeks with him, as she joked, "like he's in the English Pleasure class"—neck way up, poll the highest point and nose well, well in front of the vertical. It's not the long term strategy, of course.

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