Sunday, Apr. 21, 2024

Engagement (With Two Legs, Not Four)



A little more than four years ago, I matched on a dating app with a funny Indian engineer with a big nose, holding a bottle of Zima—the disgusting Sprite-and-rubbing-alcohol-esque garbage that teenagers got drunk on in the 90s—in his profile picture. Our first date was at a local pizza place, and I left thinking that he was nice, well-adjusted and responsible, and more than a little afraid of me—in other words, absolutely not my type. But he wanted to see me again and take me to a REALLY nice restaurant in town, and I figured hey, dinner there is NEVER a bad idea.

His name is Ravi, and as of last week, he’s my fiancé.


Yep, I’ve conned the poor sod into marrying a horse girl. In my defense, I have not hidden one ounce of my crazy. That first date was in September of that year, and just a few months later, I sprung the “surprise! I live in Florida four months of the year. Catch ya on the flip side.” He did not flinch at the weird hours, the funny smells, or the layer of omnipresent hair and arena footing in my car. Moreover, he didn’t flinch when Danny nearly bankrupted me, when Danny and Fender died months apart, when I took the biggest financial gamble of my life in borrowing the money to buy Elvis, or when any of the 10 million other calamities of the last few years have happened. He’s stuck around. He’s gotten on a horse, voluntarily, his OWN IDEA—not mine. He has watched me ride at the USDF Finals, on the live stream, from a sports bar. This is a good, good man.

And so now, wedding planning begins. For whatever reason, most of the wonderful friends of my adult life were married before I met them, so I haven’t been to a lot of weddings. As such, I really don’t know where to begin on what I even want mine to look like. So I went to Pinterest and typed in “wedding ideas.”

That was a BAD IDEA you guys. Bad.

Because I can pack 12 horses worth of stuff into the dressing room of a three-horse rig. I can braid in the dark. I can put a double bridle back together correctly every time in less than two minutes, and I can back up any trailer into a tiny spot, around a corner, no problem.

But wedding planning? I am SO not equipped.


I can clean a stall in minutes, but I do not know what I want my wedding theme to be. I can bang tails and pull manes, but I have no idea what neckline of dress will suit all my bridesmaids’ body types. I can recite any of my horses’ pedigrees back to the Godolphin Arabian, but I don’t know a thing about groom’s side versus bride’s side. And WHAT IS WITH ALL THE TULLE AND FAIRY LIGHTS?!

I missed the day in Girl School where this was a thing. Instead, I learned how to tame Trakehners and pack feet. I couldn’t tell you about guest lists or save-the-date cards, but I can show you our expansive system on Dropbox with all our horses’ Coggins and vaccination reports, so they’re available to us from anywhere. I’d much rather be choreographing freestyles than contemplating the procession down the aisle. I’m much more at home in my muck boots than in high heels, and I’m more comfortable bossing around the feed delivery guy than a caterer.

But we’re doing this. It’s a big, important life thing. So it’s time to poke my comfort bubble and evolve.

This much we’ve got figured out: We like purple. Venues are expensive. I’m gonna need to have a look at the competition schedule for 2022 because we’re going to try to sandwich this thing in between the dressage shows we like to hit in May and June, before it gets too hot. Neither of us are church people, so we’re going to need something called a Civil Officiant; the Commonwealth of Virginia does not recognize ministers who have been ordained online (which, for the record, I am, so if you want this hot mess of a horse girl to perform your wedding in 48 OTHER states, let me know). I want our ceremony to be cell phone free, and I want to try to be as environmentally sustainable in our choices as possible.

And based on all the horror show videos online, no, none of my horses will be making an appearance in the ceremony, thankyouverymuch.

For the rest, I’m just going to steel myself and head back to Pinterest. Pray for me. (And for my poor Horse Husband To Be.)

Lauren Sprieser is a USDF gold, silver and bronze medalist making horses and riders to FEI from her farm in Marshall, Virginia. She’s currently developing The Elvis Syndicate’s Guernsey Elvis and her own Gretzky RV and Ojalá with hopes of one day representing the United States in team competition. Read more about her at, or follow Lauren Sprieser on Facebook and Instagram.




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