The year 2016 and the first few months of 2017 were really professionally, and personally, incredible. Ella and I had a fantastic end to our partnership, culminating in a great relationship with her new owner. Two other significant horse sales let me make a down payment on a house, and put two exciting new young horses in my life. Business is booming.
I’ve got an incredible farm in Florida sewn up for the 2018 season. I’m dating a fantastic guy. I came home from Florida in the beginning of this year knowing it would be a transition from having a finished product to show to focusing on the youngsters and on my clients, but I was ready. I started a new nutrition program, shed some pounds and felt fantastic; and I started running again and working with a personal trainer and just really felt prepared for it all.
But what goes up must come down.
Booming business means long hours and serious fatigue. I had some working student interns who couldn’t keep up with the fast pace, and I had to make some changes to the way the business runs. I travelled a ton. Danny’s injury sucked the wind out of my sails, and hard.
Riding babies is exhausting, both physically and mentally; Puck was being a gem when I entered him in his first show, and in the ensuing six weeks he rounded a teenage corner and became a sassy pig who was such a rogue at said show that I only made it six movements in before saluting out. And Swagger, my 3-year-old, was out of quarantine for a whole 24 hours before whacking a hock in the field; fearing infection, he spent five days in the hospital. (He’s fine, thank God, and a model patient.)
It’s just been a hard few months, and if you all don’t think I’m abundantly aware of how First World all my problems are, think again. For me, that makes my headspace all the more frustrating: with all the actual strife and suffering in the world, I’m letting struggles with my ponies and long hours get me down? We were showing just miles from Charlottesville, Va., the weekend of the horrible white supremacist rally a few weeks ago. The photos from Houston are horrifying. A little perspective, please.
I needed a paradigm shift. I needed a plot twist. And I needed to be able to kick my own ass out of it.
I have a longtime friend and student whose husband is in professional football. They were looking at some promotional material from their team, a poster containing the names of all the team members superimposed with the word “Grit,” and its definition. Out of the blue, her husband—who I’ve only met maybe three or four times at this point—turns to her and says, “you know who has grit? Lauren Sprieser has grit.”
It’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about me. And it’s a word that’s been showing up in my life more and more. I’ve been thinking about a tattoo for years, but it always came down to this: what will I always need a reminder of?
A few weeks ago, it hit me: grit. I’ll never not need to be gritty.
So now I have a reminder on my wrist. And I’m up off the mat, ready to be who I need to be for my clients and my friends and my horses.
Danny is back to work. Puck and I had a long conversation about how my right rein isn’t going away, and he’s taken a deep breath about it and is, for now, letting me drive. Swagger is out of the hospital and a delight to be around. I’ve had a quiet month of August to put some twinkle back in my eyes and pep back in my step, so I can go back to traveling like mad and killing myself again.
Exhausting and frustrating as it all is, I wouldn’t have it any other way. And now, when things get a little tough, I can just glance down, and remember what I have within that’s equipped me to handle it all.
Do you have a cool tattoo, horsey or otherwise? Share it in the comments!