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Blogs - Lauren Sprieser

October 16, 2014

Bellinger, The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Somewhere I have my first ride on Billy in competition on video. The video is hysterical, because the camera was set up next to the judge's booth, which was a two-horse trailer. Billy, who has been on trucks and planes, all over Europe and North America, who yells at the trailer when it leaves without him—whether to a show or the vet or the fix-it shop, he doesn't care; he's clearly supposed to be Going Places—absolutely hates being near trailers. And so the video starts with Lendon Gray, two-time Olympian and Living Legend, leading us past, because I couldn't get him by it.

October 9, 2014

Veni, Vidi, Whoopsie

Wednesday, October 1: We're zipping merrily down the road to the Region 1 Finals in Williamston, N.C., three horse trailers, seven horses, and four nice 20-somethings. Well, Kristin is 13 and I'm now 30, but I added our ages together and then divided by two. It all works out.

September 30, 2014

The First Thirty

I have a very vivid memory of sitting on Billy for the first time. It was January of 2003, a bitterly cold night. We'd flown to Germany that day and we saw Billy and two others at a sale barn just a few kilometers from the hotel, just to cross the first few horses off the list on a whirlwind trip. I was 18, a freshman in college, and I'd never sat on a horse like Billy before.

He felt amazing. He felt like Heaven. And I remember thinking, cool—NAJYRC this year, and we will be ready for the World Equestrian Games in Aachen in 2006, if not even the Athens Olympics next year.


2 weeks 4 days ago

Happy Birthday!

You can add "Super Blogger" to your list of accomplishments. ^_^ And some of us have had to settle for NEVER having ridden a grand prix test before 30, and some of us will have to settle for NEVER riding a grand prix test ever. And here you've trained like 4 horses to that level- that's not nothing. :) Good luck on the Olympics though- at least you didn't choose gymnastics- that would have been all over with by 22! :)
September 25, 2014


I am grateful for Ella every day. I learned so, SO much from owning and training her from her young horse days up to her first Grand Prix. I am an infinitely more skilled rider for it, and she is such a tremendously good girl that she let me make all sorts of mistakes, and then fix them, without ever trying to eat me.

September 22, 2014

Quiet September Weeks

The air is crisp, the days are short, and we are in the middle of a blissfully quiet month at Sprieser Sporthorse. Everyone got the qualifying scores they needed for our Regional Finals earlier in the year, which means we didn't need to hit up the last local recognized show, which means that we have had no recognized shows our calendar, which means we've been mostly twiddling our thumbs.

And it has been GLORIOUS.

September 14, 2014

Happy Accidents

It's happened a few times now. Maybe someone grabs the wrong bridle when they tack their horse up. Maybe they've gotten a summer rub from the bridle or the halter or the grazing muzzle and we have to change nosebands until it heals. Or maybe it's just a stroke of strange, divine inspiration that makes me suggest an equipment change. 

September 9, 2014

A Week In The Life

All horses: day off.

August 23, 2014

Standing In (Hilarious) Judgement

Let me be clear: being a dressage judge is one of the toughest jobs on the planet. First, you're watching for tiny nuances of performance in a 1,000 pound animal, and then holding them up against a standard. I don't care if you're the best judge on the planet, you can't have your eyes on all the horse's body parts all at once. You're going to miss stuff, and you're only human, but everyone expects you to be ON IT, ALL THE TIME.


8 weeks 6 days ago

All the best to Billy and Kristin

Maybe 23 will be the year, but I rode Michael and Vera's Dotato until he was almost 27, and he was still making it from the rail to the quarter line in a single bound. He still passages just for the fun of it. (He's 28 now.)
8 weeks 6 days ago

In my very first dressage

In my very first dressage test, I was riding an aged Percheron/TB mare. She hadn't been to a show in a while & needless to say was thrilled to be back in the arena. When it came time for the free walk on a long rein in our first test, Annie took it upon herself to frame up like we were riding FEI level test & proceeded to passage the entire length of the arena! The judge looked close to falling off of her chair from laughing so hard! For that she wrote, "Horse shows great exuberance & enthusiasm, however this test (Intro A) does not require passage." Our Intro B test simply came with, "See comments on previous test!"
8 weeks 5 days ago

After one particularly tragic test,

the only positive thing the judge could find to write was "nice braids."
8 weeks 4 days ago

Judge's Comments

I rode my extremely volatile OTTB gelding in my second-ever dressage show. Training Level. He scooted, spooked,and bulged his way through the test. Frankly, I don't remember the score. I don't recall her writetn comments. What I will remember to my last breathe, is that after the final salute, the judge leaned out of the booth and pronounced - "Better luck next time". The judge was no less than Lazelle Knocke. At the time I was absolutely mortified. Now I laugh about it. She was a wonderful woman that I showed in front of many times after over the years and I NEVER,EVER mentioned that ride!!
6 weeks 4 days ago

Standing In (Hilarious) Judgement

My OTTB HATED dressage with every fiber of his being. I rode one trot circle that was so horrible I wondered what the judge would say. Her comment was "no discernable gait". I had no argument with that. After a different abysmal test, the wonderfully sweet judge commented "horse has moments of glory, but needs to learn to relax". I hunted her down & asked where were the moments of glory, because I didn't see any from where I was sitting! We both had a good laugh.
August 16, 2014

The Waiting Game

Michael often says that there are three kinds of riders: riders who make things happen, riders who hope things happen, and riders who wonder what the hell happened. He then adds a fourth category, riders who wait for things to happen.

At first blush, this waiting period seems like a passive process, just sitting around and wishing and praying that some opportunity will present itself, that some rich sponsor will come along, that someone will drop the next Totilas or Valegro into our laps. But that's not what he means.


9 weeks 1 day ago

Thank you, Lauren

Thank you for sharing your disappointment at times, and celebrating your successes, and all with such grace. I'm quite a bit older than you, but I still hope to grow up to be just like you as far as handling challenges and negative times, and appreciating the good. :)
August 8, 2014

Mind Your Poodles

I am a proud college graduate holding a degree in Liberal Arts, which is a bit like an English major, but even less useful, if you can imagine such a thing. I'm a lover of grammar and syntax, and have an extensive vocabulary in a couple of languages. But I need a new word, because "problem" and its various synonyms isn't cutting it.