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Blogger Lauren Sprieser

June 16, 2016

Let Summer Begin

I’ve been on the road for several consecutive weeks, between clinics and horse shows and the general chaos of spring and summer, and I love it, truly. If I didn’t, this would have burned me out long ago. But I’m staring down two—TWO!—consecutive weekends at home with not much on my dance card except the normal things, and I’m quite excited. But that’s why you haven’t heard much from me. 

May 30, 2016

Outside The (Little White) Box

At the end of the day, dressage competition is done in a 20- by 60-meter arena, with perfectly manicured footing, and as such that’s where we spend a fair amount of our training time.

But staying within the confines of the Little White Box is a great way to make a rider crazy, and forget what it does to the horse, a creature evolved from wandering grazers, although admittedly every time one of my fancy Dutch things goes catapulting through the air because he’s spotted a leaf or a bird, I am reminded of how much smart the domestication process has apparently taken out.

May 15, 2016

The Prix St. Georges Club Of 2016

Some of them have been in my program for years, and some are new. Some are on horses who we’ve helped bring up the levels from the beginning of their dressage careers, and some are on horses that were already schooled to the middle levels when we met, but all are horses who we’re finishing to the level, which is pretty fun. They are the six students of mine in pursuit of their USDF Silver Medals this year, or, as I like to call them, the Prix St. Georges Club of 2016.

May 10, 2016

The International Omaha, Day 4: The Breakthrough

I tell my clients, and my friends, and my fellow riders, the same thing, a hundred times a day: horses figure “it” out, whatever “it” is, exactly when they are ready to do so, and not a minute sooner, and there’s nothing to do except calmly and coolly soldier on until they get it.

May 6, 2016

The International Omaha, Day 3.5: Making The Most Of What You've Got

Ella’s been in my life for 10 years, and she’s not really a spooky horse. She’s very, very simple minded, not a Rhodes Scholar, and that’s an asset. I tell her what to do, and she does it.

She can heat up, but usually in a very fun and useful way, and while no one can go in the CDI Grand Prix ring and piaffe 15 steps with no whip on a 100-degree day without having a pretty keen horse, Ella usually makes me inspire her, not hold her back.

May 5, 2016

The International Omaha, Day Three: Killing Time

We’re here! It’s great! And now we wait.

May 4, 2016

The International Omaha, Days 1 And 2: More Than We'd Hoped

First, I have to apologize to the people of Nebraska. 

I was born in Chicago and lived in Northern Illinois, so I am abundantly aware of everything that’s said about the Midwest. It’s flat. It’s empty. It’s the Flyover States. Yeah, yeah. I got it. 

But when the FEI announced that they’d be hosting the World Cup Final in Omaha in 2017, I said, “…for real? Omaha?! Why?!?” And in my defense, I wasn’t alone. 

Now that I’m here, I get it. And I’m a believer.

April 26, 2016

How To Make A Grand Prix Horse

Meet him at late 3 or early 4 years old. He’s keen-eyed and clever-looking, and he walks, trots and canters under saddle. He goes when you drive and whoas when you gather and mostly steers. He stands on the crossties and gets on the trailer and stands at the mounting block. He’s balanced and shiny and remarkably organized, with nice conformation and clean legs. You love him immediately, which is good, because two weeks later he’ll have kicked the stall and sliced his leg open, and grown an inch behind, and lost the capacity to turn right. Love him anyway.

April 12, 2016

What's At Steak In Omaha

I'd just taken Ella back to the stabling after our last freestyle of Florida 2016 and my phone beeped. It was a message from Thomas Bauer, who is a Big Deal Guy—he's part of show management not only for the Adequan Global Dressage Festival shows, but also organizer for some major European shows, and a member of the FEI Dressage Committee. He says he needs to speak to me.

And I have a middle-school flashback: what have I done? How much trouble am I about to be in? 

April 8, 2016

You Won't Fall Off Backwards

Being a dressage trainer in Northern Virginia means working with lots of riders with a jumping background, whether they're still actively participating in the hunters, jumpers, eventing or foxhunting, or transitioning from any of those disciplines into being a straight-up dressage rider.

Obviously good position for each of those disciplines is different, but they have a few things in common, and riders I teach coming from those disciplines are predictable in the equitation struggles they have to overcome.

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