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Blogger Lauren Sprieser

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.

March 24, 2016

No Schedule

Now that the winter season is nearing its end, I feel like I'm finally ready for it to start.

The best thing for me, as far as motivation and diligence is concerned, is to get my butt kicked. I never fight harder, focus better, or dig in deeper than when I've had my teeth kicked in, and man, did I get my teeth kicked in in January and February. Virtually everything that could go wrong did, including a few 0s and an elimination, a brief financial crisis, a family calamity, an Achilles tendon strain, and my boyfriend breaking up with me. 

March 10, 2016

Forecasting For FEI

Baby Hurricane will be the eighth horse to enter my life as a youngster and, barring calamity, stay with me until he's developed into whatever he'll finish up as—an FEI horse, we certainly hope. Of those eight, H and four more are still too young to know how good they'll be (Johnny, age 7 and third level-ish; Danny and Dorian, both age 8 and Prix St.

February 25, 2016

The Abysmally Slow Wheel Of Progress

Hey everyone. Long time, no see. I've been radio-silent for a few weeks because nothing all that compelling has happened in the last few weeks. I ride, I teach, I work out in some capacity, I go home, I go to the shows, I make teensy increments of improvement, I repeat. 

But that doesn't mean I'm not learning. It's just that the wheels of progress were moving at a snail's pace. A plateau at worst, a tiny smudge of an upward grade at best. And that's how it goes, sometimes.

February 1, 2016

The Search For Phenomenal

Last year, an amazing client presented me with an opportunity—to find a young horse for me to develop, and to share in the expenses of the journey. It's the first time anyone's offered me a shot like this, and after I finished blubbering like a moron, the search was on.

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