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Blogger Lauren Sprieser

November 7, 2015

2015 USDF National Finals, Part I: Who Needs Pants?

I LOVE the USDF Finals. This is our third trip here, and once the scary drive through the mountains of West Virginia is over, it's just the best show. The Kentucky Horse Park is lovely. The staff running the show is an all-star team, hand picked from the country's best. The decorations in the indoor arena are left over from the previous week's National Horse Show, and it feels huge and prestigious and special.

November 3, 2015

What's In Your Tack Trunk?

There's a lot of money out there in specially curved and contoured bridles, saddles that look increasingly like the Grand Tetons, and bits—wildly expensive, of course—designed to complement your horse's palate, personality and astrological sign.

But when it comes to equipment, I'm a simple girl. My kit is pretty straightforward, and I've had a lot of success with it. Of course I want my horses comfortable and happy, and I know there's no such thing as one-size-fits-all, but I've also found that simple works best, with a few modern upgrades.

October 27, 2015

Win Or Learn

My working student, Sarah, said something to me that I loved: "You don't lose. You learn. So instead of thinking if that if you're not winning, then you're losing, think that if you're not winning, you're learning." 

So I did some learning over the weekend of regionals. And win, learn or draw, it was still a resounding success.

October 21, 2015

Catching Up From The Region 1 Finals

Time flies when you're having fun!

It's been that time of year. The weather has been almost universally spectacular, save for the storms of a few weeks ago that basically drowned South Carolina. I'm riding a ton, teaching a ton, ramping everyone up for this week's Region 1 Finals, and realized that it had been three weeks since I'd put a blog out. Yipes!

September 21, 2015

How To Bungle A Horse Show (And Have It Be The Best Thing That Could Have Happened)

Sunday, 9/13, 5 a.m. My throat is scratchy. My nose is running. My head is spinning. This is not looking good.

But I've got clients at a show at Morven Park where, thank goodness, it is GORGEOUS out. So I take my zinc and my decongestant and I log a day's work. But by the end of the day, things are a little grim. This head cold has been making its way around, and its victims are reporting that it's a few days of misery, followed by a lingering hacking cough. Ain't nobody got time for that. I go to bed early…

September 7, 2015

Break's Over

We had a lovely chunk of summertime let-down, where my students and staff were showing but not terribly hard and not at the upper levels; where I was traveling a lot to teach but still getting some time mid-day, particularly in Virginia's oppressive summer heat. I was even so bold as to take a teensy weensie three-day vacation. I'm refreshed; the horses are loose and cool.

It's go time.

August 26, 2015

The Things We Carry

I'm not a superstitious person by nature, but there are a few things I take with me to every show, and a few little routines I have that have become a habit. (Don't worry—no lucky socks in dire need of washing.) 

August 19, 2015

Embrace The Suck

I judged a few schooling shows at the Quantico Marine Base stables when I first arrived in Virginia. While there I chatted with a few of the faithful Marine husbands, at the show to support their wives. I forget how we got on the subject, but one told me that there’s a saying that goes around Marine basic training: “Embrace the suck.” It’s boot camp, preparing you for life as an elite warrior—it’s going to suck. And the sooner you accept that it’s going to suck, the easier things get.

August 12, 2015


It's been nearly a month since my last blog, and a ton has happened, and none of it has been bad.

But you haven't heard from me because in the last month, a ton has happened, and even though none of it has been bad, it has been a ton. I am grateful for the work, so, so grateful. I have terrific horses to ride, for which I am also incredibly grateful. And I have about two more weeks to push through before I get to take a three-day vacation, and man oh man, am I ever grateful!

July 19, 2015

Keeping The Good Days

Understatement of the year: life in the horse business ain't easy. The ups are terrific but the downs can be so, so down—achingly long days, dirt and sweat and blood and tears, life and death and crushed expectations and placing hopes and dreams in the hooves of 1,200-pound prey animals on lean legs. 

But those ups. The days where the horses go well. The days were the clients make progress. The big wins. Those are the good days, and the universe has this funny way of handing them to you exactly when you need them.

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