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Blogger Lauren Sprieser

September 22, 2011

Book Smarts

"Hang on, Lauren, I'll be right back."

Midge and I have just finished a set of piaffe work, and we're on a walk break. Midge is wonderfully motivated in the piaffe, and I can make him quicker, or I can make him cover more ground. What I can't do is make him more active, more springy. I can't add volume to the piaffe.

The reason I can't do this is because I can't relax my leg and let it quietly and rhythmically bump him in the piaffe without also pulling on the reins. And I feel like a moron. It's like there's a string connecting the two. UGH.

September 15, 2011

Progress Requires Patience And Some Time Spent Making Less-Than-Stellar Gaits

It hasn't been all self-reflection and teaching-awesome-people-who-kick-butt here in scenic Marshall, Virginia. My three yahoos have been holding their own.

Fender, now the Grand High Master of Flying Changes, continues to make great strides in operating his front end and hind end with proficiency AND simultaneously. Fender is pretty classic Sandro Hit—beautiful, flowing and inclined to be slow behind and tight in the back. So priority numero uno has been quick behind.

September 12, 2011

Years Gone By, Priorities Changed

We've been talking a lot about where we were 10 years ago today. I was a high school senior, having just returned from a trip to New York City for a cousin's wedding. On September 9, 2001, I ran my fingers over the World Trade Center's cold frame.

But that's not what I wanted to write about.

August 30, 2011

When Plans Fail

Michael, Vera and I came up with a plan. I would drive up to their place once a week, leave home Monday mid-day, ride both horses Monday night, ride again Tuesday morning, then drive home. It would give me the help I need while still keeping me around for my students, so I'm not sacrificing their educations to bolster my own.

Then we had a hurricane.

I am finding that all my plans are being bamboozled, either by nature or by my own hand, to the point where I'm pretty sure I'm running my own sketch comedy show.

August 25, 2011

Stockholm Syndrome

Long, long ago (a few months) in a galaxy far, far away (the Chantilly, Va., Dover Saddlery store), I heard a young person lamenting how boring her weekend was going to be, because she had to take a DRESS-AAAAAHGE lesson. She pouted, making a face and crossing her arms.

I could have cried.

I felt the same way I feel when I hear my students tell me tales of previous trainers reducing them to tears, telling them they were idiots or telling them they'd never achieve anything until they dreaded riding, or at least dreaded riding dressage.

August 23, 2011

Shake, Rattle & Roll

I'm home! Home, home, home! No clinics to teach, no shows to attend.

To welcome me home? A 5.8 earthquake, epicenter only an hour or so away.

After 10 weeks of feeling like the sky was falling, the earth opened up. Awesome.

But the chaos appears to have settled for now, though apparently there are theories that there could be more quakes—even more sinister ones—to come. Let's just say that tonight I'm eating dessert first.

August 17, 2011

Confessions Of A Success Junkie

"You talk all the time about how horses are allowed to be where they are; how Fender's allowed to feel like his butt fell off, or how Midge is allowed to lose his confidence sometimes, or how sometimes Ella's going to feel a little tired after three hard days and really just needs to go out for a hack and it's OK," my friend Joan is saying to me. "So why aren't you allowed to be where you are?"

August 12, 2011

Barn Rules

1. If you turn it on, turn it off. If you open it, close it. If you use it, put it back in the same condition—and location—you found it. And if you come across my gloves, please put them back in my helmet, because I'm most certainly looking for them; it is my natural state.

2. Your lesson begins at the time we've scheduled it for. If you have to cancel, try to do it before 24 hours. There are directions on my website; use those, not Mapquest or Google.

3. Wear a helmet, always, every time, every ride, no questions asked. This is not negotiable. Seriously.

August 11, 2011

Day 3 At Morven And An Epiphany

The final day at Morven jacked the temps back up to their normal high-90s, and all the ponies just deflated. When I got on Fender to school (at 6:30 a.m., thank you), I swear he looked back at me like, “You MUST be joking. You MUST!!”

I was not, alas, poor Stinky, so he sighed dramatically and rode like a good kid and went back to the barn feeling very pleased with himself, having made a big, lovely change each way, half-passes that didn’t suck, and lovely uphill trot work like a prince. Good man.

August 7, 2011

Conquering Morven, Day 1 & 2

Well, this is not quite the weekend I had planned, but we're making it work.

First, Landon returned to Hunterland much sooner than expected—a stall opened up with a new trainer who places a much higher premium on flatwork than the last, so his owner needed to move fast. I'm disappointed, of course, but happy he's in good hands.

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