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Blogger Lauren Sprieser

October 11, 2010


“A little change'll do you good,” Sheryl Crow says. I agree. With all the usual madness around my place, I haven't had a moment to sit back and reflect, but since I'm looking at a full calendar week where I get to spend every night in my own bed, without any real chaos—something that hasn't happened since mid-September, I think?—I'm taking the luxury of a few minutes to be contemplative.

October 6, 2010

A Little Advice From My Friends

Most of my riding instruction from about age 16 on has been on upper level horses, whether made by myself or by someone else. If I were to add up all the lessons I’ve had on horses over third level and compared them to all the lessons on lower level horses, I’m sure the uppers would win. Billy, Struppie and Cleo all came to me as Prix St. Georges horses. My first real dressage horse, Nicholas, was a cantankerous Trakehner that could do a bad PSG if you begged for it. And while Ella and Midge and Fender all entered my life as kiddos, I’ve had far less help with them than with the others.

October 4, 2010

Oh, Devon!

Oh, Devon. You tease me with your glitz and glamour, your promises and prestige. You string me along just until I'm in, heart, soul and pocketbook.

That's usually about when the rain starts.

September 30, 2010

Greetings From Devon!

Every year I go to Devon, and I have a bad show. It's a wonderful, incredible show, but there is an electricity to Devon that can't be quantified or explained, and most horses pump up, and since I ride horses that are already hot and loopy, I go to Devon and bad things happen. And I swear I'll never come back (to ride— as a spectator, it's a pleasure!). And then I get conned into it again.

September 29, 2010

Michael Barisone Gave Great Lessons And A Kick In The Pants

WEG, shmeg—all the action is clearly here in Marshall, Va. (Or at least there's so much action here in Marshall, Virginia, that Nicole and I have worked ourselves into a sick, virulent froth just trying to keep up with it all. Tomato, tomahto.)

September 28, 2010

New Tests

USEF changes our dressage tests every four years, and the new tests for 2011 are available for viewing online in your Authorized Users Area, though they don't go into effect until Dec. 1. We'd been hearing lots of murmurs about changes, big and small, for the next round of tests, so I was eager to give them a look.

The changes to training level are minimal. USEF removed test 4 entirely from training, first and second levels, so I was very happy to see that my favorite movement from the 2007 T4 test, the shallow loop, was included in the 2011 T3 test.

September 24, 2010

Gearing Up

It’s T-minus one week ‘til Fender’s off to Devon, and I’ve got mixed feelings. He was a superstar, really cooking, until we tacked hind shoes on him about a week ago, and now he’s fairly convinced his hind legs are falling off. The strength and coordination is slowly building back up (honestly, how is 17.1 hands of Oldenburg felled by two thin strips of aluminum?), but the last piece of the puzzle, the real, no-holds-barred connection from hind legs to bridle that I’ve been lacking all season and was FINALLY starting to feel is still nowhere in sight. Stupid shoes.

September 15, 2010

Wearing My Coaching Hat At Morven

Last weekend I was back at Morven Park, but wearing my trainer hat, instead of my riding helmet. I'm sure that keeping seven students cool, getting them all to the ring, prepared and on time, sounds like a lot of work, but I'll take it any day over showing myself. Juggling my own horses' temperaments, swapping coats and trying to keep a bunch of different tests straight? THAT'S work. But coaching, braiding and mucking stalls, especially with my great group of ladies? Easy-peasy.

September 8, 2010

Farm Life

Let’s be clear about something: Yes, I live on a farm. And yes, I am, at least mostly, a farmer. But I’m no backwoods hick. I speak three languages. I’ve been to almost every continent (missing Asia and Antarctica). I’ve rock climbed, bungee jumped and sea kayaked. I’m a wordly, well-travelled girl.

September 2, 2010

Lessons Are A Great Way To Keep Track Of Progress

The next function for Ella and Midge is a clinic with Michael Barisone. And since both of those are a long ways away, I've been just focusing on the basics: Ella's been in a snaffle, no spurs or whip, and almost exclusively out in the field, and Midge has been hacking and stretching and not much else.

So I put them both back to real work on Sunday, and wasn't really sure what to expect when Scott Hassler came to give lessons on Monday.

Um, WOW. I have some really stellar horses!

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