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Lauren Sprieser

November 9, 2013

Rolling With The Punches: USDF National Finals, Day 3

There are many good qualities required to be declared a "good rider." A solid seat, quiet hands, lots of know-how and experience. But to be a good show rider, you need one other thing—the ability to roll with the punches. Because if you can't, not only will you not win much, but you'll also stroke out. Showing horses is barely-organized chaos under the best of times.

And sometimes, it's not the best of times.

November 8, 2013

USDF National Finals, Day Two

I have quoted this clever one-liner I read somewhere about horse showing before, and I'll use it again: Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains.

While it was a gorgeous, sunny day in Lexington, Ky., today, for Fender and I, it rained.

After our Regional Finals performances—where Fender was World Champion of the World in our warm-up class and then super-exhausted for his Finals—I was determined to not spend my best horse in the locker room, to come into the National Finals Championship class with lots of energy.

November 7, 2013

USDF National Finals, Day One

In spite of an absolutely TERRIFYING drive over the mountains of West Virginia (during which Billy and Fender were absolute princes, such great little soldiers, plus OMG I love my Jamco trailer), we are safely tucked into the inaugural USDF Finals. We arrived in Kentucky just as the sun was setting, and also as the rainstorm moved in, and of course the first thing that happened was that we expected some signage telling us where to go.

October 28, 2013

Under Pressure

Monday morning post-Regional finals, in years past, has been a day traditionally spent recuperating in the fetal position. But not this year.

Firstly, I had to return to the barn early to unlock the truck, which I had locked the night before with the keys—and all of my, Allison's and Molly's stuff—on the inside. Doh.

But more importantly, this year's competition season is not ended by the Regional finals. This year we have a National finals, which both Fender and Kristin on Billy have qualified for, and so in two weeks we're off to Kentucky for one more show.

October 23, 2013

Region 1 Finals 2013 Days 3&4: By The Numbers

Miles travelled: 300
Nights on the road: 4
Hours of sleep: mayyyybe 24
Nights I remembered to do yoga before going to bed: mayyyyybe 2

October 19, 2013

Region 1 Finals 2013 Day Two: Throwing The Plan Out The Window

Remember that plan I wrote about in my last blog, the strategy you devise through months of showing to show your horse to his best? Whether to handwalk, whether to lunge in the morning, how long to warm up, how many classes a day or a show?

Yeah. Scrap it.

October 17, 2013

Region 1 Finals 2013 Day One: Making A Plan

Team Sprieser is all settled in at the Region 1 Finals, where we are 10 horses and 8 riders strong. It's a great group of my die-hards, all of whom have been showing regularly since the beginning of the year, which means that by now, we've got it all down to a pretty good system.

October 7, 2013

Equipment Upgrades

In spite of less-than-ideal preparations for my second triathlon (including a bum back, hot weather and a birthday celebration involving a staggering number of carbs), I had a really fun day. I had a less-than-stellar swim (in which I learned not to take my strong suit for granted!), but still had the fastest swim of my group. My bike felt AWESOME, which I'm so excited about because I've really been training hard for it.

October 6, 2013

Fender's Eventing Debut

Two weeks ago my friends Sheryl and Margaret asked me if I would be the test ride for Morven Park's advanced combined test division, a combination of three- and four-star riders who didn't want to run cross-country. A test ride is done at a lot of the bigger championship events to help the judges get calibrated with each other; they judge the test ride and then chat, and then they're "warmed up," as it were, for the first "real rider." I'd get all dressed up and ride the four-star test and be on my merry way.

October 3, 2013

Worth It

I'm not a terribly spiritual person, but sometimes the Universe shouts so loudly it's hard to ignore. This was one of those weeks.

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