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Blogger Lauren Sprieser

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.

January 18, 2016

One Night At Global

Ella and I kicked off 2016 in the first CDI-W of the year. She felt absolutely amazing in the warm-up, so energetic and keen to my aids, the best I've ever had her. I feel great about the amount of fitness work we did in the fall—we even got an award for the fittest and healthiest horse, so it's not just me that thinks she looks incredible!—and I feel frustrated that we didn't do very well.

January 7, 2016

Like The Kids Say

As usual, we've arrived in Florida, and everything has gone a little sideways.

Everyone is fine, no calamities. But between a few Naughty Baby Squirrel moments and some rogue skin crud, it's been a colorful week. My Young Rider student, Kristin, is here taking part in Robert Dover's Horsemastership Week, and I've gotten to watch a little, as well as be in the presence of a large collection of teenage girls. It's reminding me that a) I'm getting old, fast; but also b) kids have their own way of working through, and describing, their world.

December 29, 2015

Closing Out The Year

I came home from the National Finals and braced for impact. Two things happen to me every autumn: first, things slow down. People give their horses, and themselves, a break, and it means that I don't teach as much; combine with the holidays, and my whole world hits the brakes.

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