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So far Lauren Sprieser has created 304 blog entries.

Holiday Gift Guide for Horse Folks

By |2022-11-21T07:32:36-05:00November 21st, 2022|Snippets|

Tis the season – the season where many people are thinking about holiday gifts for their dedicated barn staff, horsey caretakers, and equine enthusiasts. Here are a few great gifts for the horse person in your life – professionals, amateurs, and youth riders alike.

1. A Ride iQ membership. Ride iQ is a revolutionary app that provides audio lessons on a huge range of subjects – dressage, jump work, ground work, sports psychology for riders, fitness, and more. Members get real-time instruction from some of the best in the business (including me!), plus access to an awesome Facebook group for members, some terrific podcasts, and more.

2. Fir-Tech goodies for horses and riders. Fir-Tech is a ceramic fiber from Catago, and is of similar quality to other similar products from other brands, but at way better pricing. I particularly love Elvis’s Stable Boots at horse shows when he’s not able to get the same amount of turnout as he does at home, and the Neck Brace for me. It’s great for when I’m a little stiff… which never happens, obviously, as a professional rider…

3. Kingsley Boots. Kingsley came to me four years ago and wanted me to try their boots. I’d been a longtime proponent of another prominent German riding boot, but the Kingsleys had me at hello, with their stiff exterior but remarkably short break-in time, their custom fit, and their many many fun options (even though I’m their most boring rider and my boots are rarely all that exciting). I just retired my pair of everyday boots after FOUR YEARS – an incredible run for a pro! I think everything Kingsley makes is wonderful, but I’m a huge fan of their fleece lining, which they can put into any of their boots, including these stunning work boots.

4. Roeckl Gloves. I live in Roeckl Gloves year-round, because they’re hard to kill… and lord knows I try. Much of the year I’m in the Madrid, but my winter favorite is the Winter Roeckl Grip. They’re warm enough for winter riding but thin enough that I’m not burdened by bulk.

5. The Mantra bangle. Everything from Swanky Saddle is gorgeous, but I particularly love these Mantra Bangles, especially the GRIT one – my fav, and based on my cool tattoo! And they’re on clearance right now, so go get ’em.

6. The Neue Schule Turtle Top Snaffle. What I really want everyone to do is bring in my friend Stephanie Brown Beamer for a bit fitting, but she’s one person, and she can’t be everywhere. But riding in a quality bit that fits well is a great start, and this is my workhorse bit. Almost everything in my life is going in a version of it, so it’s as close to a sure thing as exists. By the way, you’re probably riding in a bit that’s too bit as well – even Rowan, the 100% Irish Draught in my life, goes in a M. You just do not need a 6″ bit, friends, it’s not possible.

7. A Pivo. I first bought a Pivo to record my rides for my own review, and it gets a solid B at that job – easy set up, holds a charge well, but every now and then does this Exorcist thing where it spins around and loses me. But the real superpower of the Pivo is its virtual lesson capacity, because the instructor can take over the robot. It’s so easy (I’ve been meaning to make a video for social media on how I do it, and I’ve just been slammed; hopefully this will light a fire under my ass to get it done), the lesson hosting system is free to use, and they’re on sale for 50% off right now.

8. The Pro Lite Multi Riser half pad. Why not wear a shock absorbing saddle pad when you ride, and protect your horse’s back? This is my favorite because the pockets for shims allow me to get creative and extend the fit of my saddles as my young horses develop and change. Every horse, every day!

9. OneK Avance with MIPS. Do me a favor and check the date on your helmet. If it’s older than 3 years, time to get a new one. If you don’t know how old it is, time to get a new one. If you’ve bonked your head in it, it’s REALLY time to get a new one. And frankly, if it’s not a MIPS, it’s time to get a new one. MIPS technology is really worth the investment, because it’s so superior in its protection to a traditional ASTM hat, and the OneKs are such great bang for your buck. I like the Avance for its sun protection, and you can also customize your helmet with some great color pieces.

10. A gift card for a car detailing. Horse girl cars are… something else. A nice detailing is such an incredible gift, and it’s something certainly we horse pros never do for ourselves!

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Reserve National Champions!

By |2022-11-20T05:42:13-05:00November 20th, 2022|News & Events|

Lauren Sprieser and Guernsey Elvis are your USDF Reserve National Champions! Massive congratulations to The Elvis Syndicate on their 74% performance at the USDF Finals in the Grand Prix Freestyle to take the ribbon. Watch the ride below, and read all about joining the incredible team of owners behind this exciting horse here.

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Peace in Nowhereland

By |2022-11-01T14:43:09-04:00November 1st, 2022|COTH Posts|

Hello. It’s October. You haven’t heard from me since the end of August. I’m fine; nothing’s happened of note. I’m just… nowhere.

The hours are long right now. I’m pulling long days and longer weekends. And as an extrovert who recharges by socializing with others, having no time to do so has left me feeling a bit gray. Nothing serious. No one’s dying. I’m old enough and wise enough to know that this will end, and that’s a comfort. But I’m just nowhere.

Read the rest at The Chronicle of the Horse!

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Bravo, Boys

By |2022-08-27T20:38:57-04:00August 27th, 2022|Snippets|

Today, as I write this, Abe Pugh and Alice Drayer’s Trakehner stallion Elfenperfekt placed fifth in the nation at the USEF Festival of Champions in the Grand Prix division, the highest championship division we offer in the United States.

I don’t know exactly how Abe and I met – I think we just said “hi, how are you” at enough horse shows until one day, voila, we were friends. But I do remember watching him ride Elfenperfekt – Pistol to his friends – at a show, noting that no one was there coaching him. I then remembered that, years before, a guy I barely knew named Michael Barisone came up to me and, politely, said that I looked like I needed a coach, and offered help.

So I put on my big girl pants, marched over to Abe, and said that if he wanted, I’d be happy to help him, with the exact same promise that Michael had made to me years before: I’d be there when Abe needed me, I’d be nice to his clients, and I’d never, ever try and take his horse away from him.

That was almost six years ago. Since then, Abe and Pistol have won a World Cup Qualifier, countless regional championships, and many year end titles, as well as top placing at CDIs and USDF Finals. I’ve taught Abe to be more diligent, to take it all a bit more seriously, and about throughness. Abe’s taught me about courage, about balance, and about fighting for your dreams. I make Abe tuck his shirt in, and fuss at him about his rogue elbows; he tells me to ask my horses for more, and to be brave when my baby horses feel wicked. I tell him to wrap better; he tells me to try and chill out when I go on vacation. And I offer to drive and fly all over for him, just as he offers to help me fix the floors in my basement. I don’t have a big brother, but I imagine this is what it’s like.

And then there’s that tremendous horse, Pistol, my goodness. What does one say about such a creature, one who gives his whole heart, every day? Pistol has given us all the incredible gift of his wisdom, his trainability, his kindness. My top Grand Prix horse, Elvis, knows how to piaffe because Pistol showed me what was possible. Every horse that both Abe and I will ever have will be better for having known Pistol.

Thank you, Alice, for making that amazing horse, and for letting all of us go all the places we’ve gone together. Thank you, Pistol, for showing us all what is possible on the back of a great horse. A MASSIVE thank you to Ali Brock for pinch hitting for me on Freestyle day – I had to fly home after the first two days of the Championships to coach one of my international level eventer students AND then show myself, along with some clients, at a local show here – as well as to everyone at Virginia Equine Imaging for all they’ve done for all of us to keep that tremendous beast performing his best.

Lastly, to Abe, my friend, my big brother, thank you for letting me help you. It’s been a remarkable ride! (Now get back to work on those elbows.)

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Ride Times for Suzanne Galdun Clinic

By |2022-08-18T05:22:02-04:00August 18th, 2022|News & Events|

Below are ride times for this weekend’s clinic with biomechanics expert Suzanne Galdun. Auditing is still available at $40/day at the door, but lunch is only for those who prepaid, so please plan accordingly. Thanks!

SATURDAY
8 Lauren Sprieser & Madiene, 5 yr KWPN Mare, 1st Level
8:45 Patricia Vos & Corino, 14 yr Holsteiner Gelding, 1st Level
9:30 Jodie Harney & Sullivan, 9 yr Oldenburg Gelding, 2nd Level
10:15 Sara Clendenin & Ellington, 8 yr Oldenburg Gelding, 2nd Level
11 Marja Lauren & Fiero, 14 yr Oldenburg Gelding, 3rd Level
11:45 Jodie Harney & Fermani, 12 yr KWPN Gelding, 3rd Level
12:30 LUNCH
1:15 Skylar Skalicky & Jasper, 8 yr KWPN Gelding, Training Level
1:45 Claire Decker & Wizard, 8 yr Friesian Cross Gelding, 2nd Level
2:15 Abby Westman & ?
3 Nancy Sulek & Range Rover, 15 yr Oldenburg Gelding, Intermediate II
3:45 Heather Richards & Halcyon, 10 yr KWPN Mare, 3rd Level
4:30 Marlene McGrath & Prince of Hearts, 9 yr Appaloosa Cross Gelding, 1st Level
5:15 Beth Zielinski & Ducati, 8 yr Swedish Gelding, 2nd Level

SUNDAY
8 Nancy Sulek & Range Rover, 15 yr Oldenburg Gelding, Intermediate II
8:45 Heather Richards & Halcyon, 10 yr KWPN Mare, 3rd Level
9:30 Marlene McGrath & Prince of Hearts, 9 yr Appaloosa Cross Gelding, 1st Level
10:15 Lauren Sprieser & Madiene, 5 yr KWPN Mare, 1st Level
11 Patricia Vos & Corino, 14 yr Holsteiner Gelding, 1st Level
11:45 Jodie Harney & Sullivan, 9 yr Oldenburg Gelding, 2nd Level
12:30 LUNCH
1:15 Sara Clendenin & Ellington, 8 yr Oldenburg Gelding, 2nd Level
2 Beth Zielinski & Ducati, 8 yr Swedish Gelding, 2nd Level
2:45 Jodie Harney & Fermani, 12 yr KWPN Gelding, 3rd Level
3:30 Marja Lauren & Fiero, 14 yr Oldenburg Gelding, 3rd Level
4:15 Skylar Skalicky & Jasper, 8 yr KWPN Gelding, Training Level
4:45 Claire Decker & Wizard, 8 yr Friesian Cross Gelding, 2nd Level

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No, I’m Not Dead: a State-of-the-Situation Snippet

By |2022-08-11T12:19:34-04:00August 6th, 2022|Snippets|

Hi everyone. I’m here, I’m alive, I’m doing fine. You haven’t heard from me via blog or Snippet in a while, and whenever that happens, I inevitably get a few sweet messages about “are you ok?! what’s going on?!” So: yes, I’m ok. The horses are great. 

I’ve been radio silent for a few reasons. One is that nothing’s going on; our show season is set up such that we get a big long break from mid-July to the end of August, and so my horses get to go on Summer Vacation. Puck and Elvis are both on light work, doing lots of walking, letting their bodies have a break before the Autumn push. The babies are going, but the babies are just that – babies – so their day to day experience just isn’t all that exciting. 

Which doesn’t mean that I’m not focused, nor does it mean they’re not making progress. Puck and I are on a bending jihad. I always think about self-carriage with Elvis, but I had a little epiphany last week about trying to ride him 3-and-1, where both curb reins end up in one hand, and then I just have the one snaffle rein in the other; its really let me think about how he answers the half halt in a cool way.

The babies are doing their thing. Maddie went to two horse shows this summer, and behaved splendidly both times, so now I get to put my energy into training; however, she’s 17.3, so I’m not feeling in an overwhelming hurry to accomplish anything. We work on throughness, and she has graduated in my esteem to earning her own equipment, so she sees my wonderful bit fitter friend Stephanie Brown-Beamer of Horse by Horse, to maximize her comfort. (The rule at my house is that you don’t your own gear until I’m sure you’re staying.)

One who’s still in hand-me-downs is four-year-old Velcro, though I must say, I don’t think he’s going anywhere either; he’s endlessly kind but man, he has a mind at work! He’s super smart, very easy to engage with, and is doing great. He had a minor medical procedure this Spring – why I could afford him – and he’s doing great, but between the time off for that and the long trip from Kansas and growing to be an absolutely giant four year old, he arrived on my doorstep quite thin, and it took a long time to add enough calories to him to even think about getting to work. So we’ve just introduced exciting things like turning, but he’s going to be wicked, wicked cool.

Baby Lala, the one I’ve owned from a foal, is now 3, and is working smartly under saddle in Pennsylvania with my wonderful friend and student Abe Pugh. She is also giant, at least 17.1 at 3 years old, so none of us are feeling a burning desire to push on her any harder (honestly, what is there to do except walk, trot, canter, and steer a 3-year-old anyway?), so she trundles along, and will do so all winter, with the idea of coming home to me Spring of next year, when we’re home from FL.

I’m riding some wonderful horses for clients too, including Rowan, a 7-year-old Irish Draught owned by Mary Ewing. I’ve not experienced many drafts, but if they’re all like Rowan, then we should all ride drafts. He’s remarkably agile, he’s terribly smart, and he smoked around at his first horse show, including beating Maddie one day, which is hard to do!

I’m also in that time of year where I’m teaching clinics like a madman, at least two a month if not three, and I’m very VERY excited that we have Starlink internet access now at the farm, so I am teaching virtual lessons all across the country (and even internationally!), with easy sign up via our e-scheduling website, instead of my having to sprint back to my house in town in order to teach them. You can sign up for one here, if you’d like!

I tried my hand at taking a family vacation, and I’m predictably terrible at them. My garden is going gangbusters. Nike, the world’s best Pibble, had surgery in the spring to fix yet another busted cruciate ligament, but he’s recovered well; Georgia, NOT the world’s best Pibble, was a remarkably gentle nursemaid, which was actually quite cute, and maybe earned her a few points in my book (though she pooped in the car the other day, so net-net…)

My knee is feeling great after having it injected with PRP, so I am now all the more a fan of good veterinary care. Summer vegetables are wonderful, but summer cocktails are even better. I am still waiting on my wedding photos. And that’s all the news from the home front! I hope you all are staying cool and making progress. Thanks for checking on me!

We are still waiting on the major dump of our wedding photos, but at least we finally have a few to share.

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When A Trainer Says They’ve Done It, Check Them Out

By |2022-06-26T17:25:04-04:00June 26th, 2022|COTH Posts|

There are many factors to consider when looking for a coach. The person must be a good personality fit and offer lessons and coaching in a style that suits your learning type. They need to be logistically convenient, either in a location that’s easy for you to get to, or with technology that makes virtual coaching possible. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is that they can do the job you need them to do: bring horses up to the level you want your horse brought up to, and bring humans up to the level you want to be brought up to. 

To pick a coach, you’ll want to watch them teach and ride, speak to their students, ask for references. But you can also use technology to do a little dressage credit-checking. So let’s talk about how to verify a trainer’s credentials.

Read the rest at The Chronicle of the Horse!

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