About Lauren Sprieser

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Lauren Sprieser has created 291 blog entries.

Wedding Magic Requires a Gaggle of Great Wizards

By |2022-05-09T13:49:07-04:00May 9th, 2022|Snippets|

When even the bartender says your wedding is the most fun he’s ever worked, your wedding was really, really fun. And I’m leaving glowing Google reviews for all of our stellar cast of vendors, but that didn’t feel like enough. So here’s the whole scoop on everyone who made our day so magical!

When Ravi proposed in December 2020, our first action item was to hire a wedding planner. We interviewed several, but Jessica Maskell endeared herself to me with the following two lines. First, “Lauren, you’re a dressage trainer, Ravi’s an engineer, and you have 18 months to do this. You’ll be fine.” Second, “My job is to make sure everything gets done and that the groom and his groomsmen don’t get too drunk too early.” She was the (wo)man for the job.

Even better, Jessica came with a +1: her husband, Mark, is a DJ. Mark handled our needs with aplomb, including some great Indian music picked by Ravi’s family, and lit the space beautifully.

Speaking of the space: next up was picking our venue. I really liked 6 Pastures from the photos, but Ravi – bless him – was in charge of the search, because I was already in Florida. But then my distinctly indoorsy fella called and said that hands down, no questions asked, beautiful pastoral 6 Pastures was our space. Their reclaimed hay barn was both exquisite AND sufficiently large to hold both our ceremony and our reception, so we were safe from foul weather AND with great airflow for COVID safety. And the bridal suite, where my bridesmaids and I got ready for the day, is stunning.

Then it was on to catering. We tried one caterer – perfectly reasonable rubber-chicken party food – and Ravi, a guy who eats to live, declared them satisfactory. “Lauren,” he said, “when have you ever been to a wedding where you remembered the food after?” But I live to eat, and we already had an appointment with Downtown Catering on the books, so off we went. And thank goodness, because Therese makes meals that aren’t just checking a box – it was a restaurant-quality experience. Fresh ingredients, beautifully prepared. The food was a joy, and their organization of all our other reception related details like rentals and bartenders was swift and easy.

Not to be outdone, Smiley’s Ice Cream capped the night. Ravi is an ice cream devotee, and the look on our guests faces when the ice cream truck pulled up… gold. Plus, let me tell you, taste testing ice cream to narrow down which flavors we wanted Smiley’s to bring? Not the worst hour of my life!

Makeup artist Elzi Camacho came highly recommended by our venue, and did not disappoint. She was exceptionally organized, communicated with me beautifully, and made my entire bridal party feel like a collection of princesses. My Maid of Honor said it best – it was a little devastating to take the makeup off at the end of the night!

Our hair was done by my long-suffering friend Chelsea of Scarlett and Sage. Chelsea has been cutting my hair for almost 15 years, and in that I am perhaps not the girliest of girls, she’s had to endure a lot of dumb questions, including memorably “Can you teach me how to use a round brush?” when I was just shy of 30 years old. Chelsea did a stunning job on a range of hair lengths and types, and made us all feel amazing.

We did most of our own decor, picking up bits and pieces from online wedding resale groups. Out of a desire to be both thrifty and environmentally friendly, we used sola wood flowers from Southern Blooms Co., sola wood being a fast-growing marshy tree. Our bouquets will last a lifetime, and were also as beautiful at my wedding as they were the day they arrived (months in advance, so I could cross them off my list of worries early on!). Here’s a cool review of their environmental impact. And I was also thrifty with my jewelry, picking up some fun costume pieces at a craft fair in Palm Beach.

Last, but far from least, on the list: dresses. Our color theme was purple, and Azazie offered an incredible range of dresses all made from the same color, so I picked Regency and turned my bridesmaids loose to pick their own style, with ties and pocket squares for the groomsmen to match. But for my own dress, after visiting a few bridal boutiques to try on the traditional big fluffy white dress, I was feeling a little uninspired by it all.

Which is when I saw a post on a wedding resale group on Facebook by a bride who’d had her dress made by a woman looking to break into the bespoke dress business, and her rates were unbelievably comparable to store-bought designs. What caught my eye about this bride’s dress was that it was pink, and an idea was born: I wanted a lavender dress. Kirah of Mrs. Jones Bridal and I met first online, to talk about what I wanted, and then a few times in person while she made my dress first out of muslin material, to get the size and shape perfect. It took time (which was fine, we had it), but that was a comfort; I remember that in one of our early appointments, Kirah spent about 20 minutes completely rebuilding one shoulder of the muslin mockup, to make sure she got it right.

The end result was so much more stunning that I could ever have imagined, an honest-to-god show stopper, and certainly unlike anything I could have bought in a store. And for an extra bit of fun, Kirah asked me to do a photo shoot in it for marketing purposes, and let me say that if you ever have the opportunity to have your hair and your makeup done for a photo shoot in an item of clothing made for you, do it do it do it. I’ve never felt more beautiful in my life – and as someone with a lifetime of body image issues, that is really, truly saying something!

 

This top-shelf team of vendors, led by Jessica, made for a day that – please don’t mistake this for hyperbole – was truly seamless, beyond my wildest dreams. Ravi and I had the great joy of just being able to kick back and relax, and enjoy the company of our fantastic families and friends. If you’ve got some impending nuptials, I wish you an equally glorious day!

Comments Off on Wedding Magic Requires a Gaggle of Great Wizards

Have Empathy In The Face Of The Hardest Choice

By |2022-04-20T05:05:22-04:00April 18th, 2022|COTH Posts|

Eddie was never quite right. He was perfectly sound, with an exceptional pre-purchase exam. He was sweet and generally polite, and he took pressure well under saddle. But he was just a little weird, a little aloof. There were a few bizarre instances of explosive behavior (inevitably always with me in the tack, if someone was in the tack), but I found ways to justify them, and I figured out a system. But I never felt good about it. I never felt confident about it. And I figured the reason those explosive events made me panic was that I wasn’t good enough to do right by him.

It got so bad inside my head that I ended up seeking out therapy about it. Why, as an experienced rider and trainer, was this horse haunting me? Why couldn’t I get myself to a place where I trusted him? I cut my teeth on naughty. I’m pretty good at it. And this sweet-natured but complicated horse clearly didn’t want to be testy. I kept coming back to this: Horses aren’t evil; horses don’t set out to do harm. So I blamed myself.

Read the rest at The Chronicle of the Horse!

Comments Off on Have Empathy In The Face Of The Hardest Choice

Join Our Team!

By |2022-03-28T05:42:03-04:00March 28th, 2022|News & Events|

Are you that person who alphabetizes their spice rack? Love a good label maker? And want to apply those skills to a life with fancy prance dressage ponies and the hilarious nerds who care for them? We’re looking for a working student intern to join our team at Sprieser Sporthorse, Marshall VA and Loxahatchee FL.
Our interns are PAID to RIDE, groom, tack, muck, turn in/out, feed, and do other farm chores at our beautiful Virginia facility, with awesome horses, fabulous humans, and many, many excellent snacks. Our team works hard, plays hard, and loves to learn and love our animals together. We have a team approach to the day to day runnings of a top dressage barn, developing horses from green to Grand Prix, and teaching amateurs, youth and professionals alike from the grassroots to the CDI ring.
We show, a lot. You’ll get to learn the ropes of showing with a top shelf team, both nationally and internationally. CDIs, CPEDIs, National Championships; that’s what we do (in addition to labelling things, ALWAYS replacing an empty toilet paper roll, and reveling in a good pun.) Whenever possible we’ll find horses for you to show – in the last 15 years we’ve made MANY USDF Bronze and Silver Medalists out of our working students, on both their own and on client-owned horses.
We bring in top shelf clinicians to complement the instruction provided by Head Trainer Lauren Sprieser, USDF Gold Medalist, and Sam Laurel, USDF Bronze Medalist and eventer, both of whom have a long track record of turning rogues into rockstars. And we’ll teach you how we do it. Former working student interns have gone onto be trainers within our own program and out in the world. Our connections throughout the horse world are vast and excellent, and we’ll make sure that wherever you go from us is a great gig. And our name on your resume is a golden ticket to wherever you want to be.
Applicants must be team oriented self-starters who use their words, play well with others, and take pride in all the halters being hung up the same way. Dressage experience not required, but a strong work ethic and an open mind are. Housing and salary provided, with the possibility of a full training stall for the right candidate. Must be able to work in the US without sponsorship. Ideally looking for someone who can stay beyond just the summer, but we’ll consider all options. No pets. Must be able to put your phone down. Must be the kind of person who replaces the &*@#$! toilet paper roll. But don’t worry – we’ll provide the label maker. Bonus points to those with young horse experience because OH MY so many babies right now.
Send your resume and at least one funny joke and/or pun to lauren@spriesersporthorse.com.
Comments Off on Join Our Team!

The Ugh of Starting Anew

By |2022-03-23T18:18:21-04:00March 23rd, 2022|COTH Posts|

Man oh man, 2021 had some cool things in store for me. The trio of horses I’d spent years developing, The Elvis Syndicate’s Guernsey Elvis, my mom’s Helio, and my own Gretzky, are all 2011 babies, so they were all 10, all touching on the Grand Prix things, all really solid in their understanding of The Rules on life and dressage and the program.

Elvis showed it first, and Helio after that, and Puck is really close. And they’re not only extraordinary athletes, but they’re all known quantities to me; they’ve been my friends and partners for so long that we speak the same shorthand, and our work together is productive and efficient and based on a deep mutual friendship and trust.

Now it’s 2022, and I’ve made Helio and Puck into such good horses that it’s time for them to move on. The choice to sell both was a bear, but Helio’s job was to be for my mom, and they just didn’t click. For Puck, my brilliant little weirdo whose greatest days are yet to come, I can’t justify the push into the international ring when I’m bearing the total cost myself, and when Elvis is equally extraordinary but with expenses I get help paying. Helio’s sale was quick and efficient, to a wonderful rider who’s a part of my circle, and so he’ll stay in my life. I’m now embarking on the journey with Puck to find his next tall, hungry human; he’ll require the right person, but he’s gorgeous and powerful and beautifully educated and has been well cared for. His next lucky person will find him soon enough.

And I’ll be starting over.

… ugh.

Read the rest at The Chronicle of the Horse!

Comments Off on The Ugh of Starting Anew

Training Opportunities

By |2022-03-20T05:49:52-04:00March 20th, 2022|News & Events|

We make FEI superstars! And we want to do it for YOU.
We’re looking for long-term training partnerships to develop up the levels. Head Trainer Lauren Sprieser has made countless horses to the international levels, including 7 to the Grand Prix level, all in a holistic and positive way. We work out of our home base in Marshall, Virginia, and winter outside Wellington, Florida, and our team provides extraordinary care out of world-class facilities.
We take our time and do it right, with ample turnout, smart training both in and out of the arena, and plenty of competition success along the way. And the end result are horses in the ribbons both with our trainers AND for their amateur owners – many of our nearly 40 USDF Medalists achieved their scores on horses we made up the levels for them.
So if you’re looking to grow your horse, whether for long-term sale development or for yourself to show at the big levels, we’ve got a special training rate for you. Reach out to learn more today – lauren@spriesersporthorse.com.
Have a look at just a few of our successes!
Comments Off on Training Opportunities

The Standing Offer

By |2022-03-05T11:30:32-05:00March 4th, 2022|Snippets|

We don’t make a ton of warmblood foals in this country. We breed a lot of horses, and it’s a big country, but unlike our European counterparts, our amazingly diverse number of disciplines and equine interests means that we breed lots of different type of horses – Thoroughbreds and Saddlebreds and Arabians and Quarter Horses, stock breeds and rail class breeds and race horses – while Germany and Holland and Sweden and Denmark basically make Olympic-discipline sport horses and not a whole lot else. 

And because the American market also wants warmbloods bred to be hunters – a sport that prizes flatter gaits – it means that every sporthorse foal with suspension and power and ability that takes its first breath on US soil is precious, precious, precious to those of us in dressage land. Of course some are going to break, or limp, or die. But the loss to sport is when they end up in hands that don’t maximize their potential. And there’s a breakdown somewhere in the communication lines, because there are plenty of us out there capable of developing a horse to the Big Levels who’ve never gotten a phone call from a breeder or young horse starter to say “Hey, I have something interesting you should see,” just as too many of us riders bypass American breeders and young horse starters and instead go right to Europe when shopping. 

I want to hear from those who have my next Fender, Midge and Lala, all sport horses bred here in the States. Sue Stickle photo.

Those lines of communication need to be more open. I want to be able to bridge that gap, find a way for us trainers and riders to be able to easily look under every American nook and cranny to find the top shelf horses that we’re producing here, and use our buying power to incentivize the breeding for the gaits and ability needed to succeed in the Big Ring.

And as such, I want the owners of interesting young talent to call me when they have something for sale. If it’s the right time for me to snatch it up, groovy. If it’s not, then I might know someone who is. And let me be clear on this: I’m not saying that breeders or young horse owners should be giving away their stock, sponsoring riders with a horse. If you want to do that, cool. But I expect to pay for quality horses, whether it’s money of my own or the sponsorship of an owner who believes in me. And every professional rider I know agrees with me. Good things cost money, and we know that. Wouldn’t we all rather it be spent here?

I hope my next Midge was bred here. Sue Stickle photo.

I don’t have a brilliant idea for a sweeping change to make, a better way to bridge the communication lines between breeders and riders. All I really know is what I personally want. So here’s my standing offer. I’m tall, so I need something that matures over 17h. Stallions will be gelded, unless you want to partner on them. I’m not a mare person at heart so if it’s a mare she needs to be more of the warrior woman mare and less of the pins-her-ears-for-fun mare. I prefer short coupled, and I tend to not like horses with Sandro Hit up close. And the pony-loving 12-year-old girl in me loves chestnuts and grays. If you have it, and you think it’s showing potential, I want you to call me. I’ll need to see X-rays, so if you don’t have recent ones – within 6 months – then I expect that the price reflect that. I tend to look for horses 3-4 and already under saddle, but if it’s a little younger or not yet broke, or if it’s a little older and behind in its training (but isn’t a wing nut), I want to know about it, too.

Here’s what you’ll get from me in exchange, if it’s the right horse at the right time. A fair price, first and foremost. You’ll also get a whole lot of promotion of your program. And your horse will be developed tactfully, correctly and well, in a tremendous environment that holistically cares for horses like they’re horses, not like they’re equipment. 

I’m starting to sniff around for what’s next for me, but this is an offer that isn’t time related. A year from now, three years from now, next Thursday, anytime. And if you have something special but it doesn’t sound like it’ll work for me, don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals you like. You never know!

Reach me via email!

Value, Cost And The Art Of Pricing A Horse

By |2022-03-02T05:06:37-05:00March 2nd, 2022|COTH Posts|

Pics Of You photo

The reality of life with horses is that, while it would be lovely to have every horse that comes into your life be The One, selling horses from time to time is an inevitability—certainly for those who do this for a living and for many who don’t as well. Maybe the horse is not going to be what you need them to be, or maybe you’ve taken him as far as you can go together, and the horse is ready for his next person, or maybe it’s just not a good marriage.

Whatever the reason, your first step is to determine a price tag. How do you determine what a horse should cost?

Read the rest at The Chronicle of the Horse!

2022 Show Calendar

By |2022-02-18T05:12:07-05:00February 18th, 2022|News & Events|

Queca Franco photo

We’ve picked our show schedule for 2022! We’ve got some options in August and September in case we need some pre-regionals outings, and with Festival and Morven August on the same weekend, we’re just going to have to wing it a bit. But here’s the rough schematic of the list! Email lauren@spriesersporthorse.com to learn more about showing with us.

MAY
7-8 CDCTA Morven, Leesburg VA
18 VADA/Nova Mid-week, Leesburg VA?
20-22 Lexington CDI, Lexington VA

JUNE
11-12 VADA/Nova Morven, Leesburg VA
22 Great Meadow Mid-week, The Plains VA

JULY
15-17 Dressage at Lexington, Lexington VA

AUGUST
23-28 Festival of Champions, Wayne IL
27-28 VADA/Nova Morven, Leesburg VA

OCTOBER
6-9 Region 1 Finals, Lexington VA

NOVEMBER
10-13 USDF National Finals, Lexington KY

EMERGENCY OPTIONS
August 6-7 Loch Moy, separate shows
August 24 ERAHC Lexington
September 10-11 Rose Mont, separate shows
September 14 By Chance

More Congratulations!

By |2022-02-18T05:08:48-05:00February 10th, 2022|News & Events|

Joanna Jodko photo.

HUGE congrats to our friend Kaitlynn for adding our beloved Helio HI to her string. We sourced and developed Helio from a young horse to Grand Prix, and we’re thrilled to see him take Kaitlynn to the big ring AND stay in the family. Congrats to everyone involved in this wonderful partnership!

Go to Top