About Lauren Sprieser

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Lauren Sprieser has created 251 blog entries.

The Yam Unit

By |2021-02-06T05:05:17-05:00February 6th, 2021|Snippets|

(The following blog is a light hearted and irreverent piece on a very serious subject. Wear a mask, get vaccinated, believe in science, and also enjoy a chuckle at this.)

I don’t mean to brag or anything, but I’ve… cured COVID. Or at least I’ve found a really, really effective treatment. Allow me to explain.

Last summer, I was at the farmer’s market when I came across a sweet potato in the shape of… well…

Yep.

It was hilarious, so I took a picture of it. And later that afternoon, I learned that a member of my extended family had lost her sense of taste and smell, sending her, and her as-of-yet asymptomatic family in for COVID tests, with three positive results.

Figuring they’d need a laugh, I texted them the picture of the sweet potato. And they never got any sicker than that. Two of them are in their 50s, one with another co-morbidity. No problems.

A few weeks later, another friend and her partner started experiencing symptoms. They were pretty sick by the time I heard, but I knew they’d also need a giggle, so I sent her the picture. And that was as sick as they got. From that point on, they started improving, and came out the other side just fine.

Weeks after that, a third friend told me that her husband had just tested positive. Eek, I thought, she’s going to need a laugh. So I sent her the sweet potato, and guess what? Never got sick.

Obviously, a sample size of three is sufficient scientific evidence, because that’s how THAT works. So: you’re welcome. Consider yourselves protected. (Wear a mask and stay home as much as possible, though, just in case. Can’t be too careful.)

Are you liking Snippets, my little bonus blogs? They began because I had all these little ideas for blogs that maybe weren’t long enough to be proper content for COTH, or weren’t horsey in nature. So they’re here. If you like them, leave a comment to let me know you’re seeing them. And if you like hearing EVEN MORE from me, consider joining the Sprieser Sporthorse Elite Club! Your membership – for as little as $.25/week – helps me keep producing things like this, as well as all the special content Club Members get to see. 

Musings on Masks, Horses and Crappy Weather

By |2021-02-01T06:23:18-05:00February 1st, 2021|Snippets|

If your barn is remotely responsible, there’s at least some mask-wearing requirements going on right now. And unless you’re in one of the handful of places where it’s warm right now, you’re learning the joys of breathing through a mask plus cold air: a chapped face.

I wanted to share what I’ve learned about stable mask wearing, as well as what I’ve learned about doing so in crummy weather.

First off, what kind of mask to wear? I have KN95s for when I’m in indoor spaces, like going to the store, or the little bit of air travel I have to do for this job. They’re reasonably comfortable (though I did hang the expense of a $6 “ear saver” because the backs of my ears were NOT having it.

But in my largely outdoor job, I wanted more flexibility. Enter these, a gaiter-style face covering with ear loops. I like these because they live around my neck like a scarf, and I can pull them up over my face as needed with ear loops for security. For sure they are one layer and not snug to my nose, so they are nowhere near as safe as something that has a nose wire, or has multiple layers, but it’s just not that hard for me to socially distance when I’m in the barn and out of doors, and just want a baseline of protection.

Make sure, if you order something like this, that you do your reading. I ordered one batch that arrived only to see that they had small perforations in the mask. Um, duh, that’s not going to work – increasing ventilation in your face mask defeats the purpose.

So that’s what my staff and I are primarily wearing, plus using good judgment about social distancing, not lingering in enclosed spaces like the tack room, and just generally not being a yutz. And that’s easy to do in South Florida, where it’s been pretty reliably in the 70s and 80s since we arrived. But it’s not so easy to do at home, which means that my Virginia team – and me, when I’m at home – need to make good decisions about dressing warmly because the tack room just isn’t a place we should be hanging out.

Then there’s the skin care challenge. Yes, face chapping is real. When you breathe into your mask and condensation becomes a thing, wearing a wet rag around your face all day really stinks. I know there are some companies out there advertising winter proof face masks, and I have no mileage with those. When I’m somewhere cold right now, I always have a second mask ready, in case my first mask gets wet or uncomfortable (frankly, I always have multiple masks everywhere I go, just in case). But I also can’t say enough nice things about Kiehl’s snootily named Creme d’Elegance heavy face moisturizer. It’s remarkably light for how heavy duty it is, and all the Kiehl’s products are really top quality. They’re also manufactured in the United States, which is neat.

And if you don’t know this, an aside on lip care, as the owner of EXTREMELY dry lips: petroleum based products like Chapstick protect, but do not moisturize. That’s fine, in a situation like this, where you want to shield your lips from crummy wet conditions, but once you’ve got a chapping situation, you need to use something conditioning. I personally dig the Burt’s Bees or Trader Joe’s lip balms, and here in FL, I use Sun Bum, which has sunscreen in it.

Important caveats: I’m not a medical expert, consult one if you have questions or concerns, bla bla bla. I’m just a dumb horse trainer trying to a) avoid COVID, and b) not have my face fall off. But that’s what I’m doing in my barn, and so far, it’s worked for me, combined with a WHOLE LOT of good judgement and NO going out anywhere unless I can make sure it’s a safe experience.

But also, know this – if your barn isn’t requiring masking, your barn is doing it wrong. If you’re a barn owner that isn’t requiring masking, you need to. And if your barn owner is requiring masks and you’re bitching and whining about it, you’re a part of the problem. Get it together. It’s not that hard.

Are you liking Snippets, my little bonus blogs? They began because I had all these little ideas for blogs that maybe weren’t long enough to be proper content for COTH, or weren’t horsey in nature. So they’re here. If you like them, leave a comment to let me know you’re seeing them. And if you like hearing EVEN MORE from me, consider joining the Sprieser Sporthorse Elite Club! Your membership – for as little as $.25/week – helps me keep producing things like this, as well as all the special content Club Members get to see. 

Write A Letter (also, introducing Snippets)

By |2021-01-30T06:04:29-05:00January 30th, 2021|Snippets|

Hi all! Lauren here. I write a lot, and much of it goes into my blog for The Chronicle, or into the Sprieser Sporthorse Elite Club. But some of what I write is too short to be a fully fledged blog, or it’s not horse related, or in some other way unsuitable for either of those mediums. So they mostly sit in a document on my computer. And I realized that that was silly, because I have a website.

So I’m introducing Snippets, or at least that’s what I’m going to call them for now. They’ll be little hits of whatever’s in my brain. If you like them, tell me, by leaving a comment, or writing an email. (This will also help me gauge if anyone actually reads my website!)

Thanks for being a part of my team. On with the show!

I’m in a happy headspace right now. My horses are being smart. Wedding planning is actually rather fun. I have amazing people in my life, and there’s hope on several fronts on the landscape. It’s been good. I’m good.

And I’m grateful for that, because I haven’t always been good. There have been windows of time in the few years where things were dark and grim for me (and in the past year for everyone!). I’m no fool, and I can put my heartaches into context, but in the moments that are filled with sadness, context can be irrelevant. The darkness is very real.

I know this, and so I cherish times like these, where the sun is shining inside my head. But when I started my business, I started keeping a folder in my email called “Happiness.” Into it, I file any emails I get that bring me joy, like emails from clients about how much they loved their last lesson, or how happy they are with their progress, or nice notes about blogs. It’s a great folder to read when I’m down.

But it’s all emails. The lions’ share of my communication these days is digital. It’s efficient, it’s the way of the world. I do my lesson scheduling online. My professional reputation has been built, in no small part, to blogs like this.

So a few weeks ago, when I got a handwritten letter in the mail, it was unusual.

It was from a woman who bought a horse from me recently. She wrote about how much she loved him, which is, of course, wonderful to hear. But she also wrote about what he meant to her in her life, about how she’d been struggling with some health issues that had kept her out of the saddle and away from the barn. He brought her back to riding, and to the stable. And she said that it had also meant so much to her to come to my stable, full of fun and laughter, when she was so nervous about getting back into horses. She said we made her feel comfortable and at home.

I know I’m good at my job. But that doesn’t mean I’m not happy to hear it from others. And a handwritten letter, that someone took the time… it brought tears to my eyes. My horses are working brilliantly—Puck’s big expressive Second Trot is regulatable enough through the FEI work for me to enter him in his first recognized Prix St. Georges, and Elvis is developing a really elegant transition both into and out of piaffe—but it was that letter that stopped me cold.

The world can be a divisive place. Times are hard right now, really, desperately hard for so many. And even in the best of times, someone is always struggling. Getting that letter reminded me how important it is to be good to each other, and to take the time to lift each other up, when in a position to do so. So if you’ve got someone in your life who is bringing you joy, tell them. Leave a Facebook comment. Write an email. Even tackle a handwritten letter, if your handwriting is up for it. It’ll mean the world to them, I promise.

One Wild Wellington Week

By |2021-01-30T05:39:21-05:00January 27th, 2021|COTH Posts|

Monday, 4:30 a.m. I am in Virginia, and I am awake. 4:30 a.m. seems to be my usual wake-up time these days, even on a day when I don’t need to be awake this early. I’m a terrible sleeper, which is irritating, but since I’ve got a few hours until my flight leaves, I start the day with some yoga. It leaves me feeling great, and I think, as I do every time I do yoga, I really should do this more often. Maybe I can do 20 minutes of yoga every day this week. That feels reasonable, right? Sure.

Read the rest at The Chronicle of the Horse!

The First Lesson

By |2021-01-22T06:01:25-05:00January 5th, 2021|COTH Posts|

I don’t often work with very, very beginner riders. That sounds snobby, and I don’t mean it to; I don’t have lesson horses, and the folks who seek me out for lessons with their own horses tend to have at least a few years of riding under their belt before they want a specialized dressage lesson.

A few years ago, my fiancé’s kids, then 9 and 11, took their first riding lessons, at a Pony Club Riding Center near me: Misty Brae Farm. Tori Hutcheson, the owner and trainer, has ridden with me before, and she’s produced countless competent young horse people across the English disciplines. (A side note: Pony Club is awesome because it makes kids not only learn to ride but also learn how to care for their animals and take that horsemanship seriously. If you have a kid in your life who rides, they need to be in Pony Club.)

I’d not seen someone’s first riding lesson before. It was fascinating, watching these kiddos just climb right on, brave as anything. It was really interesting to watch their instincts, some of them good (correcting their own balance to keep themselves in the middle of the horse), some of them not (gripping with their legs, drawing the heels up when they felt insecure). Tori and Megan De Michele, her daughter, who also teaches, quietly fixed each flaw and set the kids to riding, walking and even some trotting, posting and steering. In one lesson, they learned a ton.

But kids tend to be brave. They’re little; their bodies don’t hurt; they don’t have preconceived notions of their own mortality. Many of my own students took their first riding lessons as adults, and I knew, conceptually, that that was an impressive thing. But I’d never witnessed it.

And then this year, my fiancé, Ravi Perisastry, said he was going to take a riding lesson.

Read the rest at The Chronicle of the Horse!

Engagement (With Two Legs, Not Four)

By |2021-01-22T06:01:49-05:00December 8th, 2020|COTH Posts|

A little more than four years ago, I matched on a dating app with a funny Indian engineer with a big nose, holding a bottle of Zima—the disgusting Sprite-and-rubbing-alcohol-esque garbage that teenagers got drunk on in the 90s—in his profile picture. Our first date was at a local pizza place, and I left thinking that he was nice, well-adjusted and responsible, and more than a little afraid of me—in other words, absolutely not my type. But he wanted to see me again and take me to a REALLY nice restaurant in town, and I figured hey, dinner there is NEVER a bad idea.

His name is Ravi, and as of last week, he’s my fiancé.

Read the rest at The Chronicle of the Horse!

Arena Rental for Open Schooling, and More Winter Opportunities!

By |2020-12-08T05:10:27-05:00December 8th, 2020|News & Events|

Want to get out of the winter weather? We’re making our oversized, lit, mirrored indoor arena with dust-free footing available to rent for open schooling this winter! For just $20/rider, you can get out of the cold and keep your riding going. Sign up on Strider, and then secure your slot on Time Center. It’s as simple as that!

This is one of our many winter riding opportunities available between now and mid-April. We also have stalls available for board-only, part training, full training, and even could make dry stalls available for a multi-horse owner or trainer. Camp is back! Winter Teaching Weekends with head trainer Lauren Sprieser are back! And so, so many more fun ways to keep advancing towards your 2021 goals in a safe and healthy way. Read all about ’em in our December e-newsletter, and sign up to have it delivered right to your inbox!

Let The Packing Commence

By |2020-12-08T05:03:57-05:00November 27th, 2020|COTH Posts|

It’s T-minus three weeks until our annual winter migration to Florida. The packing has long-since commenced, and we’ve gotten smarter over the 10 (10!) years we’ve been heading south, leaving more things there so there’s less schlepping. There are spreadsheets. There are whiteboards. There’s even a Google Doc. But it’s still quite the ordeal.

First, logistics: Hay in Virginia runs between $5 and $7, depending on where you get it and how much of it. In Florida, the same timothy hay we get will run me about $18-22. Grain is relatively comparable, and bedding is relatively comparable, but the hay is a doozy. So instead of hauling horses myself, I load my 2+1 Jamco full of Virginia hay and shove as much as I can into other peoples’ trailers as well. (The horses ship commercial.)

But that means that I’ve got the dressing room of that trailer for the personal effects of 12 horses. It’s quite the game of Jenga, but somehow it works. Tack. Blankets. (It does occasionally actually get cold in Wellington, so we take sheets, ceramic sheets and mediums for everyone.) Supplements. SUPPLEMENTS. And then everybody’s individual stuff: boots and helmets and whatever special things people want to bring. Saddle pads. And neoprene boots—I prefer neoprene in Florida because you can rinse it out and dry it, rather than having to wash after every use like fleece-lined boots. The sand in Florida is really abrasive, and I spend a lot of energy keeping legs clean, healthy and dry.

Read the rest at The Chronicle of the Horse!

Go to Top