About Lauren Sprieser

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So far Lauren Sprieser has created 300 blog entries.

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!

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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.
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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!

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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!
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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.

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

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

15-17 Dressage at Lexington, Lexington VA

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

6-9 Region 1 Finals, Lexington VA

10-13 USDF National Finals, Lexington KY

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!

The Value of a Schoolmaster

By |2022-02-10T15:10:58-05:00February 8th, 2022|News & Events|

A week or so ago I wrote a little bloglet for my own website theorizing one of the reasons why there seem to be so few schoolmasters available for purchase right now. It sparked a conversation in the comments section on Facebook that was quite remarkable: in addition to being entirely civil (shocking!), it also led to some really interesting conversations about schoolmasters in general, and the adventures in purchasing them.

There are some common statements people make about purchasing schoolmasters. I thought I’d respond to some of them, with my thoughts.

Read the rest at The Chronicle of the Horse!

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