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.