Straight from the horse’s (rider’s) mouth
In November, 2013, I was looking for a new boarding and training center for my Oldenburg gelding, Fiero, and for me. I had met Lauren Sprieser once when I went to her training facility for a fix-a-test. She had been kind and encouraging during the test and with her corrections. So, I called and set up an appointment to meet with her. We sat and talked for about an hour. I was so comfortable that I knew this was where Fiero and I needed to be.
We joined the Sprieser Sporthorse family late November and have had nothing but positive experiences. Lauren invited Fiero to train with her in Wellington last winter. What a great experience that was! Not only was he progressing with Lauren, but twice a week she trained with Michael Barisone! Can’t wait for the next winter trip to Florida, especially if we have another winter like the last one. In such a short time, Fiero has moved from 1st level to 3rd level with great success. He just loves her. We both agree that we’re in no rush to push him. He’s young and has plenty of time.
I love Lauren as my trainer. She is always positive in her comments and suggestions of how to accomplish the task at hand. Never do I feel like the 64 year old rider that I am. Everything she asks of me seems possible.
And what can I say about the facility? It’s fabulous. You walk into the barn and the atmosphere is warm, friendly, and calm. The stalls are huge and have wonderful springy mats…great for those all important legs. All you have to do is watch the horses to see how very happy they are. The care of the horses by Lauren and her staff is top notch. The fields are beautifully maintained. The footing in the indoor is superb. I think if you fell off, you’d bounce back into the saddle! The boarders are friendly and supportive of one another.
If you are looking for a truly professional trainer, staff, and boarding/training facility, Sprieser Sporthorse is where you want to be.
- Bev Thomas
We met Lauren in 2012 through our Pony Club director when we were looking for someone to choreograph our team’s Quadrille and Pas de Deux. We pulled in with 5 horses and 5 kids and had the choreography finished in one session. Lauren was wonderful with the children and they had so much fun. Both rides were a huge success, and the Quadrille was the first presented at the Virginia Region Pony Club Rally in over 4 years.
Our journey with Lauren continued when our daughter, Kristin, participated on a CDCTA team coached by Lauren at the 2012 VADA Youth Team Competition. Though faced with unfamiliar horses and a few unfamiliar riders, Lauren was quickly able to assess what each pair needed, and by the 2nd day of the competition it was showing - their scores improved significantly. Kristin, who has loved riding since she was 5, knew immediately that she had found someone special who shared her enthusiasm about dressage, was fun to be around, and was able to make a big impact on her riding in such a short amount of time.
Since then, Lauren and her staff have catapulted us to levels that we had previously only imagined we would go in such a short amount of time. They have provided us with a vision. They work with each rider to establish a path forward. where should you go next?….. what should you be targeting? This is something that, as parents, we could not put a price tag on. Kristin competed at the BLMs in 2012, and in 2013 Lauren and her lead trainer Allison helped us buy our first pony, which they are helping us train for Kristin’s first FEI Pony competition. To top it all off, Kristin, now 12, has been blessed with the opportunity to lease Lauren’s beautiful Grand Prix horse, Bellinger (aka Billy). Billy is a PRINCE and he is teaching Kristin a ton that she is able to transfer to the other horses and ponies that she rides. Watching Lauren and Allison (and Billy) work with Kristin has truly been a joy!
Sprieser Sporthorse is a beautiful facility that we are in awe of every time we go there, but it’s the people, with their talent, caring, kindness, professionalism, and vision that keep us coming back. It’s well worth the 100 mile round trip!
- Jeff, Donna and Kristin Counterman
It has been my practice to surround myself with the best talent if I am to be successful. We did that in pursuit of our goal to ride in the Maryland Hunt Cup culminating in winning the race as an owner/rider in 2001. We are returning to our Eventing/Dressage roots with an eye toward upper level competition. To that end we are again looking for the best instruction we can find in dressage with someone who can understand what our goals are and design a plan that fits the horse and rider to be in the most competitive position to meet the goals. Lauren fits that description. Is a 35-year hiatus from organized dressage training and lots of fox hunting, steeplechase racing and polo in between too much of a skills gap to overcome? She does not think so and so far our results have proven her right.
- Michael E. Hoffman
I do a little bit of everything riding: dressage, jumping, trail riding. I started at Sprieser Sporthorse to work on my dressage and to help my overall riding and the flexibility of my horse. I have really enjoyed riding there. The arena will spoil you and your horse but I have also found the trail riding to be great. Sprieser Sporthorse has worked with the local landowners to develop a network of trails that give you a lot of space and variety: hills, stream crossing, fields, woods, etc. They have also cleared the trails so that the footing is good and directional signs keep you from getting lost.
The other thing that I have really been impressed with is Lauren’s knowledge of horses and people. She helped match me to a horse because she knew what kind of riding I wanted to do, as well as my skill level. The horse she found suits me perfectly. And what is really impressive is that she gives full disclosure on any issues the horse might have, so you do not have that “buyer beware” issue to deal with. You know exactly what you are getting. I would not purchase a horse in the future without her input.
Lauren is an outstanding instructor. She really knows how to get the best out of both horse and rider, and my horse and I have benefitted a lot from her instruction. Her assistant trainer, Alison Spivey, has also really helped me with both my dressage and my jumping.
Contrary to popular belief, high level barns/trainers, such a Sprieser Sporthorse/Lauren can be very down to earth. The horses are treated wonderfully but not like prima donnas and students are treated as equal partners in the training process. I always feel welcome when I come to ride. I highly recommend working with Sprieser Sporthorse both for yourself and your horse(s) regardless of your discipline or skill level.
- Jane Hart, Clairvoya Farm, A Haven for Retired Horses
I have been riding dressage for may years. Along the way there have been may ups and downs. For approx 8 years I rode with a wonderful trainer in Michigan. My husbands career brought my family and I to Richmond, VA in January of 2011. I knew that it would be difficult to find a new barn and dressage trainer. Unfortunately my concerns were proven correct when I was unable to find anything even close to what I had in Michigan here in Richmond. Prior to moving I had asked around for recommendations and Carol Grant had mentioned Lauren Sprieser as being a very talented young rider who was establishing herself as a successful trainer. Initially I was hesitant to contact her because of the distance. It was only after she held a clinic at a local facility that I contacted her for a lesson. From day one I was incredibly impressed with her professionalism. Her email replies were rapid and she was extremely flexible in scheduling my lessons given that I would be hauling in from over 2 hours away.
The months that I have been working with Lauren and the Sprieser Sport Horse team have only continued to confirm my first impression. Lauren is the trainer I need to help me move up the levels with the young horse I have been training. She both encourages me and challenges me. She repeatedly assures me that the struggles I have in our training are normal. I feel that she is helping me to not only be a better rider but also assures me that I can train my horse. She has helped me to believe that one day we will be showing FEI.
Every day that I haul from Richmond to Lauren’s farm I spend over 4 hours driving. Finding the time to get away is no small feat. Between working as an Emergency Medicine physician, raising 3 wonderful children under the age of 8 and a husband my life is chaotic. So believe me when I say that my lessons with Lauren are well worth the drive! I have also been fortunate on a few occasions to leave Bo there for a week or so at a time. These times spent as a boarder have made me wish I that we could stay there permanently. The facility itself is by far the best I have ever seen. The “tune ups” during those times have been amazing. Aside from the training I have been amazingly impressed with the customer service. The whole team welcomes us each time like we are family. The positive encouraging atmosphere makes me never want to leave. I know with certainty that every time I leave Bo he is being taken care of like a King. I feel so fortunate to be a part of Sprieser Sport Horses. Even though I can’t stay there on a permanent basis I feel like part of the family every time we set foot on their beautiful farm!
- Amy E. Dahlgren MD
As a long-time jumper rider, I had a lot of long-ingrained habits to overcome in order to be a better dressage rider. I also had an intense fear of the stereo-typical “dressage queen” trainer and atmosphere I’d found at other barns. Fortunately for me, I met Lauren Sprieser! Her direct, often humorous, and always straightforward style of teaching and training has helped me develop a far more effective position and begin to overcome many of those bad habits. And all this while training a green half-Arabian. After just a year of regular lessons with Lauren, we’re competing at open dressage shows and on the Arabian circuit with great success, and looking forward to continued progress in the coming year.
Just as important as Lauren’s personal training style and expertise is the atmosphere she’s created in her barn. Each time I’ve left my horse at Sprieser Sporthorse, I’ve been impressed with the meticulous care, attention to detail, and no-drama atmosphere of the barn. And that attitude carries over to the entire team and clientele at Sprieser Sporthorse. The entire SSH team is a joy to spend time with both at the barn and away at shows. And the meticulous care carries over from home to shows as well, whether you’re a trailer-in client like me or a regular boarder at SSH.
- Heather Richards
My journey began in May, 2011 with Lauren. I am a 49 year old horse addict, blessed with horses in my life for all of my life. I have shown primarily in the hunter division, but also did some jumpers, and before finding Lauren even low level eventing with my homebred cross. I was on the skeptical path at first, having really lost motivation, focus and not having any set goals for myself or my horse.
Well, that all changed after my first lesson at Sprieser Sporthorse. What I actually remember most about that first lesson was the drive home. I was a giddy kid again. Beaming from ear to ear, not even aware of the sweat still dripping down my back. Yep, she put us right to work, but I never remember things ever making so much sense. She actually told me to stop riding with so much muscle, relax, breathe, feel. WOW!!! I still get goosebumps recalling this journey of the last several months. I have focus. I have drive, motivation and goals that I really feel are attainable, not just a dream.
I owe so much to Lauren. Her horsemanship is unsurpassed, her individualized focus on her clients and their specific needs is remarkable. Her attention to detail is common sense instead of sweating over the small stuff.
Two things really hit home at a show with Lauren this summer. She was walking with me to the indoor and lo and behold I see 3 of my braids popping out. Starting a mild panic, I was about to run back to the barn and Lauren just calmly said…”they are braids. It is okay. They will not change how you will ride, breathe.” Well, darn if she wasn’t right about that. I not only nailed my first attempt that day at a first level test, but I left that ring with a feeling in my heart of just being home. This all feels so right, so uncomplicated, but I just hope Lauren has what it takes to put up with this monster she has created because I am here for the long haul. I just feel incredibly lucky to be a part of such an amazing establishment, and great group of supportive, enthusiastic clients.
- Kristin Hickey
As a beginning adult rider I am thrilled to have an international competitor as my Instructor and a world-class facility at which to learn. In a few short months Lauren has significantly improved my riding confidence and skills. I am doing things I would never have imagined a year ago. She is an excellent teacher who challenges you without making you uncomfortable. I cannot say enough good things about Lauren as an Instructor. Lessons with her are the greatest gift I have given myself – I wish I had started sooner!
- Jamie Hedges
After decades of dealing with numerous training and breeding facilities I finally found someone who got it right, down to the smallest detail! From the wonderful footing, to the large clean stalls, to the individual turnout paddocks with Centaur fencing, Lauren Sprieser runs a first class facility. And while I was aware that Lauren is a very successful competitor, I was pleased to find that she is a consummate horsewoman as well, dedicated to bringing out the best in horse and rider. Lauren and her very professional staff work hard to keep things organized and on schedule so that each individual horse gets the proper attention both during lessons and in the barn. Yet even with a busy schedule, the environment is very tranquil so my young horses are happy and relaxed, and we can focus on our improvement with no distractions - it’s like a spa for horses. I highly recommend it for the serious horseperson!
- Trudy Walker
Never before have I felt so at ease leaving my horse in the care of others, as I did at Sprieser Sporthorse. The combination of Lauren’s customized training program paired with the staff’s caring attention to detail, worked to create the perfect environment for my horse to progress and relax in.
Many thanks to everyone at Clearwater Farm. Both my horse and I look forward to coming back very soon!
- Meghan Kavanah
My 16-year-old Holsteiner “becoming a lawn-ornament” cross that I’ve had since he was three, went from “Flab to Fab” after 6 months of Lauren’s fitness camp. He looks and acts like a horse half his age. During the hunt and purchase of my second horse after many years of frustrating, intermitent training with my first, Lauren gave me the guidance and space to find the horse I needed to progress as an adult rider. Now with her coaching, I’m able to understand concepts of balance, position and contact that I never could grasp before.
- Virginia Lux
I have been in the horse world for very many years and been in barns with Olympians and World Championship medal winners. Lauren Sprieser’s Sprieser Sporthorse is at the top of my list as an outstanding dressage facility. Lauren is an amazing horsewoman for being so young in years and seems to be able to get the best out of many different types and ages of horses. She is also adept – and willing – to work with all levels of riders and brings enthusiasm and humor to her lessons.
The thing that stands out in my mind about SSH is the level of care that is achieved. Every horse is treated as an individual and their needs are totally catered to without question. Whatever a particular horse needs to be happy is what is provided, be it turn-out with no grass, exercise in the walker, turn-out 2X a day, it makes no difference. I have a “special needs” horse and feel totally at ease with her under the care of Lauren and her staff. I know I don’t need to come to the barn to be sure my horse is receiving the care she needs. What a relief it is to be at Sprieser Sporthorse!
- Peggy Daly
A dressage queen wrapped in the body of a down-to-earth, twenty something year old motivational speaker - that’s how you could best describe Lauren Sprieser. Her classical approach to dressage replaces the mystery of dressage by common sense, nuts and bolts, and how-to instruction. Teaching dressage is not her job, it’s her love. Most importantly, Lauren stresses the “why’s” behind the “how’s”, which gives her students the tools they need to ride their dressage horse, and the next one, and next one…
If you’re willing to learn, she’s willing to teach.
The amazing part is when all at once it just all “clicks”.
- Kay Brady, 2008 USEA Beginner Novice Master Rider of the Year
Lauren’s kindness and patience in her approach to dressage training has made an amazing difference in my two horses, both were tense OTTB’s and are now in the ribbons every time out. Her optimistic outlook and energetic attitude have been a real joy to work with.
- Cathy Gulick
I know Lauren as an all-around, talented, and caring horsewoman. In training, I regularly work with her on a variety of horses from basic through international levels. She has a good understanding for each horse as an individual and how to create a program specific to each horse. In competition, she is very successful and remains focused to present each horse to the best of his abilities. Everything she does is with a lot of thought and hard work.
- Scott Hassler, USEF Young Horse Team Coach
Lauren Sprieser stands steadfast in her belief that hard work, attention to details, and repetition are the keys to dressage. It amazes me that one so young can be so knowledgeable and mature. She is a gifted teacher who draws on the years of her training and competition experience to find the answers to her students’ questions. Her sense of humor, energy, and enthusiasm makes lessons something I look forward to every week. When I think of how Lauren has helped me, I think now I know what it means to work towards a straight horse, or how to bring a horse through, how to use that infamous outside rein, and how to be soft and supple with lots of impulsion and sparkle. The transformation of me as a rider and that of my horse has been truly remarkable.
- Kay Brady, 2008 USEA Beginner Novice Master Rider of the Year
Dressage training with Lauren has made my field hunters stronger, more balanced and improved their flexibility. I believe they are much better prepared for the long hunting season ahead.
- Brett Jackson, MFH Thornton Hill Hounds