Lauren Asher grew up outside of Denver, Colorado. She began riding at age 5, beginning in Hunt Seat, but also trying out a little Western and Show Jumping before she began Dressage when she was 11. Since then, Lauren has focused solely on Dressage. Her parents bought her her first horse, an 18 year old KWPN gelding, Izmar, when she was 12. At the age of 18, Lauren left Colorado to pursue her Dressage dreams in California, in order to have access to greater shows and qualifying competitions. Now partnered with De Noir, Lauren just finished up her first European Tour, basing her training in the Netherlands with Bob Tenwolde. At home in San Diego, she is trained by David Blake. Outside of Dressage, Lauren has a strong interest in foreign languages, currently speaking French, Spanish, and Dutch.
Our Interview with Lauren:
1. How long have you been riding Dressage?
I have been riding since I was five years old, and started Dressage when I was 11.
2. Have you always ridden Dressage?
No, I started out in Hunters and then did some western as well before I did Dressage.
3. How many days a week to you go to the barn and ride?
I am at the barn every day, even on days when I am not training. I think it is important to take care of your horse on its days off as well as the normal training days. Typically, I train 5 or 6 days a week, and give my horse Sunday or Monday off to rest, where he will just get a massage and hand-walked or pasture turnout.
4. What is a typical warm up and cool down for you and your horse(s)?
For my horse, we really like to focus on getting him supple and over the back, the rhythm always being paramount along with keeping him active behind. I will usually walk him for about 15 minutes, and then trot a little, and then do lots of work in the canter to supple him and keep him quicker behind.
5. What is the importance of transitions in your schooling?
Transitions are extremely critical in our training. Even in the warm-up, I will constantly test my horse’s responsiveness to my aids with small transitions.
6. Do you follow the Scales of Training on a daily basis?
Yes, of course.
7. Do you work on each level for the year before moving to the next level?
I try to make the best decision about what level to show based on the horse’s level of training and what is best for them at that point in time.
8. What kind of saddle do you have?
I have an Equipe Viktoria, which I love. I have found the Equipe saddles to offer unparalleled quality and feel for both the rider and horse
9. What is the most important Dressage event you have been to?
Either the North American Young Rider Championships, or the one I just went to, the CDI-Y Compiènge, where we placed 4th in the Kür.
10. How often do you show?
I like to show fairly often, about one or two shows a month in the winter season, and about one a month in the summer, on average, with less shows in the fall.
11. Do you braid your own horse’s mane?
12. Who grooms for you at your shows?
For my European Tour, it has been Kjersten Lance. She is both a fantastic groom and rider, and she knows my horse De Noir really well, so I am incredibly lucky to have her on my team!
13. Do you trail ride and how often?
I live in San Diego normally, so there’s not that many great trails within reach of us. I will hack De Noir down the driveway quite a bit though when I am there. Now that I am in the Netherlands, I enjoy taking him for hacks out in the pastures daily. I think it is very important to get the horses out of the arena in addition to normal training
14. What are your goals for 2016?
I have pretty much fulfilled all of my dreams for this year – my biggest goal was to qualify for the European Young Rider Tour, and I am here in the Netherlands on the tour right now! For the rest of the year, I already qualified for the NAYRC before I left, so I would like to compete there as well. I am originally from Colorado, and the championships are in Parker this year, so it would be fun for me to go back there again!
15. What is your favorite musical freestyle you have seen?
Tough question, there are so many great ones! I think my favorite one would have to be Steffen Peters’ 2010 WEG Freestyle with Ravel – I loved the music and it was a very inspiring ride to see in person!!
16. If you could clinic or train with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Adelinde Cornelissen – she is such a phenomenal rider!
17. What can you tell other junior riders about reaching their goals in dressage?
Stick with it, and always believe in yourself! Between 2011 and 2014, I was pretty much out of the show ring and not riding much, as my horses all had big injuries or health problems, but I stuck with it, even when things were difficult, and knew that I could do it. Also, when things aren’t working out, don’t be afraid to try a different approach or forge a new path – everything in life is a learning experience, and even if something seems difficult at the time, it always teaches you something and helps you make better decisions in the future. Also, find people who really support and believe in you – having good people on your team is critical!
18. What is your horse’s personality like?
De Noir is a character! He used to be a stallion in Denmark for a long time, so sometimes he still thinks he’s a stallion, but I love that, as he likes to show off a fair bit! He is very sweet to me, and a real love, but he is very particular about his people and who he lets in his personal space – he has to get to know you before he accepts you, and then he is the cutest and sweetest horse (and in my opinion, the most handsome! Haha).
19. Please tell us who you would like to Thank for being your best supporters:
I have so many people to thank, who have supported me and been a part of my journey over the years – from my family who has always supported and believed in me, my wonderful parents, to my very first trainer, Carol von Michaelis, who taught me when I was just starting out, to David Blake and Bob Tenwolde, who I am training with currently. Also, to the wonderful horses that have taught me along the way, and are still teaching me. The list goes on and on – I would not be where I am today without the support of some very special people – thank you all for always believing in me and supporting me, I love you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart!
20. What is your favorite quote that you love and want to share with others?
My favourite quote would be from Michael Jordan – “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” Michael Jordan