About the Author

Welcome to Grappa Lane! I’m Sarah, a writer and horse breeder bringing new life to an old Connecticut farm with my husband, Philip, and our family of animals.

Grappa Lane is named for my horse Grappa, the celebrated seven-time national champion, who embodies vitality and style. He has been with me twenty years, more than half my life. A dappled bay with cresty neck and bright eyes, he is a teacher and an old friend. He reminds me every day how I want to live: with joy, gratitude, curiosity, class, and a little mischief. As a show horse with a wild streak, he taught patience, diligence, and total presence. He inspires appreciation of beauty.

In this spirit, I write about conscious living, on the farm and beyond. We’ve moved from New York City to a fifty-acre fixer-upper with rolling fields, pond and stream, stone walls, fruit trees, an antique barn and farmhouse. Here you can follow our restoration projects and find recipes, book reviews, design inspiration, photography portfolios, healthy-living advice, travel writing, and of course, stories about horses—including the incomparable Grappa.

Please explore and enjoy!


Sarah Willeman is a rider, horse breeder and writer. She owns and operates Turnabout Farm, breeding and developing top-quality jumpers and western reining horses.
As a hunter-jumper, she was one of the most successful riders of her generation, winning multiple national equitation championships, Open Jumper Grands Prix, and the intercollegiate Individual National Championship. She received the National Horse Show’s Sportsmanship Award and was named Chronicle of the Horse Hunter Horseman of the Year, US Equestrian Federation Junior Equestrian of the Year, and Stanford University’s Club Sports Athlete of the Year. She serves on the National Advisory Committee of the US Equestrian Team Foundation.
Sarah holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Education from Stanford University and an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from NYU, where she taught Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in The Concord Review, Practical Horseman, Sidelines, Show Circuit, The Chronicle of the Horse, and CAST’s Bookbuilder Project and Google Literacy Project, among other places.
She lives in Ridgefield, CT, and Wellington, FL, with her husband, Philip Richter, and their dogs, Luigi and Emmylou.

Grappa attended our wedding at age 25 (Photo: Kristen Whalen)

With Grappa, age 29, in December of 2016