In Transition

They have traveled this road before – full-time students, full-time riders.

These were the first steps into the next part of their journeys. An excitement could be sensed. Making a good, first impression too. “No pressure here,” Elizabeth said with a smile. The girls, though, have found their transition between show ring and classroom to be very straightforward. They have noted, “the demands are roughly the same. It’s doing your best in both settings.”

For the girls, and the other new students, it was a week of pre-enrollment tasks at med school. The first two days consisted of completing administrative tasks. The first day included submitting the final collection of requested background materials and filling out more forms. The second day was each new student verifying the accuracy and completeness of their personal file. It may be a wired world, but much remains the same. Paper is the backbone of administrative files. The student files, primarily containing restricted, confidential information, a paper reference copy must be archived with its limited-use release. The high-point of the two days was having their photos taken for their IDs.

classroom notes: learning first aid

The third and fourth days was devoted to basic first aid training. While the new students all have a measure of first aid training, it is likely of varying degrees. The aim was to have them all on the same level. First, proficient at the basic level, then certified at the advanced level.

Next week, advanced first aid certification and a walking tour of the medical school complex.

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Candles: Twenty Four

She has a way about her.

Very kind, very loving, very polite. A romantic, Tara says, “It is important not to become a hopeless one. True romance, true love arrives when it is least expected.” In the affairs of the heart, “it is finding the one, the one who will love you and bring you great happiness forever.”

favorite peony: paeonia lactiflora ‘Gardenia’

fallen: a giant rose fallen from a trellis bush (Jun 2018)

path of pink: a walk among the roses (Jun 2018)

Poised and confident, Tara is a beautiful young woman. She has taken the success in her equestrian pursuits in stride. Her greatest enjoyment is being with her horses. The simplicity Tara has found in life, much of the credit goes to her mom, Laurie.

Her songs of the moment is a collection from Peter Cetera. Naturally, “If You Leave Me Now”, “You Are The Inspiration” and “Hard To Say I’m Sorry” are part of the collection. It is his duet with Amy Grant on “Next Time I Fall” that has become Tara’s favorite for the moment.

Next time I fall in love, I’ll know better what to do
Next time I fall in love, Oh oh oh, the next time I fall in love
The next time I fall in love
It will be with you

We love you too.

Happy 24, Tara!

mom and dad

xoxo

Twenty Four

A special post by Andrea Kanakredes, RN, MSN.

In one moment, it is their first word. In another, it is their first step. Then, their very first day of school. Children grow so fast.

serious: Deborah after the first day of second grade (Aug 2002)

Our baby princess, Deborah, is twenty four. The years have slipped by much too quickly, especially the past few. Dad and I are so proud of who you have become. Beautiful, intelligent, talented easily come to mind.

Soon, you will begin a new chapter in your life. It will be the most challenging step you will take. Both dad and I know you will give your best effort. We know you will work hard to perfect your skills. In whatever you will do as your life’s work, you will be successful – whether as a physician, rancher or equestrian.

pure love: Deborah kissing her Comet (North Ranch, Mar 2018)

Always, you will be our first, beautiful princess. A princess who still quietly slips her hand into ours, and embraces ever so tightly.

My perfect princess, your dad’s perfect princess.

Happy 24, baby girl!

mom and dad
xoxo

Riding: In The Southland

It was a short turnaround. Four days to be precise. Time enough for laundry. To prepare for a new set of shows. Knowing and choosing which horses will compete the best.

dressage moves: Elizabeth and Secret Agent Man warming up (North Ranch, Mar 2018)

“It is keeping yourself and your horses in a daily routine,” is how my daughters describe the four weeks away from home. Their June calendar, at first glance, appears busy. Practice, events and times marked for every day of the four show weeks, and in between. Their notebooks are filled with notes and observations on every hoof beat taken in practice, and in the show ring, this season. And, making sure they and their horses are ready for travel. “Preparation and organization are key, attention to detail required. But, you need to be practical and resourceful.”

warm-up: Elizabeth and Brie before the $15,000 Grand Prix qualifier (San Juan Capistrano, April 2018)

The four show weeks in San Juan Capistrano are well attended with riders from every skill level. Around 350-400 riders and nearly 850-900 horses compete every week, with a few calling it home for the month. “Each day is taken as they come. keeping it simple and relaxed makes for a better experience.” The four weeks may seem long. Large shows, though, have a way of making the days pass rather quickly.

While the first show week ended Sunday afternoon (Jun 10) with the last rider finishing the final event, my daughters had a short workout with their horses in one of the practice rings. It is not too early to look ahead to the next show week, which begins on Wednesday (Jun 13).

It is the equestrian way of life.

Deborah and Comet: the late afternoon workout (San Juan Capistrano, June 2018)

 

Riding: Grand Prix of Texas

Over the past four years, their riding season would begin in Texas. It made sense to begin here. Quality riders, from emerging talent to top amateurs to professionals. The shows are very competitive. The hospitality always inviting. The setting helped my daughters to develop in a highly competitive sport, and hone their skills and professionalism.

Tara and Cameron in 1.35 m GP Qualifier (Tyler, TX – May 2014)

When the four-show series concluded last year, the show managers were hinting of a change. It would be more than a refresh of the schedule and the adding of more sponsors. They wanted to make the shows more exciting and more entertaining. There were whispers of competing head-to-head with the more prestigious shows found in the Midwest, SoCal, Virginia and Kentucky. It would involve attracting top-level riders and expanding the audience base. Additionally, they would be competing head-to-head with the Texas rodeo season. A tall order by any measure.

With the new associations and commitments firmed, the new show series was announced. The Grand Prix of Texas consists of three Grand Prix events. The three-event, total-point series would begin in Tyler (Week One), move to Fort Worth (Week Two), then end in Dallas on Memorial Day. While riding three Grand Prix events in nine days sound daunting, in addition to other events, it isn’t in practice. It is a matter of knowing your horse, and a matter of the rider being prepared for the next event.

graphic courtesy of Southbound Shows®

Not beginning their season here, it has a different feel for my daughters. This series, though, comes at the right time for them. It is about stepping outside their comfort zone as it is about making adjustments.

The new championship, the quest begins on Saturday.

Tara and Cameron: 1.45/1.50 m Grand Prix warm-up (Tyler, TX – May 2017)

New Trails

They have prepared themselves for this moment. They have studied much. They have studied hard. They have been inspired. They have inspired.

Our daughters have been accepted into two medical school programs, the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Long School of Medicine at UT Health in San Antonio. Both programs are excellent, and have produced outstanding MDs. One of those outstanding MDs is Laurie, Tara’s mom, who studied at UT – San Antonio. Andrea graduated from the University of Colorado nursing program at the BS and MS level. The inspiration for our girls is understandable.

University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Anschutz Medical Campus (Aurora, CO)

University of Texas Health Sciences Center (San Antonio, TX)

Choosing to pursue a career in medicine, or in the hard sciences, is not surprising. Deborah and Elizabeth, mom in nursing, dad in chemistry; Tara, her mom a trauma surgeon. Their essays on “what I want to be” in the 6th and 7th grades suggested a percolating interest. Becoming a professional equestrian, not so much. When their riding began to click, and making the jump from above-average novices to dominating juniors, the prospect of riding professionally became a little brighter.

We have encouraged our girls to follow their hearts in following their dreams. Moreover, we told them do not wait for a role model or a trailblazer to emerge – otherwise you’ll be waiting forever. “It is not much different from riding,” Mark and Trish have said. “If you want to be in any field, you must learn and study as much as you can, then always work to give your best.” Both Mark and Trish have always placed a premium on education for their young riders, and to encourage them to think beyond equine sports. “It’s okay to have dreams other than horses and to pursue those dreams.

entering the quad, University of Colorado School of Medicine

the quad and medical classroom buildings, seen from a lounge area in another medical classroom building
University of Colorado School of Medicine

In their individual interviews with both programs, our daughters were asked, “Why medicine? Why don’t you stay with riding?” Though the question came across as dismissive, our girls handled it with their usual grace. “Medicine and riding are much alike,” they proffered. “There are no guarantees. In riding, you always give your very best effort, every time, in the show ring. In medicine, a doctor must always give their very best with each individual patient. Anything less, you don’t belong in either field.

The pursuit of medical careers does not imply our daughters are finished with their riding, or taking a hiatus from the sport. They still plan to compete, but on a less expansive basis. It made choosing which school to attend fairly easy, the University of Colorado School of Medicine. They’ll be close to home and they’ll be close to their horses.

Deborah, Elizabeth and Tara are clearly excited about the journey they will soon embark on. They understand there will be long days ahead, yet they have not been wary of hard work. We could not be more proud and excited for them. Mark and Trish have no doubts they will succeed. “It is in their blood.

Ride now, ride forever

 

Photo credit: The photos used in this post are courtesy of the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Long School of Medicine, University of Texas Health Sciences Center – San Antonio.

 

Odyssey

odyssey – noun  (od-ys-sey ˈä-də-sē

  1. a long wandering or voyage marked by many changes in fortune.
  2. an intellectual or spiritual wandering or quest.

It was the regular, Monday morning groom. The music on loud, the horses waiting their turn in the ties for a brush down. With their coats trimmed to competition standards, keeping them dust and burr free is an imperative – especially when it’s windy.

Finishing her work first, Deborah raced to the loft office to check her email. The new update said they were ahead of schedule. She checked the time on the office clock, rechecked on her watch, then again on her Blackberry. Deborah raced back down, then walked about a hundred feet down the drive. She saw the dust plume headed our way. “They’re coming!” Deborah shouted.

She walked briskly back to the barn. Her precious cargo from SoCal was arriving. Though they weren’t expecting anything of their own, Deborah’s excitement had rubbed off on Elizabeth and Tara. The horse trailer pulled around, and was positioned to unload the new addition. Deborah signed the paperwork, and was given her ownership portfolio. She carefully reviewed each document in the portfolio. Lastly, the transport and transfer documents, paper and digital, were signed and copies distributed.

Odyssey: welcome home

It was time to unload. Odyssey cautiously poked out his head, not sure if he wanted to step off the trailer. Deborah whispered in his ear. Whatever she said worked; he unloaded easily. The music track playing when Odyssey stepped off the trailer seemed appropriate. It was a cover of the Amy Grant song, “House of Love”.

About Odyssey

He’s a nearly three year old OTTB bay stallion. Officially, he stands at 18.0 hands. On the racetrack, his record is 4-7 in 14 starts. His previous owner said Odyssey wasn’t cut out for the racetrack, but may be destined for success in show jumping. An evaluator said he has natural jumping ability, and would develop under proper ownership and a sound rider.

House of Love

It is the title track of Amy Grant’s ninth album, House of Love. Performing the song with Amy on the album was Vince Gill, singing the high harmony vocal. The song reached #5 on the AC chart and #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. A video of the Amy Grant/Vince Gill studio session can be found here, and their appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno here.