Counting: Twenty Two

A special post by Andrea Kanakredes, RN, MSN.

To be blessed with another beautiful princess was priceless. And, you are that, my baby princess.

Elizabeth: eyes for dad (age 5)

Though you liked the finer things, you were dad’s shadow. You loved to follow wherever he went. In many ways, you continue to accompany him wherever he goes.

When you napped with us, you snuggled ever so close to listen to our hearts beat, to listen to each breath taken. When we hold you close, you continue to listen for our rhythm. Our hearts melt whenever you have left handwritten notes of love for either of us. It is pure sweetness.

There is so much lying ahead of you, with unlimited possibilities. An intelligent and beautiful woman you have become. A successful equestrian, a talented musician. Our perfect baby princess.

Happy 22, baby!

xoxo
mom and dad

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Riding: Iowa

It represents the halfway point of the back half of the 2017 season. Yet, plenty of riding remains. Practice for the two weeks away has been fairly straightforward. Much of it is staying sharp, staying crisp. Moreover, it is about staying with the technique that have brought them to this point. Consistency is valued at this point in the season. Trish is very pleased with how well the girls are riding. “They are riding better than ever before.”

Preparing on a short week has its advantages. It allows my daughters to have a steadier and narrower focus. The Iowa shows, though not CSI-rated*, are among the best on the AA circuit. They have the ability to draw some of the best riders from across the nation. My daughters know they must be on top of their game to be in a position to compete.

Tara and Cameron: deciding on the saddle pads (JN Ranch, Jul 30 2017)

Time to ride.

* CSI – Concours de Saut International, the rating system for show jumping events.

Riding: The Home Ground

Over the past few years, it has been riding away from home. The level of competition is much greater and more varied. Riding at a higher level certainly warrants this kind of approach. It is important to measure individual progress and to improve riding skills. It also requires more selectivity while constructing the show schedule. Traveling a long distance for one show and back home, that show likely does not make the schedule – though we’ve done it a few times. Making all the pieces fit – shows, practice, downtime – on the calendar is the difficult part. It provides invaluable experience for the younger equestrian contemplating a professional career.

Walk of Champions (Colorado Horse Park, July 2016)

This week, and next, the riding will be closer to home. These two shows are part of a summer series, which begins in early June and ends in late July, or early August. It is a nice series drawing riders from the Four Corners zone, the larger Intermountain West and the Midwest. With the away schedule, my daughters have used the month of July as downtime while maintaining their in-season practice schedule. Last summer, they rode the last show of the series. This summer, it is the last two shows of the series.

Riding the home ground has given the girls the opportunity to renew their ties with riding friends who still make the trek, here, for two, three or four weeks. They’ll also be sharing some of their experience with the five junior riders from RRC. Trish will have them shadow Deborah, Elizabeth and Tara like she had them shadow Greg, Sarah and Megan. Trish, she’ll be watching everything from the sidelines.

end of the day: Trish and Perry head back to the barn (RRC, July 6 2017)

Candles: Twenty Three

From the sophisticated to highly-regarded equestrian to the everyday, Tara can easily wear any style and look. Her strawberry blonde hair draws attention.

Iowa downtime: stylish and sophisticated (Aug 2014)

Tara and Brie: the special forever connection

everyday: a kitty-ready lap

Without a doubt, Tara is a beautiful young woman. Very kind, very loving. Though easy going and relaxed, Tara can be strong-willed when she needs to be. She has a wisdom about her. Credit much of that to her mom, Laurie.

Tara has a way of surprising. And, in a way to make smiles. Her song of the moment is Trisha Yearwood’s “How Do I Live Without You“. The lyrics speaks to her heart.

“Without you
There would be no sun in my sky
There would be no love in my life
There’d be no world left for me”

They speak to ours.

Happy 23, Miss Tara!

xoxo
mom and dad

Mid-Season Break

It’s another day off from riding, before going back to work tomorrow. The day off from riding is good for both horse and rider. The horses, essentially, to be horses. My daughters, the riders, to be the young women they are.

Having their nails done, they enjoy.

Deborah & Elizabeth: matching multi-color glitter

Tara: classic red glitter

Their thoughts, though, are not far from riding. The off-saddle work of reviewing hours of video and sorting through a few hundred photos is exacting, ferreting out the good and the not-so-good.

Come tomorrow, they’ll be ready to get back to work – riders and horses.

Deborah and Comet: the end of a day off (JN Ranch, Jul 05 2016)

A Bit of Inspiration

My daughters have found some of their preferences match up with one of best riders in the world, Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden. The video featuring Beezie Madden talking about preferences can be seen here.

A Princess at Twenty Three

A special post by Andrea Kanakredes, RN, MSN.

At a certain time, the days begin to pass by quickly. Milestone after milestone are passed. Twenty. Twenty-one. Twenty-two.

Deborah: already a princess (age 2)

In becoming twenty-three, you have so much lying ahead of you with promises of unlimited possibilities. Our first princess, our most perfect princess. While smart, beautiful and accomplished easily comes to mind, words cannot describe the woman you have become. Dad and I are so proud of you.

Still a toddler, you had eyes for riding a pony. First, with your Blue scooter horse. Then, with your Cocoa bouncy horse. And, with Pinkie Carousel Horse.

horse love: Deborah and Pinkie Carousel Horse (age 2)

Your eyes brightened when you learned how to ride, first on ponies and later with mares and stallions. Your connection with horses is very special. You worried about Cara, your first pony, when you transitioned to the taller horses. Cara did okay, retiring to the pony good life. She’s still your first love.

the quiet moment: Deborah and Cara the pony (JN Ranch, Jun 03 2017)

Whatever craft you choose to make your life’s work, we know you’ll love it and you’ll work hard to perfect the skills. Like riding, you will carve out your niche and succeed.

You will always be our first, beautiful princess. A princess who continues to quietly slip her hand into ours, and one who embraces ever so tightly.

My perfect princess, your dad’s perfect princess.

Happy 23, baby girl!

xoxo
mom and dad

Riding: The Turnaround

This is when the riding schedule begins in earnest. A few days at home to recoup and prepare for four weeks away in SoCal. While it is demanding, the girls relish the challenge and the attention to detail.

For their light workout, Trish came down on Thursday to watch the girls from the sidelines. Though they rode very well in the first two shows of the season, they said it seemed like they were out-of-sync. The three said the flow could have been more smoother, a little more crisp.

their turn: Tara and Brie start a half-speed circle exercise with Deborah and Elizabeth waiting their turn
(JN Ranch, Jun 01 2017)

With Trish watching, the light workout session became more of a lesson. A half-speed exercise session in the morning. In the afternoon, an off-saddle classroom session. She determined the girls were riding more tightly than usual. The remedy – trust yourself, trust your horse.

While the girls were in class, the horses napped the warm afternoon away. A nice spray down followed when class let out.

the afternoon cool down: Tara spraying down Cameron (JN Ranch, Jun 01 2017)

“Ride now, ride forever”