The Final First Ride

Senior year of college marks my final year competing on the NDSU Equestrian Team

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Team captain Becky Prasch and I pose with our Champion and Reserve Champion ribbons at a show last fall

Today I attended my final NDSU homecoming parade as an actual student. If and when I go next year, I’ll be an alum, and I’m A-OK with that. Just over a month into my senior year, I’m beginning to relate with the well-known Captain Jack Sparrow on a sinking ship meme that circulates Facebook every now and then, symbolizing the various stages of your college career. At this point, I’m quite ready to hop off the ship and onto the dock, and set sail to another sea far away from homework and classrooms.

Despite my excitement for graduation, endings don’t happen without a bit of nostalgia. Tomorrow morning I depart for my final first show of the season of my IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) career. For those of you who are new to my blog or the world of collegiate horse showing, IHSA is an association that allows equestrians to compete affordably during college. Universities that host shows provide horses, and we draw horse names at random to determine who to ride. Riders are only allowed to watch the horse warm up before entering the arena to compete. The idea is that all competitors are on a level playing field, and it’s amazing in so many ways. From the adrenaline rush of getting on a new horse for the first time, to the opportunity of being able to ride competitively while attending school.

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Competing at University of Wisconsin River Falls

Tomorrow is the last first time I’ll smush into a van next to my teammates and drive five hours to a horse show. The last first time I’ll step onto a mounting block and get on a horse I’ve never ridden before, taking advice from my coach as she adjusts my stirrups. And the last first time I’ll collect my reins, nudge that horse forward and make an impression on a judge that will hopefully score points for NDSU. Continue reading

Slowing Down

My chance click on a podcast gave me a different outlook on being a “planner”

I listened to the BEST PODCAST the other day. I went to work out after a morning that left me feeling remotely discouraged about what to do with myself after college. I have a strong vision of where I want to be a year or two down the road, but it’s a matter of how to get there that leaves my brain in a jumble of worry and confusion.

It doesn’t help that I’m a planner. I like schedules, and checklists, and organization (except for my bedroom – that will never be organized as long as I live). However life isn’t always that simple. I can’t force anyone to hire me or fit into my agenda, and that often conflicts with my anxiety-driven desire to plan every step in my life.

I generally listen to the Horse Racing Radio Network while I work out. “Jock Talk,” “Trainer Talk,” and the “Equine Forum” are my favorites. The interviews with jockeys, trainers and other professionals in the racing industry are as delicious as listening to a good bedtime story. And I can almost forget that I’m sweating profusely as I tune into audios of champion racehorses battling down the stretch in memorable races. But on this particular day I was feeling something a bit more subdued as I scrolled through my app, and landed on a TED Radio Hour podcast called “Slowing Down.”

Hmm, sounds promising enough. I gave it a tap. Continue reading

Beautiful to the Core

An event I co-founded in 2013 continues to make a difference years later

When I was a senior in high school I had long, wavy brown hair. Then I cut it short the week before starting my freshman year of college. Now a senior at North Dakota State University, my hair is back to the same length it was in high school.

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With the 2016 BTTC speakers, from left to right: Emily Paulson, Dawn Gunderson, Jacky Arness, Bethany Peterson

The other night I introduced an event called “Beautiful to the Core,” which was inaugurated in the spring of 2013 by two of my dear friends, Ama Frederickson, Olivia Bergh and I. The name is a reflection of our mission to empower young women to embrace their inner beauty and channel their drive and determination into goals.

At the time of the first Beautiful to the Core, I had long hair and my future was uncertain. I knew that I would soon be off to college, carrying my hopes of making the NDSU equestrian team and aspirations of pursuing a career in the horse racing industry. I was determined to study abroad, probably in Costa Rica. Continue reading

Back from Saratoga

Transitioning from work life to school life (aka real life)

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How could I resist a selfie with the beautiful Songbird?!

I’m still used to waking up early. Six a.m., there are horses to be fed. My alarm goes off, the most annoying ringy-dingy sound I could possibly find on my phone. It reminds me of a circus. Our little hobby farm along the Red River is far from a circus. Saratoga was a little closer, mornings, days and nights never slowing down. Track work in the mornings, races in the afternoons, parties raging through the night (for people who don’t work for The Saratoga Special). Here we’re surrounded by farm fields. Green soybean plants, higher than my hip as far as I can see. A few fields over, corn and wheat.

The nice thing about the level horizon is the sunrises. A vivid pink haze, painted with purple streaks seeped into the morning sky today, reminding me of when you dunk a black tea bag into a steaming cup of water and the steeping spices meld with the liquid until it becomes a rich brown.

Saratoga has made me into a coffee addict. Three years of college and I never once relied on a caffeinated beverage to get me through a long night of writing essays. Continue reading

New Blogs: Business and Technical Writing

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Watching racehorses train from the roof of the Saratoga grandstands

To the readers of Annise’s Anecdotes, in addition to the usual topics of my blog, including horse racing, travel and my personality-driven anecdotal exposés, you’re going to see several new, career and school-oriented pieces that I will be writing for one of my college classes, Business and Professional Writing.

Even though I’m still at Saratoga Race Course in New York, covering the races for The Saratoga Special newspaper, today I will commence the writing for my class!

First off, I can’t believe I’m about to start my senior year of college. I haven’t fully wrapped my mind around that, especially since I’m currently sitting in the Saratoga press box, about to watch the last race of the day on the final Thursday afternoon I will spend at the track for a long time. After the race runs, I will head down to the winner’s circle to interview the connections of the winning horse, such as the trainer, owner or jockey. Then I’ll head back to the office and write a recap on the race for tomorrow’s paper. Continue reading