Alexa Anthony Brings State of the Art Technology to the Horse Industry
BY SISSY WICKES
Alexa Anthony grew up in a horse centric family as many who continue to work in the industry have. Her mother, Cara, is an accomplished rider and trainer, as is her sister, Carly. Alexa competed successfully as a junior and as a member of the University of South Carolina Equestrian Team. After graduation, Alexa realized that she that she wanted a profession beyond riding and began at a Bellevue, Washington based tech firm. Soon, she and a colleague began to grow an idea to bring state of the art technology to the stable.
Anthony is the CEO of Magic AI, a Seattle-based startup focused on bringing computer-vision-based machine learning to animals and humans with a focus on nonverbal forms of data and communication. Via a video camera in a horse’s stall, StableGuard works by learning to recognize various signals put off by the animal related to everything from stress, comfort related to temperature, food and water consumption, waste evacuation, pregnancy and security. If the animal’s behavior is not within normal parameters, the technology will alert humans to check the horse for possible issues including everything from illness, getting cast, or injury to foaling.
StableGuard is currently in operation at Thunderbird Show Park as well as many private barns. Visit www.mystableguard.com.
10,000 Hours of Being Piper Klemm
BY PIPER KLEMM
As someone who has very little interest in introspection, I am roughly mortified that our Editor Sissy Wickes insists on my inclusion in TPH’s 30 under 30. Last year,
I suppose it was for interest. This year, because it is my last year of eligibility. To sit here and ‘noodle’ on life’s path and where I thought I would be and what is coming next are all foreign concepts to me. But, alas, I am game to try. Here is me, ‘saying yes’ and writing this piece…
When I first read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers in my senior year of college, my mind was imprinted (as many were) by his popularization of the concept of 10,000 hours. He states that to achieve a high level of success, to rival a professional in any given field, one must practice, study, analyze or do this thing for 10,000 hours. It is somewhat a matter of time. At the time, I had only put 10,000 hours, or maybe not quite, into my riding career—something that in itself was an analytical failure. While I thought about the concept plenty and identified it in some other people, I never had any achievement at that level so I struggled to apply it to myself personally.
Over the next years, I became a devout chemist. I plunged into undergraduate research, including a single semester simultaneously taking lab classes in Organic, Inorganic, and Analytical Chemistry. In addition, I was conducting full independent research and working as a teaching assistant for Introductory Chemistry. I applied and was accepted into the University of California, Berkeley to pursue my graduate studies.
Once in graduate school, I dug even deeper. I found muscles to pursue collaborations, led scientific discussions in every context, took more classes than were necessary, went to more lectures than were necessary, and read every peer-reviewed paper in and correlated to my field that I could possibly find. I found holes in my field and attacked them with swiftly executed projects and experiments. There was a full year where I did not at any point spend more than 12 consecutive hours outside of lab. After brunch on Christmas, I opened my computer, wrote and edited papers, and then headed back to the office and donned my lab coat. By 23, my publication record was virtually unparalleled anywhere. Awards, accolades, discussion of my Lilly Pulitzer-clad lectures infused my unsustainably intense lifestyle. I put in my 10,000 hours. I mastered my craft.
Looking back, I realize that I hit 10,000 hours too quickly. Fundamentally, it is within myself to push past anything resembling sensible; to push beyond what is rational. My addiction was my own good science, seeing my name in lights, and pursuing past both real and imaginary boundaries. To feed my addiction, I willingly sacrificed health, relationships, and emotions. I pushed my own learning and capabilities to the point of tears almost every single day. My rule to myself was that if I cried three separate times AND broke three pieces of glassware, I was allowed to go home. The cost of mastering my craft became emotionally and physically toxic as I struggled to keep my body in line for the demanding tasks I required of it over and over. My 10,000 hours required me to give up on what I had valued before walking into the high tower where I did chemistry. Everyday, I walked into battle. And, while I could often fight to the win, it was pyrrhic in nature.
This all led to the T juncture in my life where I bought a pony, then another pony, remembered my love for horses and horse showing, and then bought a magazine. I’m telling the story of 10,000 hours because at this moment, I have well overrun 10,000 hours as a magazine publisher, and am just hitting my 10,000 hours as a schmedium business owner. Still somewhat of a small business, it requires much management, personnel skill, and attention to keep my heart beating in time with the pulse of the publication.
If you look at a timeline of this, it took me a lot longer to get to 10,000 hours this time- literally years longer. When people tell me how hard I work, I just stare at them and try to utter out a thank you, but it always sounds insincere. I try to cruise in 6th gear at 70 mph. I wake up and want to work. And if I don’t, I take a moment to make breakfast or go out to breakfast. If I feel like stopping to see a movie with Adam, I do. If I need a moment to meditate, I take it. If a project is a day late, so be it. When I’m bored of an idea, I work on something else until I want to go back to it. I horse showed for seven weeks of Coachella this year, which did not directly contribute to my publishing end goal. But, it was the happiest I have been at a horse show in a long while.
So, what does my 30th birthday mean? I’m here, I’m ready, I have hit 10,000 hours. And, for the first time in my life, I am excitedly staring down the road at 10,000 more. What’s next? Mastery will take a new form for my 30’s and I can’t wait to delve even deeper to pursue long-term success.
Lexi Wedemeyer: Rising Pro
BY CATIE STASZAK
Young professional rider for Carleton and Traci Brooks’ Balmoral Farm in California. Numerous top placings in Green and High Performance Divisions as well as National and International Hunter Derby performances.
Following in the footsteps of a rider so successful, he’s known simply by his initials, is a job that would daunt many competitors, but Lexi Wedemeyer has taken the reins at legendary hunter rider Carleton Brooks’ Balmoral Farm in West Los Angeles and Malibu, CA, and handled them with aplomb. Wedemeyer, the 2016 Champion Southwest WCHR Developing Professional, is taking her skills as both a rider and horsewoman to the next level under the tutelage of “CB” and his wife Traci, and people are noticing, both in and out of the ring.
Following a year that saw her ride to the Grand Hunter Championship at the prestigious Menlo Charity Horse Show, Wedemeyer has boosted her resume further in 2018, bringing home top ribbons at Devon and tricolors up and down the west coast, from HITS Coachella, to Blenheim, Showpark, and the historic Del Mar National Horse Show. There, she was both High Performance Hunter and Green Hunter 3’ Champion aboard Balmoral’s Virtue and Karen Cudmore’s Santiago, respectively.
She’s just as dedicated when no one is watching, impressing her employers with her enduring work ethic. CB himself is quick to cite Wedemeyer’s desire to both observe and learn from other trainers, blacksmiths, and veterinarians and take cues from the horses with which she works, while always treating those around her—both human and equine—with kindness. In an era where true horsemanship is said to be in decline, Wedemeyer is keeping it alive and setting a positive example for the next generation.
About the Author: Sissy is a Princeton University graduate, a lifelong rider and trainer, a USEF R rated judge, a freelance journalist, an autism advocate and Editor of The Plaid Horse. Her illustrious resume includes extensive show hunter and jumper experience. She lives with her family in Unionville, PA and Wellington, FL.
Read More from This Author »