“Take a Hike”… (With a Friend)

“Take a Hike”… (With a Friend)

Live life to the fullest. That’s my life motto. Try EVERYTHING. When I was young, I wanted to play every sport because I wanted every experience, I quickly found out that that was impossible, but it doesn’t stop me from being friends with everyone.

Well, that’s also impossible. But I do try to talk to, encourage, and listen to every individual I come across, and I know that’s possible.

Here’s the thing: college is difficult – heck life is difficult – but people and friends make it easier.

If you can find the people that build you up and encourage you, life’s journey isn’t so difficult. Find these people, but also be this person. That’s where intentional relationships come in. I don’t mean romantic relationships, I mean support groups – people who deeply know you and who you deeply know.

Yes, I know, making friends and maintaining friendships is hard and challenging.

But the benefit of two (plus) people building into each other is massive. When you think back on concerts you’ve been to, how hard it was to get your degree, you first job, you’ve done them all with people. My fondest memories are with people. The thing that gives concerts and degrees and sports so much meaning is the people involved in them.

Yes, you should be proud of the things you accomplish in life! Use positive self-talk to build yourself up! But walking a path bent only on looking at books, grades, or winning a sport game – is meaningless without intentional relationships. What do you achieve by getting a degree? A job sure, but when you have five plus years of experience no one cares about your degree anymore, they care about your job experience. So then what have you achieved?

My point is – We are never meant to walk in solitude.

We always need people. We should always be searching for those around us. We should always be building people up and encouraging them to do their best. Isn’t that what you want?

When I am struggling and someone brings me a snack or a coffee, it tells me that they see what I’m going through and say, “I see your struggle, and I want to encourage you to keep going”. This is being intentional. Look for the needs of others and fill them in some way. If someone is lonely it could as simple as having a conversation and asking about classes, family, work, or hobbies.

Life and College are already difficult. We need to surround ourselves with individuals that aren’t scared to love and kind. Be that person.

Today I challenge you to do something intentional for someone else. Find out a struggle one of your classmates, co-workers, or siblings is having and do something about it. Make them feel seen and heard. In doing so, maybe the consequences of loneliness, depression, anxiety, fear and suicide wouldn’t be so severe.

Submitted by GPRC Student Ambassador, Christina Shantz.

There’s a Mentor to Help

The nursing program is one of the most challenging degrees at GPRC. It was very thoughtful for those in authority to come up with a plan to encourage first-year nursing students voluntarily pairing a mentee (first-year nursing student) with a mentor (a second-year nursing student). I was blessed to be paired with my mentor – Abby Fraser – and within a few weeks, she gifted me with this Anatomy Coloring Book as displayed.

Mentors are there to give us tips on staying focused and with their kind words, they keep us “hanging in there”. Knowing that my mentor is willing to offer great advice and keep encouraging me makes this journey all worth the while. Because they have been in this situation and felt similar stresses as current students, they are in a great position to mentor. Studying at GPRC sure has its perks, some of which are hidden in plain sight. 😊

Submitted by GPRC Student Ambassador, Nneka Nwaigwe. 

What Would Happen if Chuckwagon Races Disappeared?

What Would Happen if Chuckwagon Races Disappeared?

Over the last summer, the animal ethicality of chuckwagon races has been highly controversial. I have read many posts with different opinions on this subject. While some believe the sport is cruel, they fail to look into the situation. I am passionate about the welfare of animals, and desire to be a veterinarian; however, in these circumstances, nothing is black and white. I hope to shed some light on chuckwagon races and the benefits to the animals involved.

To introduce the subject at hand, and why it has become controversial, I would like to give you the facts. Since 1986, 68 chuckwagon horses have died at the Calgary Stampede, six of which were during the 2019 tour of the Western and

© CBC News, Jul 15, 2019

World Professional Chuckwagons (2019 Calgary Stampede ties as 2nd Deadliest Year for Chuckwagon Horses, 2019). Veteran chuckwagon driver, Chad Harden’s wagon, got in the way of Danny Rinquette, which caused Evan Salmond’s lead horse to crash into the guard rail (Gilligan, 2019). Over the years, the Calgary Stampede has continued to implement new safety procedures when needed. Because of a zero-tolerance policy for preventable accidents and injuries, Chad Harden was fined $10,000 and faces a possible lifetime ban (Gilligan, 2019).

To become an unprejudiced veterinarian, I must be experienced with a variety of species, and we informed on controversial topics concerning animal welfare. This last summer, I worked with one of the top racers on the World Professional Chuckwagon Association circuit. When I arrived on the ranch, employees were told that these horses were their family and could never be replaced. His team included 50+ horses, all of which were ex-racehorses from both Canada and the United States. Generally, racehorses start their career around the age of two and last for only two to three years before they must retire from the racing industry. Horses with an outstanding lineage are used for breeding; however, the future for most of the horses is questionable. While it varies every year, according to data compiled by the ASPCA, in 2006 more than 104,000 American ex-racehorses were slaughtered in 2006. This does not include all American ex-racehorses that are slaughtered. Between 2012 and 2016, 137,000 were shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. About 60% were less than eight years old (Horse Slaughter, n.d.). While some ex-racehorses are rehomed for other equestrian purposes, thoroughbred horses are high-spirited, and born to run; therefore, they are not a suitable breed for everyone. Chuckwagon racing enables many of these horses to continue their love for running while being given a second chance at life.

© Jeff Mcintosh/The Canadian Press

Being able to experience first-hand the care these animal athletes receive was an incredible experience. Before the horses are brought into the barn, two weeks before the circuit begins, they are kept in large paddocks with partners. Daily, they had fresh hay, grain, water, and salt. For the horses to be as comfortable as possible, their feet where shod and teeth were floated whenever needed. At the beginning of the training season, the horses that I worked with were administered a small dose of Phenylbutazone (Bute), a non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drug that reduces the inflammation in muscle tissue. For these animal athletes before a competition and after a long rest period, Bute is used to prevent damage to muscles that are strained and inflamed. (On the Record: Deciphering Pre-Race Vet Treatments, 2014). Before competitions, animal athletes are subject to random drug testing. During the afternoons, each horse was groomed and examined for injuries, swelling or lameness before being exercised. To increase their cardio, horses where run on a well-harrowed track at 30 km/hour, for approximately six to eight km. Because Thoroughbreds are born to run, this is usually a slow speed for they normally sprint around 50 to 70 km/hr.

When thoroughbreds run, they put their whole heart into it; however, the adrenalin caused during racing can result in heart attacks. The Calgary Stampede released statistics stating that the chance of a chuckwagon horse dying during races is 0.26%. Since the majority of chuckwagon horses are saved from slaughter, if the sport of chuckwagon racing disappeared, the horses’ chance of death would rise to 90%. (Charest, 2019).

I believe that as a veterinarian, I can better educate people on controversial animal welfare topics, such as chuckwagon racing, and how to prevent hazards in animal sports. While chuckwagon racing tries to avoid these hazards and accidents already, many of the horses euthanized on the track occur after a severe leg injury. To repair a fractured or broken bone costs more money and time than most drivers are capable of spending on a horse. After more education, and hopefully finishing veterinarian school, I would love to research cost-effective and innovative ways to rehabilitate thoroughbreds after leg injuries.

Chuckwagon racing gives many horses a second chance. Banning animal sports, such as chuckwagon racing, will not solve the problems of animal welfare. In my opinion, we can genuinely help these animals by establishing safety procedures when new hazards appear, and hopefully, provide ways to rehabilitate animals with fixable injuries. In the end, there is a purpose for animal sports, and there is a genuine connection between human and animal athletes.

Submitted by GPRC Student Ambassador, Heidi Benson



Here’s to the Kids!

Here’s to the Kids!

Finding balance as a student and parent is a tough gig. For those who must balance work on top, it can be overwhelming to say the least. We often talk about the struggle of working-student-parents, but there’s a group that is often overlooked in this journey; the kids. Our kids are on the same journey we are, and while we all hope to build them a better future, in the meantime, they feel the effects of our hard work and dream chasing. So, here’s to the kids…

Photo submitted by Casey Caines.

To the babies who grow up being rocked to sleep with lullabies of Plato and Organic Chemistry.

To the kids who learned to fall asleep on the floors of the library during exam week.

To the children who never complained about cereal for dinner too many nights in a row.

To the little ones who are the first at daycare in the morning so their parents can go to school, and the last ones to leave at night so their parents can go to work.

To the toddlers who learned to walk down the corridors of an empty school.

To the kids who had to share their family time with textbooks and laptops.

And to all the children who missed a good morning and, also a goodnight, because when you are a working student, sometimes 24-hours just isn’t enough.

I know it can’t be easy being the child of a working, student, parent. One day, there will be more time, and less studying. There will be less cereal, and more suppers at the kitchen table. You will walk this path together, even when its difficult, because you need to finish, and they need to see you do it. So, here’s to the kids who will grow strong, resilient, and educated because their first example was their parents.

Submitted by GPRC Education Ambassador, Casey Caines. 

GPRC Wolves Athletes of the Week: September 10, 2018

GPRC Wolves Athletes of the Week: September 10, 2018

Each week, two GPRC Wolves athletes are selected for their achievements over the weekend on the field, track, or court. We are pleased to congratulate Sydney Kelly and Pieter Boone from Wolves Soccer as our current Athletes of the Week!

Sydney Kelly

Sydney Kelly

Sydney, who is enrolled in Open Studies at GPRC, is in her rookie season and scored two goals in her home opener against the King’s University Eagles over the weekend, earning her Player of the Game recognition on Saturday.

A powerful player who is willing to work hard for her teammates when possession is lost, she can score with either foot, has good control and great stamina, she leads the offense brilliantly and possesses a wonderful attitude to the game.

Head Coach Chris Morgan says that “Sydney always sets a good example and is well respected by everyone.” He adds “She is a pleasure to coach and we look forward to more goals from her in a Wolves uniform.”

Pieter Boone

“It is a pleasure to have Pieter return for his 2nd year to represent the Wolves”, says Head Coach Morgan, “as well as being a real threat in the air, he is a strong and physical defender with a tremendous range of passing and a booming right foot.”

Pieter is enrolled in Open Studies at GPRC and was outstanding in the two games versus the King’s University Eagles over the weekend, with commanding performances on

Pieter Boone

defense, which earned him the Player of the Game nomination on Friday.

A real personality both on and off the field, Pieter is well liked by his peers and plays an important role within the squad.

Congratulations Sydney and Pieter!

The squads travel South this upcoming weekend, facing the University of Alberta – Augustana Vikings on Saturday, and NAIT Ooks on Sunday. Kick off is at 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm on Saturday, and 12:00pm and 2:00 pm on Sunday, with the Women’s game taking place first on both days.