Dr. Kressi Tiziani is as talented in the saddle as she is on the operatory stool.
BY AGE 13, Kressi Tiziani knew she wanted to become an orthodontist — yet she knew even earlier that she’d also become an equestrian of equal skill.
From her earliest years, the Elk River, Minnesota, native remembers the connection she always felt with horses. (Both her mother and grandmother owned Arabians, and Dr. Tiziani got her first pony and began riding in elementary school.) Yet during college at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, she wasn’t able to show horses and missed riding as well. Her graduate education at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, however, brought her back into the equine fray.
“Luckily, Harvard had a polo team,” she says — the oldest intercollegiate polo club in the country, in fact, dating to 1883. “I had a blast playing, and it gave me my horse fix and a diversion from academics.”
Now she has returned to her native state, plying her talents at the three locations of Lake Minnetonka Orthodontics (near Minneapolis) since 1999 — and equestrianism has become very much a family pursuit. Her daughters (Alexa, 14, and McKella, 12) have been riding for years and show Arabian horses — creatures of “beauty, intelligence and
versatility,” Dr. Tiziani says — in the United States and Canada. Alexa won her first national championship in 2011 atop a show horse named JAS Tucson; McKella did the same on Double Oh Sevenn, a still-active purebred Arabian country English horse. During the school year, her daughters generally ride two to three times a week after class and on weekends.
The family’s focus is not on show jumping, but on Western (Dr. Tiziani’s specialty) and English Pleasure, in which horses are judged on their walk, trot and canter within the arena. Alexa and McKella also compete in “equitation,” which encompasses the rider’s form and elegance as well as the horse’s cadence and style.
Dr. Tiziani’s primary passion remains her professional orthodontia, and she brightens when she discusses her work with creatures of the two-legged variety — “helping people improve their smile and bite, and giving them a smile they’re proud of.” You shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, perhaps, but there’s no disputing.
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