USPC is proud of our Alumni. In this new series we will be highlighting some Alumni who have been successful after they have graduated from Pony Club. Do you know an Alumni who should be highlighted? Submit ideas to Mandy@ponyclub.org!

Leighann McQuade
LeeAnn McQuade is an H-A graduate(1993)of Brazos Valley Pony Club in the Rio Grande Region. With four years of undergraduate college, four years in dental school and two years post graduate training she is a proud Pediatric Dentist by trade. She credits her H-A experience with giving her the skills and attributes to succeed throughout this process. Pediatric dentistry interested McQuade because she wanted Fridays off and to be able to afford horses. (Horse habit…we all get that!)

Pony Club brought her confidence in her ability to work constructively and respectfully with those in the position of teaching and evaluating her. This was essential throughout dental school and residency training McQuade’s Pony Club experience gave her “confidence in my ability to do something not a lot of others had done. Gave me the courage to “hang in there” through 10 years of school, applying for a loan to start my business.
Confidence in my ability to teach others. Instrumental in hiring and training new employees.
Humility when discussing details with others, they may not have had the benefit of the detailed training I had.
Grace when receiving criticism. It’s always hard to hear, but it’s how we improve. My office sends out patient surveys regularly, and in the rare instance one is less than positive, I address it personally, humbly and honestly.
The ability to assess other’s behavior and skills (during my years as an examiner) objectively. This has been instrumental in my ability to honestly and caringly deliver constructive criticism and even terminate employees when necessary.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m sure I draw from my PC experiences on a daily basis in ways I don’t even recognize.

“Every rally, every trip to nationals, PC exchange to England (spent 2 weeks there, it was amazing), PC Visiting Instructor program, getting to do certifications with some amazing examiners, traveling with fellow graduates… every experience included spending time with others who had similar interests, yet “another life” too, so I was able to see that I really could do horses AND be a “regular” person, lol!”

If any readers are interested in dentistry, McQuade says it is great. She chose pediatrics to avoid “whiny adults (lol).” Figuring kids out is a bit like working with a horse… if it doesn’t hurt, and it makes sense, they’re probably going to be okay with it. Adults tend to over think things. “It’s a long road,” McQuade says. “If someone had asked me if I’d like to spend 10 years in school, I’d have said “Heck no!”, when I started, but just like each of the PC certifications, you just do one step at a time… and keep going… and going… and before you know it, you’re where not a lot of people make it to.”

When asked if she would change anything about her Pony Club experience, she said no way. She values every bit of it. “It’s the experience that makes it so valuable. It’s not a ribbon or a pass or a fail, it’s the carefully guided journey.”
Leighann McQuade2
Her final words on the Pony Club experience and its lingering effects on the equestrian and non-horse aspects of her life:“Funny thing, is this is probably the LEAST influence… although it WAS important and I draw on that knowledge daily, the EXPERIENCE of PC has made me who I am, the horse knowledge has made me a better horseman.

I graduated in the top 10% of a high school class of over 1200, I have a BS from Texas A&M , I have a DDS from Baylor College of Dentistry, I have a MS/specialty certificate in pediatric dentistry, I am board certified in my specialty. I have a very successful private pediatric dental practice that is known for providing the very best care. But, to this day, the accomplishment I am MOST proud of is my H-A…. (and the fact that I passed every certification on my first attempt 🙂 ). I am grateful for all the instructors, fellow PC members, examiners, and everyone who organized each of the amazing PC events for the organization that was instrumental in developing my character as well as my horsemanship.”

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