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Family in Focus:
The Karazissis
The love of family and each other! A remarkable,
almost tangible impression that is simply non-escapable between these two young
Professionals in our sport. Cassandra and Nick (Jr.) Karazissis are unique people,
astounding individuals and unbelievably close siblings. They finish each other’s
sentences, laugh at the other’s jokes LONG before the punch line, support each other’s
careers and are a consoling shoulder for the other’s tough times. Must be the mix of
Greek-Italian-Russian-German heritage!!! Left to right: Chris, Nick Sr., Cassandra and Nick Jr.
Being children born into not only a Cassandra, on the other hand rode “Cassandra was my support and pillar
show jumping family but also a family right off the bat. “I was 4 years old in of strength during the breakup of a
purely devoted to horsemanship, horses my first picture, but I bet you wouldn’t long-term relationship. When I was
were in their blood long before birth. call it really riding. That started about struggling, she returned support from
The Karazissis name spans so many 8 years old and then I went off to the female side and helped me realize
decades of trainers and show stable Foxfield for their summer riding camp that greater things were ahead. And then
owners here in Southern California, one when I was 9. I didn’t get really, really along came Adrienne,” said Nick. “It is
would need both hands just to start the involved and serious till I was about amazing that you are able to recognize
count. The legacy passed on to these 10. I guess I just sort of knew horses right off the bat that someone is special
two will certainly remain intact and would always ‘be there’ and available.” and different. This is a relationship that
indeed grow again. “My dad is absolutely instrumental is not a struggle; it just simply ‘works’,
Both these young people are dedicated, in my riding and now being in this and is fun and rewarding. “
hard working, sincere, responsible, business. He is an incredible horseman, Both of them turn the conversation to
energetic, honest, compassionate and a teacher, gives and gives, and is tireless a long time family friend, Mike Edrick.
whole list of other verbs way too long to in his dedication to his children and An entrenched part of the Karazissis
list here, but it’s easy to get the “picture”. this sport. If I end up half the person brood, Mike has been with these kids
Just be around them for a few minutes, he is, I will have been successful,” says from the very beginning, being the one
either together or by themselves, and a Cassandra. Nick, Jr. chimes in with, who carried Cassandra home from the
whole new outlook on the future of our “We come from a training family that hospital. His influence continues now
sport will emerge. The commitment to is really extended. Dad has always with Nick (Jr) working at Mike’s Mailbu
being a horseman is all over their souls just stood behind us in support of stable and Cassandra stopping by for
and hearts, and takes obvious priority in whatever direction we want to go. He occasional support while she works in
their quest to be at the top of our show never pushes us. We have learned by the family business at Far West.
jumping sport. That is, definitely, the his example, and I guess we could be “Mike is almost ‘Uncle Mike’ to all of
direction both are headed. pretty darn good at anything we chose us. He has known all of us since diapers,
But at the same time, they are because of what he has taught us! I just and is as supportive as my own parents!”
individuals, and holly smokes, are they want to say how amazing he is and how says Nick. “We get along really well, and
unique! appreciative we both are!” the best part is we have fun every single
Nick says, “I started riding late. Living at the beach, Cassandra has day. He is tough though, and instills a
Baseball was what I was really into as my taken up a whole myriad of other things driven work ethic. Cassandra worked
sport. I was in the school leagues, and to do. Paddle boarding, swimming, for Mike for some time also, and the fun
just about all I wanted to do was play belly boards, attempts to surf and now part is, he is as proud of us as our own
ball. Lisa Wynn, a long time Far West she is into a hot new sport, ‘Stand Up parents. Mike is truly entrenched in all
assistant trainer, was really instrumental Paddle Boarding’. She has a group of aspects of our family! He is a perfect fit
in my taking up riding. She is one of non-horsey friends that she does a lot for me, I never knew you could be so
those people who deeply loves children, with, as time allows, “Like there is ever happy in a working position where you
is just so nice and sweet, kind and any free time in our business,” she says. work your backside off and have fun at
understanding to children, and all kids “I try to be realistic about the horse the same time.”
really want to be around her. She makes world. It’s so easy to lose yourself. I While this twosome goes about their
everyone feel so good about themselves don’t want it to define me and be the careers, one thing is clear for both of
that children thrive under her care. The only thing I am. I haven’t met the ‘right them, the family business, Far West
only way to spend time with her was guy’ yet, but I know I will and then I Farm in Calabassas, California. They
to ride, so I did. I was about 15 at the want a house, a family and children.” each see themselves and each other
time.” Nick surfs for fun but spends his someday taking the reins and continuing
free time landscaping and working on the family tradition at that location.
his new house. More of a home body, “Right now, for me, it’s better to be
Nick enjoys the quiet times with his collecting a paycheck instead of being
girlfriend, Adrienna Hess, who moved responsible for making them happen,”
here from Bend, Oregon a couple of Nick interjects with a gigantic laugh. “I
months ago. really want to go far in the show ring.
Left: Cassandra having fun in the ocean.
Not having to deal with the business
26
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