By John Frison
Of all the horses out at the UGA Equestrian Complex, Miller Lantis has a clear favorite: Garth. Not only does the senior rider from the small town of Corunna, Mich., like the horse’s personality and temperament, but the name Garth also brings up fond memories of her grandfather, a big Garth Brooks fan.
During a recent Quick Chat, Lantis talked about Garth, her start in riding, her funniest teammate, where she wants to be in 10 years, and much more. Here’s some of what she had to say:
Frison: Were you practically born on a horse or did you come to the sport a bit later on in your childhood?
Lantis: I guess you could say I came to the sport a little later. I was probably 8 years old when I started showing, which is kind of later.
Frison: How did you get started in the first place?
Lantis: I really can’t even remember. My mom just said we were going to horse lessons and it kind of stuck. I really just liked the challenge. The trainer I grew up with was great, Michelle Warda, she was like a second mom to me.
The atmosphere and the second family I got from being at the barn, it was just great.
Frison: Are horses and riding big deals in that part of Michigan?
Lantis: It’s really not too huge where I’m from. We had a high school equestrian team; not a lot of girls ride in my area so I was pretty much the only one.
Frison: Did the equestrian coach at your high school ask you pretty much every day to come join the team?
Lantis: Yeah, they always wanted me to join the high school team but our high school team had a conflict with the industry I competed in. It’s kind of like AAU basketball — I was kind of doing AAU horses where I would show all over the country and my high school team would only do small competitions in Michigan. I kind of did the bigger leagues so I didn’t have time for the high school one.
Frison: What was it like seeing the country through riding starting at a pretty young age?
Lantis: It gave me so many different experiences. Growing up, the only time we would really travel was for horse shows. It allowed me to see different places; we would go to Canada a lot and that was really cool. I don’t think I would have ever gone to Canada if it wasn’t for horses.
Frison: Do you have a favorite horse among the group at Georgia right now?
Lantis: Yeah, that’s easy, Garth. He’s like a really short, little quarter horse. He kind of looks like a pony so he’s really cute looking. He’s also super lazy and really relaxed, so I love that [laughs]. My grampa, he loved to listen to Garth Brooks all the time, so I kind of tie Garth’s name with my grampa. It’s a good memory.
Frison: What’s something you could eat every day and never get tired of it?
Lantis: Probably tacos. I really like shrimp tacos at the moment but I eat them so much that I’ll probably get tired of them soon. I’ll need to switch it up soon. There’s a large variety so you can never get tired of eating tacos.
Frison: As we do this interview, it’s about 65 degrees outside. As someone from Michigan, how do you enjoy the Georgia winters?
Lantis: I love it. I’ve definitely gotten used to it and it’s definitely going to be hard to go back home and get used to the Michigan winters again. We actually go to Florida for Christmas, my family does, so I haven’t been back to Michigan for a while, and if I do it’s only for the summer.
Frison: Who is the funniest person on the team?
Lantis: It’s probably Hayley Mairano. She’s hilarious. She does this thing where she tap-dances all the time; she’ll just randomly start tap-dancing. The whole team, it just lights the mood, and everyone laughs. Some of the stuff that comes out of her mouth, it’s just so random and silly. She’s really funny.
Frison: In a perfect world, what are you doing in 10 years?
Lantis: I just recently got accepted to Michigan State’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, so I’m going to medical school. Hopefully, in 10 years I’ll be somewhere practicing medicine. I really want to go back to my hometown and hopefully open up an office there.
Frison: What led you in the direction of osteopathic medicine?
Lantis: From a young age I was always kind of interested in medicine. Our family doctor practices osteopathic medicine and he’s just inspired me while watching him over the years. I really appreciated the emphasis he places on the holistic view of the body, so he’s not only concerned about the physical factors but also the mental and spiritual well-being of patients. I just really like the emphasis on the holistic view.
(This Q&A was lightly edited for length and clarity.)
Assistant Sports Communications Director John Frison is the staff writer for the UGA Athletic Association and curator of the ITA Men’s Tennis Hall of Fame. You can find his work at: Frierson Files. He’s also on Twitter: @FrisonFiles and @TeamFootball.