Sunday, Apr. 14, 2024

Blogger Carleigh Fedorka

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So an eventer, a dressage rider, and a hunter rider walk into a bar… Just kidding. It was just me.

I walked into the bar. Only the bar was my home, and the bartender was my boyfriend. Too broke to afford a real drink, or a designer beer—the money had been drained from my account into the pockets of Hunterland.

I knew the news was bad about Philippa Humphreys at the Jersey Fresh International CCI*** hours before it was ever released. I was doing what I always do on the weekends of the “big ones.” Scrolling through Eventing Nation, constantly refreshing, trying to see the latest update or the most recent scores.  

I made one of the hardest decisions of my life a few weeks ago. My own personal Sophie’s Choice.  

Choosing between two beings that I considered sons, with no real perfect answer. I sold Mak.

“The path to becoming a successful rider is in riding every horse. Every single horse that you are offered.  This is the simplest way to bettering yourself.”


Alexa and Nixon through a grid. Photo by Taylor Pence

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My alarm went off at 5:15 a.m. the other morning, and as I drug a brush through my hair and threw food into my dogs’ bowls, I began to wonder, why it is that I do this?  

While everyone else was enjoying a Sunday on the couch watching football, or doing a girls’ brunch with a mimosa, I was layering long underwear under my breeches in order to spend another frigid day at a winter schooling show.

I have now been interviewed numerous times in the past few months about my current Thoroughbred project, Called To Serve. More so since the Retired Racehorse Project’s TB Makeover, where we won the dressage discipline

And each time, I am asked the same question: Why Nixon? What made you pick him? I usually answer with the same cliché sound bite—he is big, he is sound, he is young, and he is put together beautifully.

“525,600 minutes. 525,000 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes. How do you measure, measure a year?”

These lyrics sang in the Broadway musical “Rent” have been weighing heavily on my mind. Tis the season for everybody to begin to speak of their year, telling of triumphs, and failures. Victories, and setbacks. Statuses of show records, and levels competed. Claiming to change their strategy for next year.

They’re also the lyrics that were sang at my father’s funeral.

I can remember it like it was yesterday. The age of 5, wearing purple Wranglers at a dusty fairgrounds.

I had gone to this Western Pennsylvania Quarter Horse Show with my Aunt Holly and Uncle Bob, most likely as an excuse to get me out of my mother’s hair. They were both ambitiously competing for another AQHA title, and like any young girl, I was quite easy to convince to travel to a show full of ponies. I was going to compete my own pony that I had been taking weekly lessons on, Chocolate, and struggling to memorize that damned barrel pattern.

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