Last week the dressage community gathered in Lier, Belgium, for the CDI Lier. Interesting and promissing prosepect was the American-Belgian rider, Alexa Fairchild. We took some time to sit back and relax, talking with this new dressage star.
Who is Alexa Fairchild?
I am a 21 years old, half American and half Belgian rider. I’ve been living in Brussels for 16 years and learned how to ride in a pony club. I then started training with Fanny Verliefden when I was about 8 years old. She then passed me on to my trainer today, Virginie Deltour to take me to FEI Level. Virginie has brought me to 9 consecutive European Championships and has always been a great trainer with a lot of passion.
When did you start riding and what was the reason / how come you started riding?
I started riding at the age of 5 in a small pony club in Brussels. I had an older cousin and an aunt who used to ride and it always fascinated me. When I was living in Rome, I used to go on small pony rides in the park. When we moved to Brussels my parents organized a few riding lessons and I got hooked. My parents bought a first pony which was a disaster as it was very misbehaved. I kept falling off but that is how I learned.
Which horses were the most important for you in your already beautiful career?
All my horses were extremely important to me. The ones I bonded with the most are probably my competition horses as it was a lot more work together and a lot of traveling to competitions together. I also competed one of my sister’s ponies and one of my sister’s horses but did not have such a strong bond with them as she likes a very different character in a horse than I do. But, if I have to name a few, I would name my ponies Huckleberry Finn and Neerveld’s Blamoer and my horses Totall Tip Top, Timor and Sunrise.
What do you think about your career until now?
I am extremely happy with my career so far. I think that it is incredible that my trainer Virginie has been able to lead me to 9 European Championships. My parents have also been very supportive and have helped me get to where I am. My very first Europeans was when I was 12 on my first FEI pony Huckleberry Finn, who sadly passed away 3 years ago. I am also very happy with the FEI world
rankings I have obtained as I have moved up this year. In the last rankings published on 31/01/2016, I was 7th in the world in the GPU25 category!
Can you tell us something more about the horses you ride now?
I ride two horses at the moment. I have my beautiful mare Sunrise, who is very tall but very sensitive. She has an amazing character! She is very social and needs a lot of attention. I have had her for about a year now. Last year I competed her at YR level and finished 7th in the Kur at the European Championships in Vidauban. That was my personal best ranking at a European Championship. Now we are slowly training her up to GP level, but I will be competing Sunny in Small Tour this season so that she can get more show experience. My newly acquired Jazz is Vanita but we call him Newton at home. I got him in August and have been training intensely with him at GPU25 level. Last weekend I had my best test with him so far and got a 68,250% at the CDN Massenhoven. I am hoping to go to the GPU25 European Championships with him this year in Germany. Newton has a very strange and funny character. He is a bit like a clown. He likes to play jokes, go crazy from time to time and loves to show off his super strides. But overall I still love him and have a lot of fun with him. He loves to work when he’s in the mood and gives a lot.
What are your plans in the future? Your goals?
My plans for the future would be to one day go to the Olympics. Maybe it will be Tokyo 2020! That would be my dream! But firstly, I aim to start competing at big international shows and do well. Then, perhaps aim for the World Equestrian Games? Next year, I am going back to University as this year I have been on a gap year. So I will have to manage the traveling from London to Brussels for two years with competitions and trainings. But I did this last year in Paris and it went ok. But that is one goal of mine as well, is to get a diploma in fashion styling. I am also thinking of starting up an equestrian clothing brand. This would link my two passions together and could be fun to do.
How do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years, I see myself surrounded by horses still. I don’t think I would be able to live without a horse. Depending on where my life goes I might still be competing to get to the Olympics or might be riding for leisure as I might have a job in the fashion industry. It’s hard to tell at such a young age but my goal definitely is to get to the Olympics, until that happens, I will only be focused on riding.
Which shows are you going to ride in the near future?
Next week, we are going to CDI Valencia for 2 weeks. I will also be doing CDI Sint Joosland, CDI Saumur, CDI Compiegne, CDI Roosendaal, hopefully the GP U25 European Championships and then maybe CDI Rotterdam. We have a full season this year but it is always a lot of fun to spend time camping out in the horse truck, with my parents and competing in different countries.