HH: Tell us a little about you and your horse…
MF: My name is Meghan Faillaci, and I am a sophomore at Colorado Christian University studying Psychology. I am nineteen years old, and have been riding for 13 years. My horse’s name is Ezra. He is a nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding and was imported from Belgium. I have owned him for almost two years now and he is such an incredible horse. He gives me great confidence and helps me out on course all the time, I am blessed to be able to have him as my partner. Ezra is hardworking, determined, and has a great personality. I train under Mark Mead and JJ Atkinson, they have helped Ezra and I so much, I am honored to be training with them. This past show season, we competed in the Jr/AO jumpers, we were champion in our division and Jr/AO jumper of the year!
HH: How has riding made an impact on other parts of your life?
MF: Riding has made a huge impact on many aspects of my life. It has taught me to work hard, and that hard work pays off. It has taught me to persevere through the tough times, no matter what the situation may be, no matter how difficult it may be to move forward, never lose faith and never give up, there is always something positive that comes out of the darkness. For my whole life, riding has been a big part of who I am. I have had many trainers and horses who have impacted my life for the better and I have learned a lot from them all. Each one holds a special place in my heart, and I will be forever grateful to them for reminding me why I love riding. Riding has helped shape me into the person I am today, I have developed skills and characteristics that I can apply to other aspects of my life, such as school and work.
HH : What is the most important tid-bit of advice you’ve learned in a riding lesson?
MF: I would have to say the most important piece of advice I have learned in a riding lesson would be to count (1,2,1,2…) so I know where I am and make better decisions when it comes to finding a distance while keeping a consistent rhythm. Doing this has made such a difference in my riding! When I don’t count, you can defiantly tell, but when I do, I’m usually spot on with my distances.
HH: Is there anything you do or keep with you for luck during a show?
MF: When competing in a show, for luck, I always wear my bracelet that has Ezra’s show name on it, “Cecarelli.” But when I am competing in a big class, like a classic, I always wear my giraffe socks. I won a classic wearing these socks before, and have since deemed them the luckiest socks ever and have never failed to wear them in all the big classes that I have entered. I can’t imagine going into a big class without wearing these socks, it’s silly, I understand that, but you gotta do what you gotta do… right?
HH: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
MF: I don’t really have any pre-show rituals, except that I pray before entering the ring.
HH: What goes through your mind during a competition?
MF: Running through my mind at competitions is everything that I have learned during my lessons. I try to remember the things my trainers have taught me so I can do my best to be successful.
HH: How do you mentally prepare for a show?
MF: I do a couple things to mentally prepare myself for a show: one thing is that I need to be as organized as possible, everything in my tack box, all of mine and Ezra’s stuff, etc., needs to be organized or else I feel unprepared. Another thing that I do to mentally prepare for a show is when I first get there, I go and learn my course, I go over it until I have it memorized, and while I am waiting for my class, I go over it in my head so I don’t forget it.
HH: Do you have any superstitions?
MF: I am not really the superstitious type.
HH: What is your favorite riding memory?
MF: My favorite riding memory was this year at Stock Show. It was my first-time riding in the Gamblers Choice and I was so nervous! I couldn’t believe that I was about to compete against all of these incredible riders. Hearing the National Anthem play, hearing the announcer, being under the lights, and feeling the excitement and enthusiasm coming from the audience, is something I will never forget. Clearing the joker was the most incredible feeling ever! I was so proud of Ezra, he handled everything like a pro and took such great care of me. There is always a first time for everything, and I will never forget this first.
HH: What is your favorite way to relax your horse?
MF: My favorite way to relax with Ezra is by being at the barn alone with him either grooming him or walking him around. He loves his face to be rubbed, so usually I’ll do that for a while. He has a personality like no other, I love to just sit and watch him do super cute things. It’s probably more enjoyable and relaxing for me than it is for him, but I like to give him baths, he’s a handsome horse, so he needs to look good all the time! I could spend hours just doing nothing with him, Ezra always makes my day 10x better!
HH: What motivates you?
MF: What motivates me is the improvements I make in both the show ring and at home. Whether it be something small or something big, it is an improvement and it motivates me to see and know that my hard work is paying off. My mistakes also give me motivation because they are great things to learn from and give me new things to work on, in this sport, you never stop learning!
HH: What are some goals you have for you and your horse?
MF: My overarching goal for myself and Ezra is to step into the Grand Prix ring. I know I have the horse who has the mind, heart, and athleticism to do it, I just need to work on some things in my riding so we can consistently be there.
HH: Do you do any supplemental activities to stay in shape for riding?
MF: Over the years, to stay in shape for riding, I have done massage therapy, chiropractor work, and rolfing. Recently, what I found that works best for me is physical therapy and being on a regular workout routine. Riding has taken quite a toll on my back and shoulders, I was once told I have the back of a 60-year-old! The mix of regular physical therapy and a workout routine on top of my high pain tolerance, has greatly relieved my back and shoulder pain, helping me to be in good shape for riding!