Students saddle up for competition

Sophomore Maddie Bergman came to Linfield College with the expectation that she would compete in horse jumping, having done it for 10 years already. Senior Chris Fellers was a junior when Bergman entered college and he had just began participating in competitive horse jumping when he started college. Together, Bergman and Fellers joined a group of trainees trained by Feller’s father, Rich Fellers who is a professional horse jumper and owns Rich Fellers Stables Limited Liability Company.

“I’ve always been around horses, but I wasn’t really that interested in it,” Fellers said. Fellers and Bergman train and compete in the same locations.

“It’s not necessarily a team sport,” Fellers said. “My dad trains us and we go to competitions together.” Bergman had been in contact with Rich Fellers before she came to Linfield, exchanging emails the summer before her freshman year.

“His dad is pretty famous, so I’d always admired his dad,” Bergman said. “It worked out really great that I was able to go to Linfield and train with his dad.” Bergman has been riding horses her whole life, but she started getting into the more competitive side of riding about six years ago. Fellers on the other hand, had been into sports, but not horse jumping until he started college.

“I’ve always just been in sports,” Fellers said. “I got into the riding for the sport aspect of it. When I started riding a couple years ago, that’s when I started competing.”

“In high school I was just focused on the sports, played basketball and track,” Fellers said. “I didn’t really find interest in the riding, so I just left it. Then I picked it up and it’s really addicting. I really can’t imagine not doing it now.”

Bergman and Fellers, as mentioned before, train together with Rich Fellers. They work on dressage with the horses and set up courses for the horses to jump through. Recently they have been to Canada and in October the duo is going to Del Mar, Calif. for two weeks, then Las Vegas, Nev. in November.

Bergman and Fellers each manipulated their schedules so that they do not have classes on Fridays. They fly out to the competition on a Friday, compete for the weekend then fly back and repeat again the next weekend if the competition is longer than a week.

Fellers is planning to major in finance and continue competing in horse jumping, hoping to become a professional like his dad. Bergman is planning to major in political science; she hopes that she will not have to give up competitive jumping either.

“I’ll be riding with [my dad] for another year [after college],” Fellers said. “Then I will go to Germany and ride professionally over there for a couple years. Then hopefully come back to the United States and compete here, train horses and be a coach.”

“Well, I still have three years to see where I go,” Bergman said. “If I’m not in a place in my riding where I’m feeling successful, I might go to law school, but I’m hoping it won’t come to that.”

Gilberto Galvez can be reached at linfieldreviewfeatures@gmail.com

Sophomore Maddie Bergman competes in Langley, British Columbia, Canada. Bergman and senior Chris Fellers plan on competing in Del Mar, Calif within the next few weeks.

Photo courtesy of Les Peterson

Sophomore Maddie Bergman jumps over show jumping fences in Thermal, Calif. Bergman has been riding her whole life, but she only started horse jumping
competitively about six years ago, and hopes to continue for many more.

Photo courtesy of Maddie Bergman