How do you explain yourself in a few paragraphs? What makes you unique from the other hundreds of thousands of bloggers/farm owners/doctoral students?
I get asked these questions all of the time, as if the unique aspects of my life are what will either make me, or break me. So here goes:
I grew up in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and was a member of every equine related club I could possibly find – USPC, 4-H, AQHA, USDF, USCTA (now USEA for all of you young bucks)…EVERYTHING.
I went to St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY for four glorious years, and finished with a degree in Biology, with a minor in Creative Writing (yup, thats actually a possibility in a liberal arts school).
My family is my life, but we are unfortunately missing our leader. For years now, we have attempted to rebuild the force that is The Fedorka Family. We are almost there.
I moved to Lexington, KY to follow a boy. A boy. I found the thoroughbred industry, dumped the boy, and have never looked back. I worked for TB breeding farms, eventually moving to manager, and had an amazing ride with them.
I was convinced to use my science degree for good and went back to school to get my doctorate in, what else, equine reproduction. When I’m not studying inflammation of the uterus, I am riding my ponies. MakAttack is my main squeeze, Frank the Tank is my heart horse, and then there is always a “project pony” on the side. You will hear many stories about their adventures.
…So, in just a short period of time, you will have to call me Dr. Yankee in Paris in the comments.
I hope you enjoy!
How do I sign up for the blog?
You can hit “follow” which should be on the lower right hand corner of your screen! We also recently set up a Facebook page (entitled A Yankee in Paris) and all blog posts will be shared on there! Thank you for reading!
Do you also have a Facebook page? I love your article today….such a beautiful story of you and your special horse!!!!
I just set one up!! It’s under “A Yankee In Paris” as well and I’m hoping to keep it updated with my blogs as well as just tidbits from the farm and my life! Please follow!
I too wanted to become a veterinarian. I worked for my uncle who was a small animal veterinarian in Tampa. My pre-vet classes were taken at the University of South Florida. Unfortunately my chemistry grades in college were not the “A’s” that I had received in my high school college prep courses. 😦
For some computers – “FOLLOW” is also seen at the top of the screen!
Dear Carleigh, I plan to share this on my page and follow your blog. I have mostly retired from racing (of course still watch). I am 62. In all those years I don’t know if I have ever seen a more eloquently written and beautiful tribute to all of us “minions” or better explanation of what it is truly like to live it. Not sure if you plan to write for money, I would encourage it. But having been in some silly debates with some haters on FB, maybe some will read this and see what we see and I saw for years. You touched my heart and said it far better than I ever could have. Thank you, Gail
Thank you so much! That means a lot! I have never written for money, but I keep telling myself I should write a book. I just don’t know what to base it on. I’m also in the middle of getting my doctorate, so should probably focus on writing my dissertation more than a novel 🙂
I am also a Yankee living in Paris. I have worn a lot of hats connected to horses. Currently I do not own any but just like the Mafia , “You get in but you never really get out”. Would love to meet you for a beverage.
All the best,
I too am retired from racing, exercising and training. 64 years old and just getting back into riding. You have totally captured my mindset when I was involved with racing. Thank you for writing so elequently about the people and horses in this industry, and thank you for your retraining efforts. I, too wish you could retrain so many more! I just purchased an off the track standardbred who I hope to get retrained. He’s a pistol!
Carleigh, I don’t see a contact button so I will leave this here. I enjoy your writing, very, very much. I ran away from home at 16 and ended up at the race track. I spent the next 20+ years with race horses, mostly thoroughbreds, as my life. I started hotwalking and worked my way up to assistant trainer, and in between I learned to groom and somehow, without a single lesson, became an exercise rider. I have a story I think you would enjoy. It’s absolutely true. Thank you for letting us, through your writing, peer into your life, your love of horses and your heart. Kender
If you’re familiar with PETA you know they have a human hating view of life and are blindingly fanatic. I found this out at a young age. I was about 16 and working at Santa Anita Racetrack and one day, while walking in from the mall next door we saw protest signs being hoisted out by the customer entrance. Intrigued we wandered over that way and it turned out to be PETA protesting the horse racing industry.
They were standing there telling out right lies which I started calling them on and soon the debate and name calling was in full force. Eventually security chased them off and we headed back to the barn. But PETA is nothing if not persistent and every so often they would come back and try it again. It got to the point that most of the backside (where the horses and many of the grooms live) knew if PETA showed up find me and by the time I got out there a small crowd of about a dozen would follow me out to watch the show.
So I am well versed in PETA’s lies and tactics. As an aside I also love listening to myself talk because half the time even I am shocked by the brilliance that spews forth. Anyway….
Fast forward a few years. I am now riding those horses I once groomed (not the same horses but you get what I mean). One day I had plans to meet some friends at a street festival. I left work and went straight there so as to get in as much fun as possible. As I walked through to meet my friends (at the beer garden of course) I walked past this, well, for lack of a better description, this “hippy-goth” chick. She was handing out these small blue flyers. I figured her boyfriend was in a band and she was out promoting the show.
Now, I LOVE live music so I grabbed a flyer and kept walking. As I looked down I noticed the flyer was not, in fact, a band promotion but rather a PETA meeting promotional flyer so I turned around and headed right back to the hippy-goth chick. Striding up to her I asked “How many trees had to die to make your flyers?” She mumbled something about recycled material and then said, looking at my boots, “Do you HAVE to wear leather boots?”
“Actually” I replied with a slightly smug tone, “I do. It’s mandatory in my line of work.” I knew what was coming and PETA girl didn’t let me down. “What do you do for work?” she asked with a glare beginning to form. “I ride racehorses” I stated in more of a dare to argue with me tone.
I swear I could literally see her mentally hop up on her soapbox. She took a deep breath as she held up one scolding hand with one chastising finger raised and before she could say anything I held my hands up in front of me in one of those gestures that say “Whoa, calm down now lady” I then heard myself say, “Sweetheart, if God didn’t want us to ride horses He wouldn’t have given us cows to make saddles out of.”
She literally snorted in derision and spun around, her scolding hand curled into a fist and stomped, yes STOMPED away from me like a child denied dessert. And I laughed all the way to the beer garden.
Hi Carleigh! You are such a delight in person and in writing and I love the way you express yourself in this blog! I’m so glad that I found your blog and I look forward to getting to know you better!
I have just read your blog about the death of another rider. I must say you are wise beyond your years and your opinion is spot on. Unfortunately when a human has to watch another human suffer they way that you have you are educated in a way many people don’t understand. I am sorry for the many losses you have had and the journey you walked with your loved ones. It is a very long twisted relentless dark road no human or family should walk. I know and understand because I have been the one administering the poison they call treatment. You are right chemo and tumors tear a human apart inside and out. I used to ask myself the same question right before I accessed a port “Would I do this” the answer was always “no way in hell” The longer I infused the more solidified my opinion of chemo was clear? I quit oncology and I don’t know if I will ever return. I can say the patients I cared for were the most courageous humbling fighting instinctive humans I have ever encountered. Reminded me of equestrians. I have been eventing long enough to watch a sport deteriorate and take the hardness and fitness away. When it was the long format the riders and horses were in tip top shape. There were no european fat hogged heavy horses doing roads and tracks just TB’s. We phased the TB and the long format out and this is what we are left with. The courses were much harder, longer and way more dangerous. We can’t keep trying to make it safer and safer it is a dangerous sport with a big animal things will go wrong and accidents will happen. We can analyze the shit out of it but in the end its just a horrible tragic accident. I feel so blessed to have the ability to fly over a jump and if I died on the back of a horse I would be ok with that. At least I would not have been tethered to a chemo chair for hours. Made a prisoner to a hospital room in isolation from being neutropenic. Or stuck in a toilet loosing my insides from the poison. I would be free galloping on my horse flying in the air living. I am also a skydiver and hold jumping out of a plane very close to my heart and I will never stop jumping. I believe God has an entrance and exit plan for us all and he wants us to live well and learn as many lessons as possible before we go HOME. Its the ones who are here on earth passing left to left penciling their names in our brains because the Great ones unfortunately leave quicker than we expect. Kick-on and may your life be filled with Blue Skies.