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Equestrian rider finds second home on the runway

When she’s not in class, junior Claire Fisher can often be found on a fashion runway or perched atop a saddle at Tally Ho Farms.

Fisher, 20, is a political science major with minors in broadcast journalism, theatre arts and modern languages. For a relaxing yet competitive outlet, the Miami native has been a member of UM’s Equestrian Club for the last three years. It’s no big surprise for someone who’s been riding horses since age 8.

But her other off-campus venture is a budding modeling career. Fisher was “discovered” on Lincoln Road, also when she was 8. She took a break from modeling in middle school, but returned to it once she arrived at UM. Last summer, Fisher participated in Splashion, which kicked off the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Swim Week in Miami Beach.

“It really breaks you out of your shell when you’re walking on a runway and more than 1,000 people are watching you, especially when you’re in a bathing suit,” she said.

Horseback riding gives Fisher a different kind of adrenaline fix. During the equestrian season, which is September to November and January to March, she participates two or three times a month.

“You train so much for months and months, you drive for hours, and then you’re there in the ring for 30 seconds,” she said. “The pressure is insane.”

Her friends say Fisher can handle it.

“Claire can keep her cool under the pressure,” teammate Cat Schulz said. “It’s like you wouldn’t even know she was nervous under her helmet.”

UM’s club has traveled to places such as the Savannah College of Art and Design, the College of Charleston and Georgia South University.

Aside from competitions, Fisher also takes private lessons twice a week like most of her teammates. Unfortunately, her packed schedule left her no time for upkeep or caring for her horses. So, she made the tough decision to sell them.

“One of the hardest moments of my life has been having to accept the fact that I was losing two animals that I’d loved and owned for five years of my life,” Fisher said.

She has done well in equestrian competitions. Last year, she qualified for regionals. There she placed first and won grand champion, and from was then the only female from UM to qualify for Zones. At Zones, she placed seventh in two competitions at Virginia Intermont College.

She continues to set high goals for herself.

“Next year I’m really hoping to qualify for nationals,” she said. “We haven’t had someone competing there from UM in a very long time.”

Fisher doesn’t plan to stop there. The Olympics weigh heavy on her mind.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to go after I graduate, once I can take riding more seriously,” she said.

July 11, 2013

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Bailey Murray


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