Born: October 3, 1959
Hometown: Sherwood, Oregon
Rich Fellers is among the most decorated riders competing on the West Coast circuit. He currently stands among the top all-time money winners at Spruce Meadows. Fellers' riding career began at the age of 11 when he was given a two-year-old Appaloosa for his birthday. The pair quickly grew close with the help of Fellers’ mother and local riding instructors. The short, stocky horse had a talent for jumping, and the pair eventually became winners from the West Coast U.S. Grand Prix circuit to Spruce Meadows in Canada.
Rich Fellers and Flexible at the 2009 Rolex/FEI World Cup Final (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Fellers was a member of his first U.S. team at the Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba, in 1991 and his global success has spanned decades.
In 2004, Fellers and McGuinness were the number two prize money winners in North America, and McGuinness finished 2005 as the U.S. Grand Prix Horse of the Year. Fellers only competed five weeks in early 2006, yet he was the winner of the 2006 West Coast League.
In 2007, Fellers and Flexible won the Los Angeles National Grand Prix CSI 2*. They had a very solid season in 2007, landing them a spot in the Rolex/FEI World Cup in Las Vegas.
In 2008, aboard Flexible, Fellers won three of the four FEI World Cup qualifiers at HITS Thermal. They were second at the 2008 Rolex/FEI World Cup Final, surprising many outside the U.S., who had never seen Flexible jump. Flexible was one of the USEF’s Horses of Honor in 2008, both for his remarkable achievement in the ring, but also because he came back from numerous career-threatening injuries. Not only did he prove he was back in 2008, he proved he was better than ever.
Fellers and Flexible returned for a repeat performance at the 2009 Rolex/FEI World Cup Final. Earlier in the year, the pair won the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix at Thermal in March. In the latter half of 2009, Flexible refused to give up the limelight. He and Fellers picked up numerous wins including at Spruce Meadows, the Warsteiner FEI World Cup qualifier and the Sacramento Grand Prix.
Fellers and Flexible began their 2010 campaign collecting a third place finish at the $30,000 HITS Grand Prix in Thermal at the beginning of February. The pair traveled east to Wellington, FL in February of 2010 to take part in the 2010 USEF Selection Trials for the U.S. Show Jumping Team where they jumped clear rounds in the first and third Trials.
In March of 2010, Fellers and Flexible were fourth in the $200,000 CN FEI World Cup Qualifier held at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Over the summer, the pair traveled to Thunderbird in Canada and won Grand Prix classes at every turn.
In the winter of 2011, Fellers and Flexible once again spent their time jumping at Thermal, where they picked up many top placings, including wins in the $50,000 Strongid C 2x Grand Prix which served as an FEI World Cup Qualifier, the $31,000 HITS Grand Prix, and the $31,000 HITS Welcome Classic. Their strong results in the 2010/2011 season earned them the top spot again in the North American West Coast League.
Fellers and Flexible finished fourth at the 2012 USEF Selection Trials for the U.S. Show Jumping Team with a clear round in the second Trial.
The pair was only getting started for the year. Fellers and Flexible won the 2012 Rolex/FEI World Cup, the first American pair to do so in 25 years. Their success only continued when they returned to the States. At the Del Mar National Horse Show, a 2012 U.S. Show Jumping Observation Event, Fellers and Flexible won both the $50,000 Surfside Grand Prix and the $100,000 Hermes Grand Prix of Del Mar, which served as Observations Events for the U.S. Show Jumping Team.
Fellers and Flexible had a memorable weekend at the Spruce Meadows Observation Event, going undefeated in the two classes. The pair completed four clear rounds in two classes, including two jump offs. In the Husky Energy Classic, the two would finish in front of the second place finisher by almost a full second in the jump off. The two would then come back two nights later in the in the $200,000 CN Performance Grand Prix to finish almost two seconds faster than that night’s second place finisher.
In August, Fellers and Flexible represented the United States at the 2012 London Olympic Games where they finished eighth individually.
Fellers met and married his wife, Shelley, in 1987 while operating a show jumping stable in Southern California. In 1989, the couple moved north to Oregon to train privately for Harry and Mollie Chapman. The private job and quieter lifestyle of Oregon allowed the Fellers’ to start a family. Son Christopher was born in 1991 and daughter Savannah in 1994.