For Alexa Pessoa, riding is a family legacy. Her mother grew up going to the stables and wanted to share her hobby with her three daughters—and for all of them, it just clicked. Pessoa’s lifelong passion started at the Hunt Club in Westport, Connecticut, but since then it’s taken her to shows all over the world. It’s also a love she shares with her husband, Rodrigo Pessoa, the Olympic gold-medalist equestrian with more than 70 Grand Prix wins. Together, they’re making waves in the equestrian world, as well as raising their two daughters. Next up? Hopefully representing the United States in a Nation’s Cup.
Free x Rein: What’s your fondest riding memory?
Alexa Pessoa: My fondest memories are from the early days on my family’s farm, riding the ponies with my sisters. We used to ride over to the Hunt Club for lessons and I used to love trail riding home after, having that time to decompress with the horses after a new challenge. I still love riding out either before or after working them, that is always such a great time to bond.
FxR: Was it hard getting back in the saddle after having kids?
AP: I have always been open about the challenges to riding with small kids or being competitive again after having a baby. I think it’s challenging to find balance between being the mother you want to be and remaining super active in the sport. I’m in the stage of life where my children are my first priority, and sometimes that means I’m not riding as much as I once was. But I wouldn’t trade this time with them for anything. Luckily this is a sport that you can always ebb and flow within and it remains constant.
FxR: What do you like about Free x Rein? What's your favorite piece?
AP: I have several pieces of Free x Rein. I am a big fan of the Signature Ponte riding pant, the bodysuit and the Hip Bag. I use the Hip Bag every day. It’s incredibly practical and chic, and I love being able to ride with my phone or just walk around the show without having to carry a bag.
FxR: What’s it like training with your husband?
AP: Training with Rodrigo is a constant collaboration. For the most part, I think that we do a good job of bouncing ideas off each other. We try hard to always give each other the benefit of the doubt and approach challenges with mutual respect. We also bring different perspectives to the table and I think that serves us well in the big picture. It isn’t always easy but there is nothing better than having success together and being able to do what we love side by side.
FxR: What's your favorite show to compete in and why?
AP: I love having the kids nearby and entertained (but not on the show grounds!), so whenever I can find a fun destination for them that has a great show facility I am happy. We are looking forward to the Hampton Classic because we can jump at a high level and have the kids with us!