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Pedro Cebulka: Ringmaster of Isolation

Tuesday, 14 April 2020
When at home...

Photo © private collection Pedro Cebulka, now Ringmaster of Isolation! All photos © private collection.

International showjumping's much-loved ringmaster Pedro Cebulka – also known for his incredible costumes and warm smile – has ended up with a very different 2020 schedule than originally planned. Here Pedro tells how the Covid-19 outbreak has affected his life, and that of so many others. 



"During the last 3 months, all of our lives have changed into something we never could have imagined. It affects us in the horse industry in different ways. I know many of my colleagues worked 40-50 shows a year, some even more than that. It’s how they put food on the table. I truly admire their hard-work, dedication and stamina.

My situation is a bit different. For 43 years, I have been involved in 5-star events around the globe. I have worked in many different facets of the horse industry: Maintenance man, translator, ring crew, course builder, announcer, transporting and flying horses, trade show manager, auctioneer and of course, starter and ringmaster. I spent 14 weeks of last year at shows on five continents and I enjoyed every one of them.

My life is actually divided into three different worlds:

1) My hometown of Invermere, BC, Canada with many friends, family and my business in land development (April till November).

2) My winter home in Mexico on the beach with my wife Janet, our dogs Santo and Mexi, and many friends both visitors and locals (November till April).

3) The exciting world of international horse shows which takes me around the globe (year-round).

My show season normally starts in February with the Longines Masters of Hong Kong. To travel and visit there is always very special because it brings back the most incredible memories of the 2008 Olympic Games. To get there, I fly from a small airport in Loreto, Baja California in Mexico to Los Angeles and then on to Hong Kong.

On January 30 2020, only 2 weeks before the event, it was cancelled. So, I stayed safe on the beach and kept on living healthy, exercising, hiking, kayaking and helping to organize lots of local charity events.

On March 10, the day after our last charity event, “Burning Coyote”, we left the beach in Mexico in our truck, for the 4000 km journey, to get back to Canada so I could fly to the LGCT Mexico City on March 24. After 2 days on the road, we received notice that this event was also cancelled.

My next event would have been the World Cup Final in Las Vegas. After this, I would take a direct flight to Germany and then on to the show, “Horses and Dreams meets Japan”.

We all know what happened to the rest of our calendar. At home now in Canada, my wife Janet and myself follow the Covid-19 rules, stay healthy, exercise every day in our gym, take long walks with our dogs and use the extra time to tackle the yard work on our acreage. Almost 10 years ago, we decided that less is more in our lives. Less time spent in the rat-race, means more time spent with friends, family and for yourself. We decided to spend quiet time in Mexico on the beach and on our secluded lake property in Canada. So being isolated now is not all that difficult.

The real challenge is seeing the devastating impact this virus has around the world and right here at home. My best friend’s son has been fighting for his life in the ICU for over 2-weeks. Many other friends are sick and even dying. Every day we hear another story about friends who have lost the battle. Life is so precious and fragile. We are grateful for where we live and what we have. We think about the many who are suffering, struggling and trying to survive right now. 

No shows also means, that the many charities like JustWorld International and their beneficiaries,  that have been so kindly supported by our equestrians, have fallen on hard times.

This standstill of the world as we know it, gives us a present: an opportunity to evaluate what is really important in our lives. My personal goal after this pandemic is to come out alive, healthy in body and mind, and even more grateful for the time we have on this earth. When this is all over, I am looking forward to being with my equestrian friends and making them smile again. Hopefully we all appreciate the privilege of being a part of the international horse show world and working with our dear and trusted friend, the horse. 



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