By Grace Cassidy
An Austin-based realtor is trading homes for horses this weekend, when she will compete in the annual Winter Equestrian Festival, in Wellington, Florida.
On March 11 and 12, Douglas Elliman agent Erin Fabacher will ride a four-year-old gelding at the premier equestrian event, part of a long-running love affair with horses that she traces back to a winter sleigh ride she took on a family trip to Colorado, when she was just four years old.
“I was mesmerized by the horses,” said Fabacher. “It was all I could talk about for months.”
When her parents bought a ranch in East Texas later that year, she recalled, they knew they simply had to get her a pony, which she named Red: “I would spend all day exploring with him and wouldn’t come home until after it was dark, so my parents decided to get me some riding lessons.”
Those lessons propelled Fabacher to an award-winning run on the “A” show circuit, the most competitive level of equestrian sports. At WEF, the longest-running equestrian event in the U.S., she’ll compete Saturday afternoon, on the E.R. Mischa Grand Hunter Field, and Sunday morning, in the Adult Amateur Hunter Division.
“Any time you get the chance to compete at the Winter Equestrian Festival, you take it,” she said.
Originally from Dallas, Fabacher and her family had split their time between D-Town and Austin. The pandemic pushed them to make Austin their full-time home so they could be closer to extended family and enjoy the great year-round weather and access to outdoor activities.
Fabacher began her real estate career in 2014 as the founder of Apartment Fit, a PropTech venture that developed a proprietary rubric for grading amenities and helping renters to navigate the multi-family market.
“To operate the company, I needed to be licensed,” she said. “But during this time, I very much enjoyed helping friends and family find their next homes and investment properties.”
When she sold the company in 2018, she decided to move into residential real estate full-time and hasn’t looked back.
Fabacher credits her lifetime of equestrianism with instilling in her many of the values and principles she follows in her real estate career.
“Riding has helped me develop my work ethic and ability to adapt,” she said. “Not every horse is the same, and they come with their own strengths and weaknesses. Being understanding of that, not trying to make a horse fit into a certain mold, helps me appreciate their different styles and try to complement them, not change them.”
Likewise, she adds, it’s important to remember that each real estate journey is unique.
“I think this helps me understand that each client has different goals,” Fabacher said. “In a forever-changing market, to be able to shift and pivot on a dime is not only helpful—it’s essential.”
1. What is your desert island movie?
We don’t really watch movies! The only thing we really sit down and watch as a family are the Formula 1 races! We look forward to every season, and we cook a meal that reflects the cuisine of the host country! We always invite family and friends to join, and our son loves watching “the fast cars.”
2. Next travel spot on your list?
My husband and I want to hike the Dolomites in Northern Italy this summer; also, Portugal! My brother and his wonderful fiancée are going to get married there!
3. Coffee or tea?
I love coffee—espresso to be precise!
4. Most-used app on your phone?
Spotify! My son and I love listening to Brooks & Dunn together.
5. What were you in a past life?
A chef. My husband and I love trying new recipes and inviting family and friends over to be our guinea pigs. I also love to bake.
6. TV show you’re bingeing?
I don’t watch TV, but if the TV is on, our son is probably watching monster truck jams.
7. First car you owned?
An F-250. My father was adamant that I work for him for minimum wage all through high school, hauling trailers to and from the horse shows and help out around the barn.
8. Last book you enjoyed?
Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan. This is what is driving my desire to go hiking in Northern Italy. So much history took place there and so many amazing stories about the heroes that hiked those same passages before us.