Olivia is the author of Hellomylivia and we asked her a few questions!
1. How old were you when you started riding and how did your journey begin?
My parents FINALLY let me start taking lessons every other week when I was 6 years old. I was immediately hooked, and begged and pleaded for more pony time. We went to a series of barns over the next couple years and I learned the basics of dressage, jumped my first crossrails, experienced the joy of trail rides with buddies, and went to pony camp over every school vacation. In middle school I started working at the barn on the weekends, and half-leased a 20yo school master who should have been canonized- he was the type of horse every timid little girl deserves to have as a teacher.
We bought my gelding Star when I was going into high school, and I competed with him over the next few years. Once college prep started taking over, I took a step back from riding for quite a few years- I hopped on a couple times in college, but never with any consistency. A year after graduating college I found my current trainer, and the rest is history! She has whipped me into shape over the last two years, got me back in the show ring, and found my boy Frankie for me.
2. What discipline do you ride in and do you actively compete?
Jumpers 4 ever!!! I grew up doing the hunters and eq with my gelding in high school, and never in a million years had any interest in the jumper ring. Once I got back into the saddle as an adult though, the horse I was leasing was not super suited to the hunter ring- homegirl is a freight train on course. I started learning more about how the jumpers operate- there’s so much more strategy involved than just “go fast”- and really started getting excited about all the different pieces of the puzzle that go into a smooth, efficient jumper round. So excited, in fact, that I bought my own jumper less than a year after entering my first jumper class!
Frankie and I are taking a short hiatus from showing over the winter, but we spent this last season competing in the 1.0m Low Adult Jumper division. We’re planning to work our butts off and save up some money this winter so we can hit the ground running in the spring in the 1.10m High Adult Jumper division. I absolutely love the competitive atmosphere and the learning opportunities we get at shows, and Frankie is an absolute rockstar at the show pony life, so we’re hoping to get out there at least once a month next season!
3. Why did you start up an equestrian blog and how long have you been writing?
Admittedly, I was a lurker for a long time. I found some equestrian blogs a few years ago and it totally blew my mind- there was such a sense of community that I saw from people commenting back and forth and being so wonderfully encouraging towards each other. I followed along and loved reading about everyone’s progress in whatever they were making progress in.
Then I finally decided to stop being a creeper and get involved. My first post was on January 1st, 2015 to fulfill my New Year’s resolution to find a creative outlet. I had just started my half-lease on my main mare Addy and was prepping for my first show in 10 years, so I felt like I finally had an adventure that would be interesting enough to talk about.
Over the last (almost) two years my blog has really become such a wonderfully fulfilling hobby- I’ve met some AWESOME people through it and even get to hang out with some of them in real life regularly, I’ve gotten to record my progress first with Addy and then with Frankie, and I’ve gotten to join in a community of riders who are endlessly encouraging and supportive. My readers have followed along as I re-entered the show ring, tried the jumpers, went down to Ocala, bought a horse, moved up a division, so many adventures. Getting to share all these with people who are similarly crazy about ponies makes those adventures even more fun.
4. What’s a fun fact about you that your readers might not know? (can be horse related or not)
This one is tough- I’m a pathological over-sharer! I’m absolutely horrible at keeping my own secrets. I think my blog shares pretty much every aspect of my personality, for better or for worse. But if had to think of something….
I can name all the British monarchs since William the Conqueror in chronological order, I can knit a MEAN scarf, I make up calculus problems for myself instead of doodling in meetings, and I have a deep deep love of crossword puzzles. I can do those all day.
On the horsey side of things: I love riding Frankie bareback in a halter because I have some strange sense of pride that my jumper is chill enough to let me do that, I get waaaay more nervous over groundpoles than I do when the jumps are 3’6” (seriously, groundpoles are evil), and I refuse to ride without a hairnet. Can’t do it. I feel like a hot mess, no matter how put-together I am otherwise.
In case you missed her great article last week, here it is again: But You Just Sit There!