Through her unique bond with horses, Olivia Rainey found her home


Olivia Rainey

Junior Olivia Rainey found her passion while horseback riding, and she plans to continue the sport throughout the rest of her life.

Although young children are often portrayed as asking for a pony for Christmas, their wishes don’t usually become reality. However, for junior Olivia Rainey, this childhood dream was one that came true with the best Christmas present ever. 

“[Getting my horse] was a complete surprise,” Olivia said. “I tried him out, and I really liked him. My parents told me that we were going to lease him, but it happened so close to Christmas [that] they surprised me on Christmas that they bought him, and he was mine.”

Since Olivia’s initial interaction with her horse, Fitz, her love for riding has only grown, along with her newfound bond with the animal. Olivia has owned Fitz for around three years, and they practice together multiple times every week, always doing their best to enhance their skills and strengthen their partnership. 

“[Fitz] is basically my partner in crime,” Olivia said. “It’s really difficult because he can’t talk, so it’s all about trust in him and figuring him out—working to make yourself better and trying to make him better. It’s a really fun process of [improving].”

As evident with the teamwork displayed by Fitz and Olivia, the young rider has come a long way since her beginnings in first grade. With Olivia’s immense love and fascination for horses from a young age, her parents brought her to a week-long horse camp. 

After my first time on a horse, I [realized] it was what I wanted to do and dedicate my life to.

— Olivia Rainey

From there, Olivia discovered that riding was her passion. Even though she was so young, she has stuck with the sport throughout her life and plans to continue riding in college and beyond. 

“It was the idea [of horses] that interested me most,” Olivia said, “but after my first time on a horse, I [realized] it was what I wanted to do and dedicate my life to.”

Along with the practices, Olivia also participates in competitions through her barn every couple of weeks during the warmer months of the year. Competitors sign up to compete in their division within certain classes, and they spend a large portion of time watching others ride until it’s time for their round. Her favorite skills include Hunter Jumpers and equitations—the art of remaining in the most perfect position and pose possible while the horse jumps. 

In addition, the competitions provide the perfect environment to bond with people who share a love for horses. There is always an abundance of friends to cheer on and support. 

Although these performances are incredibly enjoyable, some of Olivia’s favorite memories while riding don’t require an arena or an audience. With Olivia’s priorly leased horse named Justin, she felt exhilarated while riding in an open plain with nothing but freedom. 

“Galloping in the field was really thrilling. I just let him go; he ran and ran. It was really fun. I feel like every day is a good experience—constantly learning something new and working to make yourself better. Especially the challenge of it is what makes it fun.”

No matter what the next chapter of life holds, Olivia knows that horseback riding will be a part of it. Due to all of horseback riding’s unique aspects, it has always held a special place for Olivia above all other extracurriculars. 

“[Horseback riding] is a passion of life,” Olivia said. “Other people play football, baseball, and lacrosse or whatever, but this is you and your horse who can’t talk to each other or send signals. I feel it’s much harder than other sports because your team is your animal.”