BY TYLER BUI
After finding success in the pony ring, 14-year-old Olivia Pittenger has her sights set firmly on the THIS National Children’s Medal Final.
“I’m from Austin, Texas, and I started riding when I was five years old,” Pittenger says. “I’ve been to Pony Finals, I’ve been to Capital Challenge twice—I just love this sport.”
Pittenger trains with Woodhill Farm out of Dallas, TX. She currently competes in a variety of equitation medals as well as the 3’3” Junior Hunters.
“I’ve had my horse Fernando since January of 2022. He’s who I compete in the equitation with,” says Pittenger. “Fernando is a very fun horse to ride; he’s very relaxed in the show ring. He’s experienced, he knows what he’s doing and he’s just an awesome horse. The THIS Children’s Medal has been my main goal this year, so we’ve been striving to get those points.”
Pursuing goals in the equitation ring has provided meaningful challenges for the junior rider, who has enjoyed the tests asked of riders that advance past the first round of THIS Children’s Medal classes.
”Memorizing your jump numbers [and] having the judge come up with a complicated test—I think it’s really fun,” she says. “I like competing in the equitation, because it’s judged on the rider, so I know what to work on, and I like that I can challenge myself to do the best I can with complicated courses.”
Pittenger’s goal is to continue to compete in the equitation and move up to the 3’6” “Big Eq” classes. She plans to compete at Tryon, the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, Capital Challenge, and the National Horse Show.
“My biggest accomplishments so far were winning the Texas Hunter Jumper Association Medal [Final] and being ranked in the top 10 of the THIS Children’s Medal,” Pittenger says. “[I also won] the class twice at Pin Oak this year. That’s been a very big accomplishment for me.”
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