The actress and fashion designer is well acquainted with the equestrian community, although it seems, based on the reaction the Internet had to her recent appearance at a Spanish horseback riding competition, everyone has nearly forgotten just how important steeplechasing has been in Olsen’s life.
This pastime of the well-to-do has been a hobby for Olsen since she was a young girl (she started at 6 years old, in fact, according to her profile on HITS, an event management company that sponsors jumper horse shows). If you do a little digging, you can see years’ worth of videos of the actress competing in various horseback riding competitions in the Hamptons or Palm Beach. Most recently, Olsen was spotted competing during the Madrid-Longines Champions, at the International Global Champions Tour at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid, while her husband, Olivier Sarkozy, supported from the sidelines.
Of course, we also have Olsen to thank—with her white jodhpurs, black riding boots, and velvet riding cap—for making horse girl fashion cool again. Olsen even revealed that one of the first blazers she designed for her line the Row was inspired by a show jumping coat she wore when she first got into competitive horseback riding.
In any case, there is a treasure trove of Olsen’s horseback riding history online. Since 2013, she has been competing in the Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton, and she’s been known to compete in the Palm Beach Masters in Wellington, Florida. Just last year, Olsen rode her horse Dunotaire V and ranked 7 out of 40 in her category at the Palm Beach Open.
In 2017, Olsen competed with a horse of another name (this one is named Feu d’Amour, though she also has horses named Prem’ Dollar Boy and Hertog Van’t Merdehof) at the American Gold Cup at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, New York. This time, she finished first.
When she’s not competing, she’s been known to attend the horseback riding competitions as a spectator, as she did in 2014 when she showed up to a Hampton Classic Horse Show luncheon with Sarkozy.
Nearly a decade before her American Gold Cup days, Olsen spoke about her equestrian past in an Elle profile. Olsen revealed that growing up, “my big hobby was horseback riding, so I was surrounded by all my horseback riding friends.” Those who are surprised by Olsen’s impressive return to the saddle seem to have forgotten that back in the day (as in, 2001), she and her sister Ashley Olsen saddled up onscreen for a polo match in Winning London. (This movie also involved some relatable Model United Nations drama during the twins’ school trip to the United Kingdom, in case you forgot.)
The two also recorded a track called “My Horse and Me” for their 1993 album, I Am the Cute One. The wholesome lyrics involve wishing for a horse named River and insisting they “would never give him up for all the puppies in the world.” Looks like at least Mary-Kate got her wish.