Suddenly, everywhere we look, horses and celebrity riders are hot news. We love that. Furthermore, we love some of these celebrity riders. Particularly those who do their part in helping to spread the love. Here are some of the most renown:
As Aristotle Onassis’ only surviving heir, Athina Onassis has been deemed the richest girl in the world, in some circles. Her love of horses helped her survive the childhood legal battles over her grandfather’s substantial fortune and early loss of her mother, Christina Onassis. Married to Alvaro de Miranda Neto, an Olympic level rider in his own right, horses have been a consistent and central theme throughout her somewhat tumultuous life. As the patroness of the prestigious Global Champions Tour, she shares an enduring passion for horses so common to equestrians, rich or not. As reported in People Magazine, “The main thing she animates about is horses. Her eyes spark up. It’s her safe subject.”
Real Housewife of New York cast member, Kelly Bensimon, may be infamous for going-at-it with Bethenney Frankel; but she’s a competing hunter rider, as well. According to Kelly’s Bravo Blog, “I love this crazy sport. I love their athleticism and playfulness. I am hooked.”
Who knew that Supermodel Gisele Bündchen was an avid rider? At 8 years old, while visiting at her aunt’s farm in southern Brazil. “One of the cowboys put me on a very tall gelding and hit him on the butt,” she explained. “When he finally stopped—no thanks to me—instead of being scared, I said, ‘I want to do it again!” Today, Bündchen still rides at her cabin in upstate New York.
Having been thrown from a horse, twice, in recent years, Madonna’s no stranger to the kind of serious injury we riders are known to endure. She calls breaking her arm during one particularly terrifying incident “the most painful event of my life.” In spite of this, Madonna still enjoys hoping in the saddle. The Material Girl even worked with a trainer to prep for an equestrian festival in 2009. Per Equestrian, Daisy Trayford, “She’s a dream pupil.”
As 12th in line for the throne and the eldest granddaughter to England’s Queen Elizabeth II, Zara Phillips is not your average 3 Day Eventing competitor. Much like Georgina Bloomberg, Phillips qualified to represent Great Britain in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, only to have to pull out when her horse came up lame during training. In 2007, she was appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire for her selfless efforts on behalf of the sport. No stranger to the thrill of victory, she remains as enthusiastic as ever. “To win just feels amazing.”
The granddaughter of Grace Kelly, and a member of the royal family of Monaco, Charlotte Casiraghi is a dedicated competitor in the ring. With her recent entree into the world of Equestrian fashion, through a highly touted partnership with Gucci, the ultra chic rider made a splashy debut with The Global Champions Show Jumping Tour. Outfitted in her own line of exquisite Equestrian Apparel, she’s already built a dedicated following as one of Gucci’s newest faces.
As both an Olympic level rider and advocate for underprivileged riders, Georgina Bloomberg is helping to build awareness of the sport. The 27 year old daughter of Michael Bloomberg, one of New York’s most successful Mayors, and the namesake for online and TV financial reporting entities, Bloomberg.com and Bloomberg television, Georgina has been an avid equestrian since the age of 4. Though tapped for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, she was forced to miss out when her horse suffered a serious injury. Through her charity organization, Rider’s Closet, she helps young riders acquire clothes and equipment that might otherwise be beyond their means. A spirited competitor, Bloomberg pulled no punches during an interview with Ralph Lauren. “I love going out there and fighting for things and beating people,” she said.