While Hunter Holloway has been riding since she was a young girl, she really broke into the scene and onto our radar when she placed second at the Maclay Finals this year on Any Given Sunday (though it should be noted that she won her first Grand Prix class at the age of 12 making her the youngest rider ever to win a national standard Grand Prix). Hunter was head to head with first place winner, Tori Colvin, and they went all the way to a work-off and switching horses to determine the winner.
Hunter recently caught my eye as a rider to watch. She has had success in the hunter, jumper, and equitation rings at such a young age. She has ridden with George Morris and recently started training with Anne Kursinski. She is also sponsored by my favorite equestrian apparel company, Le Fash.
I reached out to Hunter to see if she would be willing to be interviewed, and she said yes. I was extremely excited for this opportunity, and I am extremely excited to be writing this post.
Hunter’s list of accolades is long (thank you to Le Fash’s sponsors page for this list). Among others she was:
- The youngest rider in history chosen to represent the United Stations in the FEI Nations Cup Young Rider Team in Germany;
- Devon 2014 Reserve Best Child Rider;
- Altech National Horse Show 2013 Reserve Champion in the Younger Large Junior Hunters division;
- Pennsylvania National Horse Show 2013 Reserve Champion in the Younger Small Junior Hunters division;
- Washington International Horse Show 2013 Reserve Champion in the Younger Small Junior Hunters division;
- Reserve Champion at the 2013 East Coast Junior Hunter Finals;
- Second place at the 2014 ASPCA Maclay Finals;
At 16 years old, Hunter has a lot under her belt, and there is no doubt she will be a big contender during the last two years of her junior career.
Hunter has been with horses ever since she was young. In fact, her mom rode horses while she was pregnant with Hunter and even took a tumble at one point!
“It wasn’t a bad fall though,” Hunter said. “She was flatting around when the horse tripped really bad causing her to fall off.”
Growing up, Hunter’s trainer was her mom, Brandie. She was also trained by, and continues to train with, Don Stewart. She recently started training with Anne Kursinski, and even worked in New Jersey as a working student for Anne at Anne’s Farm Market Street over the summer. While in Wellington, Hunter meets up with Anne for lessons.
Hunter said that Anne is an “amazing person” and an “inspiration” to her.
“She is so passionate about what she does, just watching her teach and ride allows you to learn so much,” Hunter said.
While Hunter competes in all 3 rings, her main focus for this year is the jumpers.
“I’d really like to do some bigger classes and some World Cup qualifier stuff,” She said. “Also wanting to try and do some more team events this year. I still have my sights set on the equitation finals as well so I’ll continue to work towards that.”
However, despite her focus on jumpers, she still plans on “doing it all.”
“My family’s Equi-Venture Farm has a business based on buying and selling horses,” Hunter said. “I’ll keep showing the horses until they sell, everything I ride or have ridden has been a sales horse. It’s how we make our money so we can continue to do this.”
A typical day for Hunter includes riding about 10 horses and working on schoolwork. She also adds in her busy competition schedule. She is currently in Wellington and will be going back and forth between Wellington and Ocala to compete – with Anne.
Hunter stated she wants to go pro with her riding.
“I hope to take it as far as I can, hopefully the Olympics one day,” she said, adding: “Go big or go home.”
It is well-known that Hunter loves Le Fash. But what other equestrian products can she not do without?
“CWD, JOTT, Samshield, EquiFit, Bizi Bee Boutique, and Purina. They are all amazing products and fulfill all your equestrian needs,” she said. (Editor’s Note: We second the EquiFit, and a Samshield is on our wishlist!)
Hunter has had the opportunity to train and ride with amazing trainers and riders throughout her life. We asked her who she would love to clinic with if she had the chance. Aside from Anne Kursinski and George Morris, she said Beezie Madden and McLain Ward who she feels “are the poster children for the U.S. classical style of riding.”
It was recently announced that Le Fash founder and president, Arianna Vastino, will be working closely with Hunter on some new apparel for the summer. We asked Hunter if she could give away any details. Though she couldn’t reveal any upcoming items, she did give us one hint:
“I’m super excited about it and let’s just say it’s going to be very classic yet fashion forward,” she said.
Hunter has obviously had a huge amount of success at only 16. We asked her if she had an advice for riders that wish to make it big in this sport.
“Hard work and making sure the trainers around you know that you want it,” she said. “Ride whatever you can and get in the ring as much as possible. I believe hard work is the biggest thing though. You have to work hard for the things you want most.”