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Do you remember the first time you rode a horse?  

It was a day I relived for years.  I was visiting my mom’s friend, Pam Hubbard, and she let me ride on of her daughter’s horses.  I had been practicing for weeks on a horse made of chairs and blankets in my living room.  

What kind of horses do you ride in your sport? Who is your favorite four-legged riding companion/why?  

I ride mostly warmblood horses which are bred with the stamina to gallop long distances, the athleticism to jump large fences and the movement to be competitive in dressage.  The types of horses I ride typically are the trip-athlete of horses. I have been blessed to ride so many wonderful horses, but at the moment, Castle Larchfield Purdy is my top horse and he is truly a gift to have at the barn.  He is an integral part of my dream and has help it become a reality.  I am his biggest fan!

Screen-Shot-2016-07-01-at-2.28.01-PMHow/when did your career begin?  

I have ridden since I was eight years old, and attended my first recognized event when I was 13 years old.  I spend many years on at the lower levels and competed in my first international competition at the age of 21.

What is “eventing”?  

Three-day eventing is the triathlon of equestrian.  It is comprised of three disciplines of riding which stems from the test that the calvary would take to prepare for battle.  The first is dressage where we memorize a test, wear a top hat and tails, and are judged on our the quality of our riding, the horse’s movement, and the ability to complete the test.  The second day is cross country, the heart of the sport.  This day we gallop long distances at 25 miles per hour jumping over solid, natural obstacles over terrain, through water, over ditches for up to 12 minutes.  The last day our horses jump the typical jumping with poles that fall down after a grueling day of cross country where we are tested on team work, instinct and bravery, the horses must again show attention to detail and be careful enough to not even knock a rail.

Who has been your hero of your sport?  

My coaches, Bea and Derek Di Grazia.  I have worked to emulate their attitudes, horsemanship, feel and understanding of our sport.  

What do most people not realize about training with horses?  

Horses have a personality.  Each one we ride is different and within that a rider is responsible to read their horse and help them better understand each task and exercise to be best prepared for competition.  Our horses love to compete. 

What are your greatest achievements as an equestrian?  

Definitely winning a spot to compete in the 2016 Olympic games.  I planned on qualifying for this event over the past 5 years and have sacrificed in every facet of my life just to try and win a spot.  In March of 2016, I achieved a seat at the games after being named one of the top three individual riders in the western hemisphere.  It was a life changing moment.  

What are you most proud of?  

I feel so thankful for the person I have become through this process thanks to the many people who have supported me and helped me grow through this time.

What do you do when you have free time?  

I love to go hiking and being outdoors.  I love seeing new places and struggling to see an amazing view.

What are your hobbies?

Hiking, cooking, eating, making wine, boardgames, traveling

If you could only eat one thing for a month, what would it be?

SUSHI!  I have been trying to do this for years!

Do you have any recovery routines? What products do you use?  

During and after each exercise, I definitely use RockTape.  I have had four knee surgeries and commonly have my knee taped weekly.  I also use APF made by Auburn Laboratories.  I take it orally for muscle recovery.  

How did you find out about RockTape?  

I first saw RockTape when I competed at the Pan American Games in 2011 and began using it shortly after with the help of a trainer.  I became more familiar with the line of products when I met my boyfriend, a physical therapist, who actively uses RockTape on his clients and within his daily training and competitions.

How do you use tape? How do most equestrians use tape?  

I use RockTape on myself for posture correction, teaching my body to change its compensation patterns to facilitate more a balanced use of my body.  I also use it for the support of my knee.  Most uniquely I use it on my horses.  I apply it weekly on the horses.  There are so many applications that I can change it depending on my horses needs.  Most commonly I use it for lumbar and deltoid support to help facilitate these muscle groups during riding.  I also use tape before long travel to help keep my horse loose.  

How has your daily life changed since you found out you were going to be competing in the Games?  

I have changed my focus in my life to the goal ahead.  I make sure that each day I ride better and prepare myself even better than I did the day before.  I told myself if I can better myself each day that by the time I get to Rio, I will be the best I have ever been.  So far, so good!

What is your training like?  

It’s not just a checklist, it’s a lifestyle.  I wake up to feed and care for my horses, ride throughout the day, find time to hit the gym, and go to sleep after feeding a late night snack.  This is a daily routine and a 24/7 commitment.

What do most people not know about you?  

I was a shot put champion of my county in the sixth grade throwing a whole 10 feet!  That definitely was not my Olympic calling.

Read more about Lauren Billys here or here.

Follow the most prestigious worldwide Equestrian Games commencing in Rio here.