It’s not easy launching your own professional career in show jumping, but the USA’s Carly Anthony has plenty on her side to recommend her. Growing up with her professional riding mother, Cara Anthony, Carly finished fourth in the 2007 ASPCA Maclay Finals, won the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Classic in 2008, and was the co-winner of the 2010 Emerging Athletes Program alongside Richard Neal. She went on to ride for the University of Georgia, where just a few of her career highlights included a 14-2 record over fences and being named MVP four times.

After striking out on her own, Carly posted solid results in Europe this season, including clear rounds in Madrid this May with the seven-year-old Belgian mare, Elisa Van de Helle; and a 3rd-place finish on the Sunshine Tour medium tour grand prix with King Edward, an 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood stallion. With plenty more to see from this talented up-and-comer, we caught up with Carly to give her our Twenty Questions quiz.

1. NF Style: At what exact moment did you fall in love with horses?

Carly Anthony: There was no exact moment that I can remember falling in love with horses. I’ve loved them ever since I can remember. Growing up on the farm with my mom as a professional rider, it was always in my blood!

2. For riding, do you prefer black boots or brown boots?

Black.

3. If you could do any other equestrian discipline what would it be and why?

Reining! Bring out my tiny inner cowgirl.

4. What is the most embarrassing thing to have ever happened to you while riding?

My first five-star debut in WEF, I was showing in the Thursday grand prix qualifier…I was so nervous coming to the first fence, I missed so badly to number one I didn’t leave a single pole up. I was so embarrassed to leave the ring and I kept jumping—Eric [Lamaze] had to yell across the ring for me to retire!

5. What is the most inspiring thing to have ever happened to you while riding?

The most inspiring thing to happen to me while riding is the moment when all of your hard work and time finally pays off and you accomplish a goal that you have always dreamed of accomplishing. For me so far it was placing 3rd in my first four-star grand prix with a horse I brought along since it was six years old.

6. What is your favorite #TwoHearts Moment of your season?

Watching Nick Skelton and Big Star win the Olympic gold medal.

7. What was the hardest lesson you have had to learn in your riding?

Learning to be patient and truly confident in yourself as a person and rider.

8. Who is your mentor and why?

I have a few incredible mentors in my life. The two most prominent mentors are Eric Lamaze and my NCEA coach from the University of Georgia. Eric has given me so many incredible tools over the years as well as confidence in myself as a professional in this sport. I owe so much of my success as a professional thus far to him. Coach Meghan Boenig has also been an inspiration to me and a tremendous supporter throughout my college career and now through my professional career giving me advice on business, life, horses, and so much more.

9. If you could ride a horse from the past, who would it be?

Shutterfly.

10. If you could ride a horse right now, that is not your own, who would it be?

Fit for Fun.

11. How do horses keep you grounded in the industry?

The minute you start to think you’re the best rider and you know everything, horses like to remind you in funny ways that you’re not and you can always learn something new every day.

12. What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Favorites: red wine, chocolate, and the Seahawks every Sunday!!

13. When were you most happy on a horse?

I’m most happy after a great work session where the horse and I are both tired, relaxed, and feeling like we made progress. Then I love going on a long trail ride!

14. If your top horse were a famous person, who would it be?

I’d like to think my horse could be Frank Sinatra: classic style, smooth, great rhythm, and a legend remembered forever!

15. What is one piece of riding clothing or equipment you could never do without?

A great belt.

16. What is your helmet of choice and why?

Samshield all day, every day. They fit so comfortably and I love the way they keep the classic style mixed with a bit of flare. Mine is matte black with diamonds in the front!

17. Which famous clothing brand do you wish would come out with an equestrian line? 

Lululemon—I’d spend all of my money there in a heart beat.

18. What is your biggest splurge to date when it comes to your riding and/or horses? 

Bits and spurs….I have an obsession.

19. What is the best piece of riding advice you have ever received and from whom? 

“You cannot be a great rider if you are not a great horseman first.” -my Mom.

20. What is your life motto? 

Hold the vision, trust the process.

-Photography by Erin Gilmore and Yasmina Bello.