The accomplished Brooklynite, interior designer, mother of two and equestrian, Olivia Song is a busy woman to say the least. We discussed learning to ride as an amateur, turning the sport into an activity for the whole family, getting back into the saddle after sustaining an injury and of course the clothes.
How did you get back into riding as an adult?
I have two boys, and my eldest son is obsessed with riding, ponies, and all animals in general. I found my current barn by trying to sign him up for pony camp when he was three. However, he was too young at the time but they said to bring him in for lessons. After starting riding, my son talked about it all winter to the point that even my husband really wanted me to sign him up for more lessons. As a younger mother at the time with a newborn I thought, ‘great more things I have to drive to’ but I signed him up for the lessons and took him to the barn on a regular basis. What I came to realize was how extraordinarily bored I was standing ringside with nothing to do, I became more antsy and interested in riding. After a while I thought, ‘okay. If we're going to do this, I'm going to take some lessons too since we're here.’ And so it began for me.
I had ridden before as a kid, and it was much harder to stick with it: I didn’t have the time, my parents weren’t able to devote their time either and for various other reasons. I have found there really isn't a point to all the hassle of it unless you really love riding and just love being on a horse. Now, many years later, for myself and my family riding and the horses are totally worth it! Every weekend is now spent riding or planning around riding; it’s something we do together and I really love it.
How do you feel about the clothes, now getting back into riding as an amateur?
So, I mean, I have to tell you. I was a total skeptic [laughter]. I am a child of the, I don't know, 90s, and I don't know if you remember when bodysuits first became popular. I have a long torso. The last thing I want to experience is a wedgie.
I think that some most important things about riding clothes, obviously, for me, it's all about form and function over looks first. But obviously, looks are important. I don't know anybody who doesn't look amazing dressed in their riding uniform, whether or not they're in really expensive brands or inexpensive brands. Something about having the suit up, tucking your shirt, present neatly. Everyone looks amazing. I like things to cling, but also not give me lumps and bumps anywhere, which is why I admittedly was a total skeptic of the Free x Rein bodysuit. Being a child of the 90’s bodysuits were not great for women with long torsos, but the bodysuit has been a wonderful addition to my riding wardrobe. I like breeches that are higher-waisted, to hold everything together so the combination is great. I don't like my shirt to come untucked, so one of the things about the bodysuit combined with higher-waisted breeches, is that I never have to worry about a wardrobe malfunction and I feel my best. There's a lot of things about clothing that can be a distraction and once that isn’t an issue it’s much easier to focus on your riding.
The bodysuit hasn’t just led her to focus more on riding but Olivia says it has been instrumental to her since coming back from a riding related injury.
I had a really bad accident a little over a year ago and developed some scar tissue on my lower back post surgery, fortunately I am not in major pain but it is very sensitive, so I have to be careful about what I wear and the amount of pressure I put on my back. The great thing about the bodysuit is I don’t have to fidget with my undergarments or constantly tuck my shirt into my waistband which would normally create problems with my back, and everything is sucked onto my body it’s been a game changer.
What was it like to have your sons still riding while you were in recovery?
After my fall at the farm one day, I ended up having surgery, but still spent a lot of time at the barn because, number one, I wasn't dead and my son was still riding, I could move around, albeit slowly and with a cane. I learned so much during my fourth-month time off, standing at the ingate watching him and listening to his trainer during lessons. It was educational but also gave me a lot of confidence to get ready to ride again.
I get teary-eyed thinking about how supportive everyone was which is one of the reasons I think it was easy for me to find my way back to the barn. So soon after we had a family lesson with my sons and made it into a fun competition jumping over cross rails and it really brought back the joy of riding and just being with my family, it was wonderful. I’ve met a lot of my riding goals, now I want to try fox hunting!