31-year-old Athina Onassis has been riding since she was a young girl, and it shows. The daughter of French-Greek magnates, horses were an escape from a complicated and tragic childhood. While still a teenager, Athina went to court for financial and personal independence, and at 17 left home to enroll in a riding academy in Brussels Belgium run by Nelson Pessoa. Here her professional career started to blossom.
According to a Vanity Fair article, Athina was not like other heiresses, in that she wanted no part in the parties, the clothes, or the public life beyond equestrian success. Her finances and time were fully devoted to building a champion string of horses.
She married fellow equestrian and Olympic medalist Doda Miranda in 2006, and the two have since established farms in Wellington Florida and Rio de Janero, Brazil. Athina changed her nationality from French to Greek, and hopes to represent Greece in the Olympics at some point in her career.
She’s an instrumental part of the Global Champions League not only as a team member for Madrid in Motion, but also as a generous sponsor. She also organizes the Athina Onassis Horse Show the first weekend in June on the famous beach of Pampelonne in Ramatuelle, France, which includes an amateur CSI2* and a CSI5* for professionals, among other classes.
But most of all, we’re just really crazy about her equitation. Athina has some of the best form on the Global Champions Tour, repeatedly impressing me with how she NEVER drops her form. Tall verticals, giant oxers, overwhelming liverpools; whatever it is, her lower leg is LOCKED IN and her balance is always centered. If you need an eq idol, Athina is your girl. And you can play back all her rounds on the Tour at their website.
Go Athina, and go Jumping!