Pretty (Tough) in Pink

Eugene equestrian goes big

Karianne Boyce-Llockhart
Karianne Boyce-Llockhart rides hopscotch in grand prix competition

Equestrian competitions are one of the few sports in which men and women compete on equal ground. Rider Karianne Boyce-Lockhart has been beating men and women alike, jumping her horses Hopscotch and Ferro DC over huge grand prix fences around the Northwest, California and Canada. A Eugene native, she won two grand prix competitions in a row in July and she came in sixth at a World Cup qualifier in June, jumping some fences over 5 feet tall. At a little more than 5 feet herself, she says when she’s on foot her eyes are level with some of the fences she rides her horses over.

Boyce-Lockhart’s success in the show ring is the stuff of many little kids’ dreams, but what really puts her over the edge for those with pony-envy is that she always rides wearing hot-pink trim on her and her horses’ outfits. The colors for Poseidon Stables, just south of Eugene, are hot pink and black, and Boyce-Lockhart’s husband Daran Lockhart is also known to show up to her competitions sporting hot pink himself.

She’s been riding horses since she was 2 years old, Boyce-Lockhart says, when “My mother would turn my sister and I loose with a couple of Shetland ponies in the backyard and watch us through the window.” From those ponies, Prince and Rebel, to Stormy the pony, who used to run away with her on trail rides, to Sunday Socks, her first real show pony, Boyce-Lockhart grew up on horseback.

In addition to riding her show jumpers Hopscotch (aka Hoppy), a Selle Français, and Ferro DC (known as Ouzo around the barn), a Belgian warmblood, Boyce-Lockhart also rides her clients’ horses and teaches riders from small children just starting out to high-level amateurs. She herself trains with two-time U.S. Olympian McLain Ward and Mexican Olympian Enrique Gonzalez when on the road competing.

Hoppy, Ouzo and longtime mount Careful might be high-level athletes, but the horses are characters around the barn as well. On a recent hot Saturday afternoon Hoppy stands in his stall cocking his head and making faces until Daran Lockhart fishes a gummy frog out of his pocket for the bay gelding, who is known not only for his huge jumps but also his playful bucks during competition.

Although her penchant for pink has earned her the nicknames “Pink Princess” and “Pink Lady,” Boyce-Lockhart is no princess — she spends long days at her barn, often arriving before 8 am and going full speed until long after dark. She doesn’t just ride, she does everything from managing what each horse eats to often grabbing a pitchfork and cleaning stalls.

Her recent top-level wins and high placings have earned Boyce-Lockhart an invitation to compete in Los Angeles this September at the prestigious Masters Grand Slam indoor show jumping competition. Inspired by Grand Slam tennis, the event has counterparts in Paris and Hong Kong and will have up to 50,000 spectators.

Until then, Boyce-Lockhart will keep up her summer competition schedule: top-level events with thousands of dollars in prize money and trips with her clients to local shows, like a recent one in Pleasant Hill where she led a young competitor with pink ribbons in her hair around a course of poles on her pony, Preshrunk, to help earn the little girl’s first blue ribbon.