It might not come as a surprise that we (along with a horde of other equestrians) have developed an unexpected girl crush on Adrienne Sternlicht.

The 25-year-old show jumper, who helped Team USA earn gold at this year’s World Equestrian Games, possesses a magnetic charm and sanguine style when serving up details about her life. She is remarkably modest and down-to-earth in her riposte, expressing a constant state of self-improvement. She did not abide by conventional starts to an equestrian career, with a horse-loving childhood that emphasized other sports and activities as well as a focus on academics—her parents’ effort to keep her balanced—rather than a constant presence on the show circuit. By the time she was an adult, she had experienced diverse exposure, opportunities, and achievements, but remained convinced that riding was the passion she wanted to seriously pursue.

We are struck by Adrienne’s gutsy choices on course, her sabbaticals from social media, and her devotion to wellness and mental preparedness. She not only excels at her sport, but continues to enjoy it as well. We find her to be considerably wise for her age, and as the spokesperson for a new generation of rising talent, she gives us all the feels.

If you could travel somewhere that did not involve a horse show, where would it be?
I’m dying to go to Japan!! I’m completely fascinated by the culture, the architecture, and what I perceive to be a minimalist approach to just about everything.

You drop a quarter in the jukebox to listen to ….
As lame as it is, I don’t listen to much music. I’m a complete podcast and audiobook junkie. Right now I’m listening to Michelle Obama’s Becoming, and On the Other Side of Freedom by DeRay McKesson.

Your greatest fear is … 
Regret, but only in terms of not taking advantage of the incredible opportunities I have.

The first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning is … 

The best gift you ever received was …
My first horse, Shannon. I’ve owned her for 13 years now. She is unbelievable.

The best gift you ever gave was …
A ring I made for my mom in a jewelry class in high school. It took me nearly four months to make.

Your #1 pet peeve is …
I’d say at the moment it’s spending too much time on Instagram/social media, which is so easy to do. It’s a black hole so I delete the app very often when I find myself wasting too much time.

If you were not a professional rider you would be a …
Public defender. Criminal justice reform is my passion.

What is your greatest indulgence?
My Smythson Agenda. I get a new one every year. It’s definitely not necessary but makes me really happy! Also, I absolutely love trying new skincare products.  My latest purchase was Dr. Barbara Sturm Glow Drops and I love them.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d love to be a great chef. I’ve gotten into cooking in the past few years, but still have a ways to go.

What is your most treasured (not living) possession?
I don’t have a single most treasured possession, but I love my class rings from my high school, Choate Rosemary Hall, and my college, Brown University.

What is your life’s mantra, or just a phrase you like to use often?
Perseverance is genius in disguise, which was passed on to me by my dad. A professor at business school once said it to him and it’s really stuck.

Any advice for your younger self?
Patience and compassion are the greatest virtues of all.

You have to quickly teach us something we don’t know.  What is it?
To sew! I had a sewing business when I was younger and would take orders at recess. 🙂

What’s your choice breakfast to fuel up for the day?
My favorite breakfast is an egg and veggie scramble, with a tea or an oat milk cappuccino.

Do you have any routine(s) the night before a competition? 
Not the night before, but before a big class I always try to go for a run and meditate, even if it’s only a few minutes. I also have this funny mushroom drink, the chaga and lion’s mane powders from Four Sigmatic, that I almost always drink. McLain (Ward) makes fun of me but they are part of my routine!

You have recently focused on yoga and meditation for mental preparedness. Any other techniques for combating nerves?
Breathe!!! I forget to breathe all the time, and have to remind myself. Learning to take conscious breathes was a game-changer for me.

A fox hunter, an eventer, and a show jumper walk into a bar.  What happens next?
They most likely don’t know each other so … go to their respective tables at the bar?

“Very serious with my first small pony, ‘Hit the Spot.'”
“Reed (Kessler), who is still one of my closest friends, kicking my butt in the small ponies at the Hampton Classic 2004!”
Shannon (Catalyst) and Stella (Cristalline) – my two favorites!!”

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