2024 paris olympics

Rancho Santa Fe's Anna Buffini blazing trail toward 2024 Paris Olympics

Buffini, 29, hopes to become Team USA's first-ever black equestrian rider at the Summer Olympics

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Anna Buffini and her horse, Fiontini, may have names that rhyme, but it's their chemistry in the dressage arena that makes them a dynamic duo capable of breaking Olympic boundaries.

Buffini, the daughter of a white Irish father and a black mother who once competed for the U.S. National Volleyball Team, is on the doorstep of history having already qualified for the Paris Olympics.

If selected to represent Team USA in dressage, she would become the first black equestrian rider to ever represent the United States at the Olympics.

"I hope to inspire all other kinds of riders to get into horse riding because they see someone who looks like them or they're just inspired because maybe they thought it's not for them, but it is for them if they want to do it," said Buffini.

Dressage, often described as "horse dancing", involves riders competing in a series of specific movements across a 60x20 meter arena.

Much like Gymnastics, judges determine the ultimate winners based on their scoring of the routines.

Buffini started riding horses 20 years ago, but based on the skill required to break into dressage, it is still one of the younger riders hoping to represent Team USA.

Buffini, a former church worship leader, who even competed to the soundtrack of her own voice singing a song, prides herself on captivating audiences with her music choices.

"Because you can add music that everybody knows. Even if you don't know what I'm doing, if I'm putting Billie Eilish on something, some 20-year-old is going to come watch it. If I'm putting Bruce Springsteen, which is in my free style, everyone my dad's age is going to come and watch it and be entertained" said Buffini.

"I think pushing the envelope on music while being respectful to the sport is very important."

Pushing the envelope is exactly what she has already done with Fiontini, who she calls a, "Once in a lifetime kind of horse" purchased 2 years ago with the goal of getting to the Olympics.

"She is just bred to be a freak. You don't always get a freak athlete. She just happens to be, she's like a Lebron James kind of athlete" said Buffini.

Prior to Fiontini's arrival at her parent's Rancho Santa Fe home from Denmark, the horse with champion bloodlines had only been ridden by men.

It didn't take long for Buffini to break the barrier with the horse and now they're hoping to break some more barriers together.

5 Things To Know About Anna Buffini:

  1. She calls horse life "24/7" saying it is all-encompassing to the point where she has never had time for a boyfriend.
  2. Her father, Brian Buffini, a real estate investor, author, and coach, has helped fund his daughter's Olympic dream since she was 16 when he made a pact with her: "As much effort as you put in, is as much effort as I'll put in."
  3. She is 1 of 6 kids in an athletic family where all her siblings played college sports.
  4. She dreams of having her own academy to bring in riders who might not otherwise have the opportunity to ride horses.
  5. Credits HITS Del Mar Horse Park, which was renovated and reopened last year, with helping her secure her Olympic qualification because it meant she had a cost-effective local option for competitions and didn't have to travel to Florida to qualify.
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