Lauren Shady (née Billys; born May 14, 1988) is a Puerto Rican eventer despite having been born in the United States.
At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, she was a competitor. She placed 44th overall. After a long absence, Billys qualified to compete in the Olympics as a Puerto Rican eventer.
Since her grandmother is from Puerto Rico, she was able to compete in the event as a representative of the island.
In 2021, Billys tried again to qualify for the Olympics on Castle Larchfield Purdy, but this time she was disqualified.
Two Pan American Games featured Billys as well (in 2011 and 2015). In 2015, she finished in 18th position, which was her best performance to date.
Lauren Billys is the Sole Representative of Puerto Rico
Lauren Billys and her 19-year-old horse, Castle Larchfield Purdy, are Puerto Rico’s sole Olympic equestrian competitors, and they’ve had quite the adventure getting to Tokyo.
Lauren, who was born in northern California but now lives in Puerto Rico, originally rode for the United States until late 2010.
Although Lauren and her bay gelding Purdy had a respectable showing at the 2016 Rio Olympics (they placed 44th), the intervening years were fraught with drama.
In 2018, Purdy required emergency life-saving colic surgery, and in 2019, he was diagnosed with equine asthma.
Then, in 2020, Lauren and her family had to deal with horrific California wildfires, evacuating their home and their horses twice in late August while also dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Support Puerto Rico’s Lauren Billys in ‘Take Me to Tokyo’ Olympic Fundraiser
Finally, at the end of July, the Tokyo Olympics will begin, and Purdy and I will be there to watch them.
In 2019, I laid out a year packed with tournaments in the hopes of qualifying and winning a spot for Puerto Rico at the 2020 Olympic Games.
This year’s competition results and training have solidified my status as one of the top two individual riders in the Western Hemisphere and earned us a return trip to the Olympic Games.
We both had our worlds turned upside down in March of last year, so Purdy and I decided to spend the next 12 months practising patience.
The Olympics are finally happening this year, and our departure on our adventure across the world is only a few weeks away.
My team is holding a fundraiser at the Folktale Rose Garden and Barrel Room in Carmel, California, on Saturday, June 12 from 5-8 pm to help pay for our forthcoming trips.
Because of her ancestry, Billys is rooting for Puerto Rico in the competition. She plans to ride her Irish sport horse, which she regards as the pinnacle of athletic ability and competitive spirit.
Purdy, at the ripe old age of 19, is one of the oldest horses in the Olympic field this year, and it’s likely his last.
Given his advanced age and the fact that he was so close to death less than a year before the preliminary qualifying events.
The fact that he is even able to compete at all is nothing short of a miracle.