OKATIE, S.C. (WSAV) – Lourdes Low grew up around the barns and the horses, climbing atop them for a ride at Oldfield Equestrian Center when she was barely five years old.

“We moved here from Florida to this neighborhood. I saw the horses and I loved them,” Lourdes said.

Not that all of them were necessarily cooperative, of course.

“Our first pony, his name was Teddy,” Shelley Low said. “He would throw her off any time a dump truck would go by, anytime an airplane would go by, it was terrible. She had a vest that would protect her back. I just knew that I couldn’t stop her from doing what she wanted to do.”

Those bumps and bruises were the start of a journey to the top of the national show jumping rankings, where the all-star equestrian and John Paul II senior sits today.

“It’s a ton of travel,” Lourdes said. “I’m gone almost every weekend either competing or in Camden, South Carolina practicing.”

Lourdes had quite a bit of help along the way from a few special four-legged friends, none more so than her favorite horse Sienna, which she rode to a spot in the National Horse Show.

She also got an assist from her parents, especially her mom Shelley.

“I have two other children that also we have to balance,” Shelley said. “We have to make sure everyone feels like their time is fair. So we have to split up a lot as a family so we can travel with Lourdes to her shows.”

Those sacrifices culminated in Lourdes’ decision to sign with the Oklahoma State Cowgirls, who won the National Collegiate Equestrian Association title in 2022.

“I loved the campus and the coaches are so nice,” Lourdes said. “All the girls are just like a big family. I loved it.”

It’s a new home for the country’s best jumper after launching her career in the South Carolina Lowcountry.