Light Up the Day | A Bright Future for a New Partnership

Light Up the Day commenced her racing career in Perth with trainer Colin Webster before heading to the country to race. In late 2017, the Scandal Keeper (USA) progeny travelled to Esperance to race under trainer Helen Harding. The striking chestnut mare later retired in 2018 having earned her connections $6,655 from 20 starts, including two seconds and one third.

Light Up the Day, affectionately known as Chilli at the stables, was purchased by Sophie Graco in July 2019. Having commenced her retraining with Sophie, young rider Olivia Smith was given the opportunity to ride and continue Chilli’s training in late 2021.

“I fell in love with Chilli quickly, our personalities and the way we both work matched.” says Olivia.

“[I] enjoyed her so much I began riding her full time as my main horse.” Olivia continued.

When asked what made Chilli stand out, Olivia says she is an easy, safe and sensible horse with a beautiful temperament. Nothing really fazes Chilli – she is one cool, calm chestnut mare!

The newly formed partnership began to blossom with consistent work and training.

The pair’s hard work paid off as they commenced the 2022 competition season with a win in the 60cm class at the Bunbury Horse and Pony Club Showjumping Day.

“She is sensible when on outings and always feels happy and willing to work.” says Olivia.

Filled with confidence, Chilli and Olivia set their sights on their first eventing competition together; Capel CCN-S. In their maiden eventing start the duo scored a respectable 33.4 penalties in their dressage, followed by another great showjumping round. After shaking off some nerves at the start of cross country, Olivia piloted her new mount confidently around the stunning course and through the finish flags.

“We are constantly learning and striving for stronger, confident and more correct rides.” says Olivia.

Held on 16 and 17 April 2022, Murray CCN saw the introduction of the first EvA65 Off the Track WA sponsored class exclusive for off the track horses. The class proved incredibly popular amongst competitors with 30 horse and rider combinations entered, including Chilli and Olivia.

Leading from start to finish with a dressage score of 26.6 penalties and two clear jumping phases, Chilli and Olivia won their first eventing competition together and the first ever EvA65 OTT class!

“It was a moment where I felt Chilli click and begin to have a whole new understanding of this competition life and it makes me so excited for the year ahead.” says Olivia.

“The EvA65 OTT class was great; it was such a confidence building class for riders to get their off the track horses out and about without the pressure.” Olivia continued.

According to Olivia, there was a great sense of understanding between the riders – a fantastic way to introduce an off the track horse to eventing.

Reflecting on what they have achieved together so far, Olivia states “Chilli and I have really formed a positive relationship and she has really learnt to understand her job”.

Looking to the future, the thriving pair aim to move up the grades in eventing, showjumping and dressage. Appreciating the little things, Olivia remains focused on developing her bond with Chilli and simply enjoying their riding together.

What an incredible start to Chilli and Olivia’s journey! We look forward to following them closely throughout 2022.



  • Photo credit Chrissy May

  • Photo Credit Vicki Photos