‘Pony-loving little girl’ grows up to be supermodel

Kate Upton, featured on the cover of this month’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, was a successful young rider. Then, she hit puberty.

In an interview published today in NY Daily News, the 19-year-old busty blonde bombshell reflects fondly on her horsey childhood. Her first pony, “Coolio,” arrived when she was 6, and she eventually began competing in a variety of disciplines ranging from jumping to reining.

As an APHA youth exhibitor, Upton and Too Shiny Forya, aka “Roanie,” achieved three Reserve World Championships; in 13 and under Western Riding, 13 and Under Horsemanship and 14-18 Western Riding. In 2006, she was also named the 13 and Under Reserve All-Around Champion at the APHA World Show. In 2009, Upton and “Zipped From the Heart” won the 14-18 Western Riding.

“She had a huge personality,” Shannon Gillespie, who with her husband coached Upton for competitions and trained her horses, told the Daily News. “She was very outgoing, and always was beautiful.

“Everybody just loved her because she was really friendly and had a lot of friends around all the shows,” Gillespie said. “And she was really dedicated and hard working with the horses.”

She got scouted by a modeling agency at age 12 while leaving a horse show. Her modeling career took off in 2008, leading her jobs for Victoria’s Secret and Guess Lingerie. She also had a bit part in the film, “Tower Heist.” She officially hit the A-list last week she she appeared on the cover of this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, wearing a very, very small bikini.

Upton still has two horses and two ponies stabled at her parents’ farm in Michigan, but these days she’s enjoying the city life in Manhattan. She enjoys attending sporting events, especially football and basketball, and has been linked to Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, though they haven’t confirmed they’re dating.

Get it, girl.

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