Kristy Oatley grew up on a farm and set her sights on competing at the Olympics at an early age. Oatley moved to Germany to pursue her career in equestrian and she made her Olympic debut at the Sydney 2000 Games. She placed 9th in the individual dressage and 6th in the team event. Oatley competed at the Beijing 2008 Games where she placed 20th in the individual dressage and 8th in the team event.
After taking time out from the international competition circuit, Oatley made the surprising move early in the year to aim for her third Olympic Games berth. Her strong performances in her short run to the Games, including finishing as the second highest placed Australian rider at the second Olympic nomination event in Compiegne, France, with a score of 68. 234 per cent on her horse Clive, was enough to see her nominated for the London Games. In London, at her third Games, she was 42nd in the individual and equal 10th in the team event.