Theodore O'Connor Named 2007 USEF Horse of the Year
Amid the grandeur of the United States Equestrian Federation’s (USEF) annual meeting and black tie gala, Eventing Champion Theodore O’Connor was named the 2007 Farnam/Platform USEF Horse of the Year, selected from among all USEF breeds and disciplines as the nation’s most exceptional horse (ahem, pony) for 2007.
Owned by The Theodore O'Connor Syndicate, LLC, Theodore O'Connor ('Teddy') is one of the most successful horses in the history of US Eventing.
"If size truly does matter, Teddy has proven he is a giant and a huge champion in the hearts of all his fans," said Karen O'Connor, Teddy's rider. “It is truly a privilege to be a part of his life.” On her website, Karen relates that when Mark Phillips first saw Teddy jump, she said: "He has rocket fuel in him, doesn't he?" Mark's response was, "No, I think he has a rocket in each leg."
At 12 years of age, Theodore O’Connor was the first pony in history to compete at the Pan American games. This 14.1-hand Thoroughbred / Arabian / Shetland cross led the U.S. Eventing team to a Gold medal and brought home an Individual Gold as well.
With veteran rider Karen O’Connor, the chestnut gelding captured the heart of the eventing world at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, where he placed third in this four-star eventing competition. Teddy and Karen sailed around the cross-country course and amazed crowds, completing the show jumping portion of the competition without a single rail down.
The pair went on to the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he dispelled any ideas that a pony didn’t belong. After finishing the dressage phase in third place, Teddy completed the cross-country phase at the top of the ranks. With his stellar jumping ability, he navigated the show jumping course with only a single rail down, assuring him and O’Connor the Gold. When the awards were presented, Teddy certainly wowed the crowd as he galloped around the arena, inches shorter than his Gold-medal teammates.
The 2007 accomplishments for Theodore O’Connor include: Individual Gold-medal winner and Team Gold-medal winner at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, the first pony ever to compete at the Pan American Games in eventing, Reserve Champion of the USEF National CCI**** Championship (Third place for the Rolex CCI**** in Lexington KY), the first pony ever to compete at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day-Event, Winner of The Fork CIC*** and United States Eventing Association Horse of the Year.
USEF Members, media and the USEF Board of Directors voted to select Theodore O’Connor for the prestigious honor‚ presented at the Horse of the Year gala in Louisville KY, on Jan. 12, 2008. The trophy‚ a 39-inch bronze sculpture on permanent display at the USEF headquarters in Kentucky‚ was commissioned by well-known equine artist Alexa King. Bronze replicas of the trophy were presented to the owners of the winning horse and crystal trophies were presented to the finalists.
Other finalists for the award were: Aequus+//, an Arabian owned by Hazelbank Investments; Esteban, a Friesian owned by Deb Goldmann; Free Willy, a Hackney owned by Blevins Farms; and Sapphire, a jumper owned by McLain Ward and Blue Chip Bloodstock.
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