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Theodore O’Connor Named Farnam/Platform USEF Horse of the Year



By Brian Sosby


Louisville
, KYAmong the regalia of the United States Equestrian Federation’s (USEF) historic Horse of the Year Awards program and black tie gala, eventing champion and newly-crowned star Theodore O’Connor was named the 2007 Farnam/Platform USEF Horse of the Year at the Downtown Marriott in Louisville, KY.

 

Bred by P. Wynn Norman and owned by Theodore O’Connor Syndicate, “Teddy” as he is known, burst onto the international stage in a big way in 2007.  First, he caught the eventing world’s attention at the 2007 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event by take a third-place finish.  However, it was his incredible performance at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that turned him into the breakout star of the 2007 competition year.

 

With 2007 Equestrian of the Year Karen O’Connor as his guide, the Arabian/Thoroughbred/Shetland pony, standing a mere 14.1 hands against his much more statuesque competition, rallied across three days of challenging competition to carry his rider to a duo of Gold medals—Individual and Team.

 

The pony-and-riders equestrian discipline—eventing—is a three-phase competition when dressage, cross-country and show jumping are combined to test the pairing in a variety of skills.

 

“How about that pony!” said O’Connor. “This has been an incredible year. He has displayed such confidence and belief in himself…he’s an amazing athlete with an incredible heart, work ethic and intelligence.”

 

The venerable eventer had just taken one of the Federation’s top honors a night before in winning the 2007 Equestrian of the Year Award.  This truly made for a fitting end to an amazing year for the pair.

 

“There are so many people to thank, including Wynn Norman. She has been breeding this line for 25 years,” continued O’Connor. “I have to also thank the first person who bought a share of the syndicate, Susan Miles.” The rider shared a long list of others to thank, including the groom for all of her international mounts Max Corcoran, her farm manager Sue Clark, the blacksmiths, vets and Federation staff that had worked to get them to the Pan American Games.

 

USEF members, media and the USEF Board of Directors voted to select Theodore O’Connor for the prestigious honor presented at the 2007 Farnam/Platform USEF Horse of the Year gala. 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.  In addition, Theodore O’Connor’s image will be portrayed on the Platform Treat packaging for a year and receive a years worth of Platform feed. 

 

Replicas of the trophy were presented to the owners of the winning horse and finalists. Other finalists for the award were Aequus+//, a 19-year-old Arabian park horse owned by Hazelbank Investments; Esteban, a six-year-old Friesian owned by Deb Goldmann; Free Willy, a 14-year-old Hackney owned by Blevins Farms; and Sapphire, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood jumper owned by McLain Ward and Blue Chip Bloodstock.

 

Equestrians from every Federation breed and discipline were on-hand to accept their honors.


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