O'Connor Is Named Equestrian Of The Year
Olympic eventer is the first in the sport to take the title twice
a remarkable year, David O'Connor, 41, of The Plains, VA, has
been named as USA Equestrian's 2002 Equestrian of the Year. O'Connor
is the first two-time winner of this award in the history of the
sport. A stellar horseman, O'Connor was chosen from a group of
eight of the country's most outstanding athletes that were already
bestowed the title of Equestrians of Honor.
eventer first won the award in 2000 largely for his individual
gold medal winning performance at the Sydney Olympics, where he
rode Custom Made, an Irish Thoroughbred gelding owned by Joe Zada.
While at the games, O'Connor turned in the best eventing dressage
score in Olympic history when he opened the individual competition
with a score of 29.00 penalties. He was the first U.S. athlete
to take the gold medal in the sport since 1984.
past year has also brought significant achievements. His Olympic
gold medal horse, Custom Made, carried him to victory once again
at Fair Hill International. Before the competition, O'Connor announced
the event would be the last for the 17 year-old prize-winning
gelding. At Radnor Hunt International, he also won the USA National
Two-Star Eventing Championship.
addition, O'Connor distinguished himself in a team capacity. Riding
Giltedge, an Irish Thoroughbred gelding owned by Jacqueline Mars,
he led the team to gold at the World Equestrian Games in Spain.
Equestrian of the Year award is presented to the individual who
has "excelled above all others in equestrian competition
for the current year, while demonstrating superior sportsmanship
and dedication to the principles, vision, and mission of USA Equestrian."
The winner is determined by vote of the general membership, USA
Equestrian Board of Directors and equestrian media.
was presented with the Robert P. Strub Trophy at the Pegasus Awards
Dinner, January 17, 2003 during the USA Equestrian Annual Meeting
at the Marriott Griffin Gate in Lexington, KY.
Equestrian Inc., as the National Equestrian Federation of the
U.S., is the regulatory body for the Olympic and World Championship
sports of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, reining, show
jumping, and vaulting, as well as 19 other breeds and disciplines
of equestrian competition. As
the country's largest multi-breed organization, the Federation
has over 80,000 members and recognizes more than 2,800 competitions
nationwide each year. It governs all aspects of competition, including
educating and licensing all judges, stewards, and technical delegates
who officiate at these shows.
The vision of USA Equestrian is to provide leadership for equestrian
sport in the United States of America, promoting the pursuit of
excellence from the grass roots to the Olympic Games, based on
a foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare of its
horses, and embracing this vision, to be the best national equestrian
federation in the world.