May 28, 2008 -- Theodore O'Connor, a 14.1-hand pony who bested numerous horses in international eventing competition, was euthanized today, May 28 following an accident at Karen and David O'Connor's farm in The Plains, Va. While away from the barn, the 13-year-old gelding broke free from his handlers and was found with a severed hind tendon and other injuries. According to a statement released from Karen O'Connor, "Teddy got frightened and bolted. He slipped running back to the barn and suffered a severe laceration to his hind leg, severing the tendons and ligaments. Dr. Kent Allen was on the scene immediately, and it was determined after examination that the injuries were catastrophic."
Paired with Olympic eventer Karen O'Connor, the Shetland/Arabian/Thoroughbred cross was named 2007 USEF/Farnam Horse of the Year after winning both individual and team gold medals at the Pan American Games last July in Brazil. Three months before that, they finished third at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** at the Kentucky Horse Park.
"The more I rode him, the more I realized he's a real class horse," Karen O'Connor told EQUUS magazine in a feature about Teddy published in January 2008.
In April of this year the chestnut gelding again competed at Rolex, finishing sixth, and just last week, Teddy and O'Connor were named to the eventing short list for the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong.
A likeness of Teddy was released by Breyer earlier this year.
The U.S. Equestrian Federation has established the Theodore O'Connor Legacy Fund. Donations will be used to fund the construction of a new cross-country obstacle for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in memory of Teddy. Contributions can be made at www.usef.org.
To read more about Theodore O'Connor's career and accomplishments, see "Powerhouse Pony" in the January 2008 issue of EQUUS, available here as a PDF.