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David O'Connor Biography

Eventing's New Star, A Custom Made Victory, O'connor Vs. The Wall


American equestrian

With a family tradition in the saddle, a wife who is also his teammate, and a barn full of talented horses, equestrian David O'Connor seemed destined for eventing success. A longtime representative for the United States in international competition, O'Connor reached a new peak in 2000 when he took home an individual gold medal at the Olympic summer games in Sydney, Australia, having posted record scores in the demanding, sometimes dangerous, three-day event.

Born in Gaithersburg, Maryland, O'Connor got into riding through his mother, the British-born dressage judge Sally O'Connor. Sally put David and his brother, Brian, on their first ponies as young children; at age eight, David made his eventing debut mounted on his pony mare, Bramble, who got him disqualified from a dressage class when she ran out of the ring. Just a few years later, the O'Connors embarked on a memorable mission: Sally, Brian, and David rode horseback from Maryland to Oregon, a three-month trek that provided invaluable riding experience. Just as important, O'Connor has noted, the trip exposed the eleven-year-old to all facets of American life.

Sketch by Susan Salter

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