From humble beginnings,
Poggio proves to be a winner.
Amy Tryon and Poggio II , the 16 year old bay thoroughbred gelding, are again representing the U.S. Olympic eventing team in Hong Kong.
Tryon, 38, helped win the team bronze medal on Poggio II at the 2004 Athens Games. And now they are back for the 2008 Olympics.
A decade ago, while most of his competitors were being groomed for blue ribbons or thoroughbred racing, Poggio was lugging camping gear and other equipment up and down the Cascade Range east of Seattle.
Tryon, a recently retired firefighter from Duvall, Wash., didn’t find Poggio in a stall.
She didn’t witness the veiled potential of a horse that has since won an individual bronze medal at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Germany and helped the U.S. equestrian team to a bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics and gold at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Spain.
She found the only horse to qualify for every U.S. national team over the last six years in the classified ads of a newspaper.
“Poggio’s definitely had some humble beginnings, to say the least,” said Joanie Morris, communications manager for the United States Equestrian Federation.
“I’d have to say he’s the only pack horse to be in the Olympics. He’s an anomaly, for sure. Not too many Olympic horses are found in the want-ads.”
It was not love at first sight.
“He was in pretty sad shape,” Tryon said. “His feet needed attention. He had been living in a paddock with a bunch of horses and was a bit chewed up. And his feet were not put on his body very straight. He had long hair that needed cut.
“He certainly wasn’t a show horse.”
Poggio had a short and failed career in thoroughbred racing before becoming a pack horse.
Tryon’s challenge: Make Poggio a master of dressage – the disciplined display of natural movements often called “horse ballet” – plus show jumping and cross-country racing.
Throughout exhaustive retraining, Poggio showed his inherent jumping ability.
Within one year, he was the first horse Tryon rode in a world-class eventing competition. Three years later, they were world champions.
Now they are back for the 2008 Olympics.
Tryon says, “I’m planning this to be Pogie’s last big international competition. He certainly doesn’t owe me anything,” she said.
“What I want for him is to step away from competition when he is still healthy and happy.”
Reaching the Olympics twice … “Oh, yeah,” Tryon said, “this is certainly much more than I expected Poggio and I to achieve.
”I’m so proud of my horse” Tryon said.
Link: Tryon and Poggio Olympic Blog
Re-written from News Sources