Olympian “Poggio” ~ A Former Pack Horse

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

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love stories like this. it proves that all horses are great, those down on their luck (to put it mildly) just need love and care. Great story! thank you for sharing!

  2. I think the thing I love best about this post is the fact that she loves him enough to retire him before he’s injured. What a gal, what a horse. Cyber pats and nose kisses to him.

  3. That’s a pretty amazing story, it’s the stuff dreams are made of, I would be willing to bet that someday a movie will be made of this horse and rider team.

  4. I am behind on reading up on the equestrian teams competing in the Olympics, so reading your post has inspired me to get going! I would love to see Pogie do well and retire a healthy and happy horse.

  5. Yes this is a lovely story but the facts are not all true! Too bad because the actual facts are even better!

    I really enjoy seeing pictures of Chester. Oh…that was his name in his previous life…as a barn kid he was Win Chester, when he got his racing registration he was Chesterstimetofly. That is who he was when he raced only 4 races, in the money in 3 of them and won his 4th race. (Not too bad for a “failed” racing career!)

    When he won his fourth race his owner, a young single gal, didn’t want to lose him in a claiming race, couldn’t afford to put him in the non-claiming races, and loved him so much that she didn’t want to lose him or have him injured so she retired him at 4 years of age, and began to ride him in the mountains. He NEVER was a “pack horse” but always a riding horse and did carry saddle bags behind his saddle. He was always such an athlete that mountain riding was boring for him and he needed more than that to entertain himself.

    I still remember his first camping trip when the lights went out and we went to our tents. The coyotes began yelping and poor Chester was crying for his barn!! Poor baby!

    While I would agree he could have used a better horse shoer, I would say he was in good health with the long hair of any horse living in a pasture on the side of a mountain top! They need long hair to keep warm in the winter!

    I hope they get the facts straight on the AP stories and for the movie too because the gal that rescued him from an auction trailer, raised him, took him to a winning race carreer and retired him to protect him 12 years ago deserves more credit than what is given here!
    Sincerely,
    Chester’s Auntie Gwen,
    and his riding/campin’ buddy, Rosa’s Mom.

    ~~~
    Hello Gwen,
    Thank you very much for the detailed background of this wonderful horse. It is, indeed, a better story than what the AP is giving out.

    Let’s hope the next AP release will give the facts as you have given and we can all write another story on this amazing horse that includes details about the girl that rescued him, as well as his success at the Olympics.

  6. Your information on his past is inaccurate- see Jackie @ regardinghorses.com for the real story.

    Hello Cassie,
    I saw Jackie’s post and commented on her blog.

    As you know, the story I posted was copied from the Seattle news report. However, it seems you know, personally, a different background.

    Thanks for the info.

    We are all cheering for this very special horse at the Olympics.

  7. Well, whatever the humble beginnings of this Beauty horse “Chester-poggio” he is a wonderful athelete and stunning!

  8. I saw Poggio is going to be “officially retired” at Rolex. This Sunday.

    Both HE and Amy are my #1 ‘heros’. Greg, too.


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